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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'Conjuring' Producer Calls Warner Bros.' $750000 Check Insufficient for SequelsHollywood Reporter, July 28th
in the mid-20th century worked on some 8,000 cases and kept detailed files about their work on such investigations as those involving a demonic Raggedy Ann doll that terrorized a family and a single mother whose children kept witnessing strange...Read more
Three downtown museums to celebrate Raggedy Ann's Muskegon rootsThe Muskegon Chronicle, July 27th
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
People & Places: Divas 4 HOPE event shares family's story to educate othersTulsa World, July 26th
Elisabeth Hunt vividly remembers the last time she saw her brother Michael on stage. The stage had been a second home for Michael Victor Forrest Hunt ever since he made his debut at age 6 in a production of “Raggedy Ann and Andy” with Actors and ...Read more
“Super Duper” Ruby Marie GlendenningAlbany Democrat Herald, July 25th
She loved to knit, make Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, cook and bake. Her favorite pastime was being with her family. She had 22 nieces and nephews. She is survived by her daughters, Linda and husband Emerson Sr. of Albany, and Hazel and husband ...Read more
Emma Michael celebrates 100th birthdayOconee Enterprise, July 21st
When she was a year old, cartoonist John B. Gruelle received a patent for his Raggedy Ann doll. On her 23rd birthday, Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan were last heard from over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial ...Read more
Pork Tenderloin Sandwich: Redefining Sandwiches Since 1908Willamette Week, July 20th
Nonetheless, Indiana is the birthplace of American greats such as James Dean, David Letterman and the Raggedy Ann doll. It's most known for a healthy corn supply, a vast Amish population, the Indy 500, Notre Dame athletics and a town named Santa Claus ...Read more
Raggedy Ann & Andy say, 'See you at the Ohio Hills Folk Festival in Quaker City!'The Daily Jeffersonian, July 7th
Cecil Hall makes his way around two iconic Raggedy Ann and Andy figures that have greeted guests to the annual Ohio Hills Folk Festival in Quaker City for many years. They were made by Cecil's wife, Fran, and son, Steve. Each year they place them in...Read more
Nick Cannon Talks Living With Lupus, Going on 7 Years With Mariah Carey and ...E! Online, June 30th
"They're like the new Raggedy Ann and Andy," the Wild 'N Out and America's Got Talent host joked, 'the adventures of Roc 'n' Roe,' to see my kids come to life in a story book and all this other stuff." Where does he find the time—and the energy—to...Read more