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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Raggedy Ann poured my Halloween coffeeJackson Hole News&Guide, October 29th
On Halloween morning I found myself entering a crumbling cafe, where an elderly waitress seemingly consumed by the bleakness of her financial future came to take my breakfast order dressed as Raggedy Ann. The poor woman. It was 7 in the morning, and ...Read more
It's Not A Cute Raggedy Ann DollThe Lion's Pride, October 16th
From the maker of the “Insidious” movies comes the prequel to “The Conjuring.” “Annabelle,” directed by James Wan, is the new movie that is sure to make viewers terrified of dolls. The story begins the year before the events of “The Conjuring.” When...Read more
Looking back: The untold story of Raggedy AnnMyhorrynews, October 13th
The beloved Raggedy Ann doll has been woven into our childhoods and hearts for almost 100 years, and this iconic doll has been seen in print, cartoons, movies, and books all over the world. Although there were myths and controversies surrounding this ...Read more
The classic, smiley Raggedy Ann dolls were originally handmade in West ...Interlochen, September 30th
If there's been a little girl in your life at any point, chances are pretty good that Raggedy Ann made her way into your home. The cloth doll with the yarn hair and the candy-cane-striped stockings has been a part of America's toy scene for a century...Read more
Jan's Salt Dough (Raggedy Ann and Andy)azcentral.com, August 27th
Put the salt and flour into a bowl,then add the water slowly to the dry mix. After a few minutes of kneading, you'll get a soft ball. Step #2: Cut the Dough Into Shapes. Roll out ball and form or cut it into shapes using pastry cutters or cookie molds...Read more
Made in Michigan: Raggedy Ann dollsWZZM, August 7th
Who knew Raggedy Ann has a Muskegon connection? Ann Dake did, and she's organized an exhibit running at the Muskegon Heritage Museum through Saturday to tell others about the connection. The character and doll were created around 1915 by a ...Read more
Celebrate Raggedy Ann's Michigan historyWOTV, August 4th
Three Muskegon museums are celebrating the city's part in Raggedy Ann history with a series of events from August 7 to August 9 at the Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon Heritage Museum, and the Lakeshore Museum Center. Kids can enjoy activities, ...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