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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Oakland's 'Girl Scout Barracuda' ready to lead the citySFGate, December 20th
As a kid she performed as Raggedy Ann at Children's Fairyland, and a drawing she did at age 7 still hangs backstage at the Paramount Theater, where she's set to be inaugurated Jan. 5. She attended Oakland public schools, where she was, indeed, a Girl ...Read more
Program set to benefit fire victimsOttawaherald.com, December 19th
A recent house fire shouldn't ruin Christmas for the family who lost almost everything, Tammy Rhoades, owner of Raggedy Ann and Andy's Closet, 424B S. Main St., Ottawa, said Friday. Deidre Jones and her five children — age 17, 15, 14, 11 and 20 months ...Read more
Babes and children hide at Uniques & AntiquePlainview Daily Herald, December 19th
Old favorites like Raggedy Ann and Andy are still hanging around together. Raggedy Ann, the brainchild of writer Johnny Gruelle who drew a face on his daughter's rag doll and gave her a name, was patented in 1915. Her brother Andy followed in 1920...Read more
DANCE REVIEW: 'Urban Nutcracker' brings a contemporary twist to an old favoriteWicked Local Bedford, December 19th
The dancing dolls are Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, joined by a Soldier Doll (Theopile Victoria) in a popping, locking solo, filled with dark fury. The children who bring on the vessel carrying the Nutcracker Prince, here called Nut Head (Ramiro...Read more
"Toyland" at Timm HouseTri-County News, December 19th
Raggedy Ann is one of over 100 dolls ready to welcome people to the 2015 Timm House Christmas. Meyer Plumbing. The restored Victorian home in New Holstein has been decorated by New Holstein Historical Society members in a "Toyland" theme for this ...Read more
La Jolla's Best Bets for Events Dec. 18U-T San Diego, December 17th
Traditions of Christmas: Watch Santa's Workshop come alive with dancing elves, Raggedy Ann dolls, toy soldiers and magical toys. Witness the Rockettes-style dancing kick-line. Sing along with holiday classics. Matinees, evening shows Dec. 19-23...Read more
Cheri Howe hostess to Garden Lovers TooJackson County Times-Journal, December 17th
Her topic was Raggedy Ann and Andy. Raggedy Ann is a character created by American writer Johnny Gruelle in a series of books he wrote and illustrated for young children. As everyone knows, Raggedy Ann is a rag doll with red yarn for hair and has a ...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