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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Another great patriotic ideaaustin360 (blog), July 6th
Where was the Raggedy Ann doll created? Indiana. Which state is the Grape State? California. Where is the largest man-made geyser in the world? Idaho. Find more fun facts at 50states.com. Design a country. If your kids could create their own country...Read more
Canelli: The wonderful little golden booksWicked Local Norwood, July 4th
Besides our well-worn copy of “Make Way for Ducklings” and my mother's own copies of “Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy,” not many children's books made our family's cross-country move with in the late 1950s. When my younger brothers were born in the ...Read more
Temporary exhibit opens at Fraizer History MuseumWLKY Louisville, July 3rd
And then just simple things like her little dolls, her very first Raggedy Ann doll. Everyone will find some unique attachment and connection to her. Everyone has wonderful emotions that are directly connected to Shirley Temple,” Theriault's president...Read more
Grace Sullivan EsplinSt George News, July 2nd
Grace Sullivan Esplin, 86, passed away on June 30, 2015, due to complications of heart disease and a stroke. She was born on September 18, 1928, in Hurricane, Utah, to Frank and Ellen McMullin Sullivan. She married Darlo Esplin on March 24, 1949, in...Read more
World-renowned Raggedy Ann art installation added to downtown MuskegonMLive.com, July 2nd
MUSKEGON, MI – Two seven-foot painted structures were installed in downtown Muskegon in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the making of world-renowned doll, Raggedy Ann on Wednesday, July 1. Raggedy Ann – a rag doll with red yarn hair, ...Read more
Raggedy Ann enthusiasts celebrate character's 100th birthdayWAND, June 12th
Officials say the birthday celebration will be held during the annual Raggedy Ann Rally in Arcola on June 12 and 13. Among the events planned this year will be a welcome dinner and auction of collectible Raggedy Ann and Andy items at Yoder's Kitchen in ...Read more
GUEST COLUMN: Scarecrow Joe and Raggedy AnnNorthwest Georgia News, June 10th
I called her Raggedy Ann, but when we walked her into the jail one of the deputies said, “Watch out, here comes The Maggot.” We booked her in and the jailer told a woman matron, “Take her up and see that she gets a shower.” Pete and I went back to the ...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