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

Neil Patrick Harris to Narrate Children's Book AND TANGO MAKES THREE, Out ...
Broadway World, May 20th

In addition to numerous Caldecott, Newbery, and National Book Award winners, Simon & Schuster publishes such high-profile properties and series as Eloise, Olivia, Raggedy Ann & Andy(TM), Henry & Mudge, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, the Dork Diaries ...Read more

Collector's addiction: Maine food editor owns nearly 500 cookbooks
Press Herald, May 20th

I can say with total certainty that I will never make the Whuffins (Wheaties cereal folded into Bisquick mix muffins) nor the Raggedy Ann Salad (“Body – fresh or canned peach half; Arms and legs – small celery sticks; Hair – grated yellow cheese,” etc...Read more

Bernadette Peters to Narrate 60th Anniversary Compilation of ELOISE Stories ...
Broadway World, May 19th

In addition to numerous Caldecott, Newbery, and National Book Award winners, Simon & Schuster publishes such high-profile properties and series as Eloise, Olivia, Raggedy Ann & Andy(TM), Henry & Mudge, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, the Dork Diaries ...Read more

'Mad Max: Fury Road' – Minor characters that need their own origin story
Entertainment Weekly, May 18th

This gang had my favorite aesthetic: evil versions of Raggedy Ann and Andy, wearing wigs made out of strips of fabric, rubber, and any other found materials. Not to mention riding their bikes like they are competing in the X-Games. It makes me wonder...Read more

Little Nemo: A 110-Year-Old Character Sparks Renewed Interest
Cartoon Brew, May 18th

while Stephen Bissette takes his Tyrannosaurus rex character Tyrant and recasts him as a Cretaceous-period dreamer. The decades between Nemo and today have brought a lot of new inspiration, and in these Nemo strips are references to Raggedy Ann, ...Read more

Wheeling toy museum plays to kids at heart
Washington Times, May 16th

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) - As Judith Rubin walked along, thoughtfully peering into the glass cases filled with rag, rubber and plastic dolls, one particular plaything caught her eye. It wasn't a Raggedy Ann, Cabbage Patch Kid or Barbie. No, it was an ...Read more

Faith briefs: May 16
South Bend Tribune, May 16th

SOUTH BEND — Raggedy Ann School is celebrating its 50th year at Grace United Methodist Church on Sunday at the church at 3012 Twyckenham Drive, South Bend. Raggedy Ann students will perform a song during the 10:30 a.m. service, which will be ...Read more

The Strange Link Between Raggedy Ann and the Anti-Vaxxers
Philadelphia 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