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

Source: Google News

Early agriculture displayed among unique rock gardens
Agri News, September 2nd

Johnny Gruelle, Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy creator, was born and raised in Arcola. Some of the memorabilia already is on display at Rockome Gardens. In addition, the site features historic farm equipment, a Native American-themed trading post, gift ...Read more

Broccoli, gross! More candy, please: Willy Wonka, children's literature, and ...
Salon, August 31st

Even before I read about such goodies in the Raggedy Ann and Andy stories—the Deep Deep Woods with its lollipop plants and Cookie Land with its sugar-frosted family and raisin-stuffed cake chickens—my father used to charm me with comparable tales...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

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

Top 5 things to do in Muskegon area this week: Festivals about chamber music ...
The Muskegon Chronicle, August 5th

Raggedy Ann -- the well-known rag doll with red yarn hair, a triangle nose and star of a series of children's books written by American writer Johnny Gruelle -- will be the focus of events held at the Muskegon Museum of Art, the Muskegon Heritage...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