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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Grand Magic institutes a new Christmas showCustercountynews, December 5th
The 90-minute performance with a brief intermission is open to everyone. The show will open with the magical appearance of four ladies from a giant candy house and move into a magical toyland sequence. Raggedy Ann and Jolly the Christmas Elf will be on ...Read more
Dancers set to perform 'T'was the Night Before Christmas'Natchez Democrat, December 4th
And Samantha Ashley — who as a Raggedy Ann doll pops out of a Christmas present — said she understands why, if toys were alive, they would dance when free of the box. “It gets hot in the box,” she said. In one scene, Santa's elves have to fight the...Read more
'A Christmas Story' fans encounter BB gun, leg lamp and half-eaten soap at ...Deseret News, December 4th
Today, one of the two other buildings is a gift shop; the other is a museum with four rooms filled with original props, including the toy soldiers and Raggedy Ann dolls that were in Higbee's front window, the original Parker home Christmas tree and the...Read more
Victorian Christmas Stroll shows toys through timeTbo.com, December 4th
“Toys: Then and Now,” features tin soldiers and super hero figurines, board games, old-fashioned hoops, stuffed bears, Lincoln Logs and Lego sets, Raggedy Ann dolls, View Masters and more. They are on loan from about 20 collectors in the community...Read more
Brooklyn's Lazy Carpetbagger Sets His Sights on an Alaska Senate SeatDaily Beast, December 4th
Even in December, Bryk's block is overstuffed with oversize American flags, part of an ongoing 9/11 tribute. Inside, a pair of cats closely stand guard and a Raggedy Ann doll teeters over in one corner, as Bryk explains his candidacy. “I believe voters...Read more
Toys For Tots Registrations, Collections AnnouncedStacey Page Online, December 3rd
It was a simple handcrafted Raggedy Ann doll that launched the U.S. Marine Corps popular Christmas program Toys for Tots for less fortunate children more than 65 years ago. Today, the organization founded by Marine Corps Reservist Major Bill Hendricks ...Read more
Visit the Gingerbread House Competition in Sayre on SaturdayTowanda Daily Review, December 3rd
sweet architectural constructions of local competitors; "vote" for a popular vote winner by donating money that will go to Aktion KWEST; buy some treats from the Valley Kiwanis' bake sale; enter a raffle for Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls crafted by...Read more
Roosevelt School gets visit from Raggedy Ann and AndySuburban News, November 25th
Mrs. Mary Agnes Faver's class at Roosevelt School last week. He shared the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls his mom made, as well as a story about Raggedy Ann and Andy being respectful, responsible and safe. They follow "Tracks to Success" just like us...Read more