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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Disney, UPA Animator Willis Pyle Celebrates his 100th Birthday
Animation Magazine, August 28th

His reputation as a fine Disney and UPA artist brought him steady freelance work for more than three decades. His credits include working for Bill Melendez on the Charlie Brown TV specials, and Richard Williams on the 1977 feature Raggedy Ann & Andy...Read more

Jayne Hildegard (Gruelle) Comerford
Coos Bay World, August 28th

Jayne was the granddaughter of Hoosier Group of Painters Richard B. Gruelle, and niece of Johnny Gruelle, creator of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy books and dolls. They, along with her father, were members of The Knockers, a colony of artists living ...Read more

Decorate Like a Rich Eccentric History Buff in 45 Easy Steps
Curbed National, August 27th

Recently put on the market in Saint James, N.Y., is a 13,000-square-foot mansion listed with $6M price tag and a complete dearth of useful information. Look past the overwhelmingly brown interior of this circa-1989 home, if you can, and the current...Read more

Jan's Salt Dough (Raggedy Ann and Andy)
azcentral.com, August 27th

Put the salt and flour into a bowl,then add the water slowly to the dry mix. After a few minutes of kneading, you'll get a soft ball. Step #2: Cut the Dough Into Shapes. Roll out ball and form or cut it into shapes using pastry cutters or cookie molds...Read more

Made in Michigan: Raggedy Ann dolls
WZZM, August 7th

"Raggedy Ann started because the author Johnny Gruelle and his daughter found a rag doll in her grandmother's attic," explained Drake. The author's publishing firm hired the Non Breakable Toy Company in Muskegon to produce dolls based on Gruelle's ...Read more

PYT and city of MV present 'Raggedy Ann' this Friday evening at downtown ...
Los Altos Town Crier, August 6th

Peninsula Youth Theatre and the city of Mountain View conclude their Children's Theatre in the Park series with “Raggedy Ann & Andy,” scheduled 6:30 p.m. Friday at the downtown ParkStage. When French doll Babette is stolen, Raggedy Ann, Andy and the ...Read more

Celebrate Raggedy Ann's Michigan history
WOTV, August 4th

Three Muskegon museums are celebrating the city's part in Raggedy Ann history with a series of events from August 7 to August 9 at the Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon Heritage Museum, and the Lakeshore Museum Center. Kids can enjoy activities, ...Read more

Take 5 Logo (Photo: wzzm)
WZZM, August 1st

The Grand Haven VFW located at 20 N. First St in Grand Haven and Sobie Meats is proud to host the 2014 Grand Haven VFW Coast Guard Celebration Bash July 31-August 2. This year's event features non-stop entertainment with EDM (Electronic Dance ...Read more