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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5 Horror Films Based on Terrifying Real Life Supernatural Events!moviepilot.com, September 29th
Director James Wan redesigned Annabelle for the movie, mostly to avoid licensing issues, but also because Raggedy Ann dolls aren't scary...at all. The real story behind Annabelle is that she once belonged to a nursing student named Donna. Donna got the ...Read more
The True Story Behind Annabellemoviepilot.com, September 29th
Annabelle made a cameo in The Conjuring (2014) ,but she has a true story all her own. Annabelle got a beauty makeover for the movie. The real Annabelle is actually a Raggedy Ann doll. Annabelle's story begins in the 1970's when a mother bought the doll ...Read more
Nathan Lane and Partner Devlin Elliott Will Release NAUGHTY MABEL Picture ...Broadway World, September 29th
In addition to numerous Caldecott, Newbery, and National Book Award winners, Simon & Schuster publishes such high-profile properties and series as Eloise, Olivia, Raggedy Ann & Andy™, Henry & Mudge®, The Hardy Boys®, Nancy Drew®, the Dork ...Read more
Fall: the time for traditions and a cup of tea … (please)Grand Island Independent, September 27th
We also have some fun tea party books such as “My Very First Tea Party,” by Michal Sparks, “Fancy Nancy Tea Parties,” and “Tea for Two,” both by Jane O'Connor, “Tea Party Rules,” by Ame Dyckman, and “Raggedy Ann's Tea Party Book,” by Elizabeth ...Read more
Daily Juggle: Teddy bear is on the shelf, but rag doll is on my mindTwinCities.com-Pioneer Press, September 27th
The starry-eyed dolls of tea-dyed muslin and hand-stitched details looked more like Daisy Buchanan than Raggedy Ann with their flapper hairstyles, vintage fabrics and cashmere accessories. "It all started with a promise," the article began. "Thirteen...Read more
Meet Annabelle, the big screen's newest terrifying dollNew York Post, September 27th
The real Annabelle — actually a Raggedy Ann doll — was bought in 1970 and supposedly terrorized a family, who later called in the Warrens for help. (They've chosen to remain anonymous all these years.) They claimed that the toy moved around the house ...Read more
The Raggedy Ann SaladWTAQ (blog), September 16th
For some reason, the Raggedy Ann salad was my go-to. It was a a canned peach for a body, celery sticks for arms and legs, a hard boiled egg for a head, raisins for eyes and buttons, peanut nose, maraschino cherry slice for a mouth, and shredded cheese...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