When illustrator and cartoonist Johnny Gruelle’s terminally ill daughter, Marcella, found a faded rag doll in her grandmother’s attic, he painted a new, smiling face on the toy. Naming it Raggedy Ann after two poems by his friend James Whitcomb Riley, “The Raggedy Man” and “Orphan Annie,” he made up a series of stories around this character to entertain his only child, who loved to spend hours playing dolls.
After her death in 1916, Gruelle wrote and illustrated 25 storybooks based on those tales. Responding to the series’ popularity, in 1918, Gruelle and his family made several dozen dolls to sell with the books, and later that year, Gruelle licensed the publisher, the P.F. Volland Company, to manufacture the dolls based on his 1915 patent for an all-cloth doll with shoe-button eyes, a painted face, brown yarn hair, a dress, pantaloons, a pinafore, stripped legs, and black cloth shoes.
Soon after the dolls were sold, Gruelle received a package from a childhood playmate of his mother, who explained that their mothers had made a pair of boy-and-girl companion dolls for their two children. In the package, she had sent him Raggedy Ann’s “twin brother,” Andy, and soon the family started to license dolls of Raggedy Andy and other characters from the books, including Beloved Belindy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees, as well as coloring books, puzzles, and games. All are hot collectors’ items today.
It is rumored that the original P.F. Volland dolls had a real candy heart, but after parents complained the candy was switched out with a cardboard heart. Mollye Goldman was the first, in 1935, to produce the dolls with an “I Love You” heart imprinted on the chest.
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Recent News: Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls
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How an Introvert Learned to ConnectHuffington Post, August 3rd
(Having to hold a drink while dressed as Raggedy Ann has always struck me as a unique form of punishment.) But I knew—I hoped—there were quieter ways of connecting to place, to community, and to people who weren't my best friends. Experts stress that ...Read more
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp R29 Binge Club — Episodes 1-8Refinery29, July 31st
Susie and Ben are dressed as Raggedy Ann and Andy, and Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper's characters are going for it. The rumor mill is apparently still abuzz, wanting to know if they're still a couple, and the answer is a resounding "yes." They rub...Read more
Raggedy Ann PerformsWZZM, July 30th
Raggedy Ann was formed in the late 80's but enjoyed much of its success in the early 90's and 2000's, playing the club circuits everywhere from Northern Michigan to Panama City Beach, Florida. Their melodic/progressive metal style was impressively ...Read more
Equine royalty comes to the Huntington CenterToledo Blade, July 29th
To celebrate Raggedy Ann's 100th birthday, a special “Young Collector” event will be from 1-2:30 p.m. Sunday at Heritage Inn. Children 5-12 (and a parent or guardian) are invited to attend. Preregistration is required for this event that includes a...Read more
'Wet Hot American Summer' Prequel Creator and Cast Speak About Its Netflix RevivalNewsweek, July 27th
The premiere episode also features Bradley Cooper and Amy Poehler performing a “floppy twins” duet dressed as Raggedy Ann dolls, John Slattery attempting a Willy Wonka–like somersault and a camp drop-off in a DeLorean. The series does more than ...Read more
Raggedy Ann to be fetedTiffin Advertiser Tribune, July 26th
The Seneca County Historical Society and Museum Docents are to host a summer luncheon at the Seneca County Museum celebrating "The Life of Raggedy Ann" from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. This luncheon is part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the ...Read more
Stepping Stones Museum for Children Celebrates Norwalk Native Raggedy AnnPR Web (press release), July 13th
The Norwalk Historical Society has generously lent its collection of Raggedy Ann and Andy memorabilia, including original dolls, books, a lunchbox and more for a special exhibit at Stepping Stones in celebration of Raggedy Ann's 100th birthday...Read more
World-renowned Raggedy Ann art installation added to downtown MuskegonMLive.com, July 2nd
Muskegon County residents take a look at world-renowned doll, Raggedy Ann and Andy art installations for a celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of the making of Raggedy Ann at a site located between the Muskegon Farmers Market and the ...Read more