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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PHOTOS: Old Toys Come Back To Life For New SculptureKCUR, March 26th
A new life for toys. Many of the donated toys carry memories. “My sister-in-law very kindly donated her Raggedy Ann and her Raggedy Andy," Lugg Regan says. "When my husband saw that he said, 'I remember the Christmas she got that. Is she really sure?'”...Read more
Hutton finds passion for quiltingThe Tennessean, March 26th
His patterns run the gamut from whimsical patterns such as Raggedy Ann and Andy to John Deere tractors, from log cabin style patterns to horses and patriotic themes. Hutton said he's worked a variety of jobs over the years in masonry and has been a...Read more
Farmers market offers fruits, vegetables — and a danceThe Laker/Lutz News, March 25th
Her mobile business is based in Lakeland, but she travels for weddings, corporate events and house parties. Maryann Hendricks, 67, brought her Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, children's dresses and accessories from Clearwater. Her grandmother taught her ...Read more
Dee Lores HancockFremont Tribune, March 24th
She enjoyed sewing and made Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls and quilts. She read her Bible daily and also helped teach By My Side children at the Methodist Church. She is survived by daughters, Judith (Fred) Heuerman of Fremont, Susan Hancock ...Read more
Around the Sound: Lakewood Historical Society to host puppetsThe Suburban Times, March 20th
Those who may have seen Charlton's puppet shows in the 1960's-80's as children will remember those entertaining performances featuring well known characters such as Merlin the Magician or Raggedy Ann and Andy, or more fanciful ones such as the ...Read more
Curtain call: Love for saleCity Pulse, March 18th
Starlight Dinner Theatre's “The Garage Sale,” written by local theater icon Jane Shipley Zussman, uses Rag Baby (a take on Raggedy Ann) and Tuxedo Teddy to tell stories of real-life loss and the strength people find to rise up from the depths of...Read more
The Strange Link Between Raggedy Ann and the Anti-VaxxersPhiladelphia Magazine (blog), February 23rd
I didn't have a Raggedy Ann doll when I was little, but I had Raggedy Ann books, written and illustrated by one Johnny Gruelle. The one I especially remember was called Raggedy Ann's Lucky Pennies. What I mostly remember about it was that it was dark ...Read more
Raggedy Ann and Andy celebrate 100th anniversaryFolsom Telegraph, February 18th
Collector and story teller Mary Schwind shared the story of Raggedy Ann and Andy's beginnings in honor of their 100th anniversary for a full audience at the El Dorado Hills Senior Center last week. “(I was) fascinated by the historical and cultural...Read more