Kid Stuff: Raggedy Ann

This is today's representation of Raggedy Ann and Andy. Chances are you might not recognize the originals. Uploaded by berlinwallpaper.com.

Decades before Cabbage Patch, before Barbie, and before Betsy Wetsy, American girls had a favorite doll. She didn’t come with a birth certificate, a trousseau, or diapers. But she was loved just as much as any doll any girl ever owned. Her name was Raggedy Ann.

A man named Johnny Gruelle had a daughter named – no, not Ann – Marcella, who showed her daddy a simple rag doll, onto which he drew a face. He combined James Whitcomb Riley’s “The Raggedy Man” with Little Orphan Annie, and suggested they call the doll Raggedy Ann. Marcella loved it so much that Gruelle figured other children might like it, too. Smart man.

An early Raggedy Ann. Uploaded by americanjazz.com.

As it happens, Mr. Gruelle was an illustrator and children’s book author, and he wrote Raggedy Ann Stories in 1918, the first year the handmade dolls were produced for sale. You may not even recognize the originals as Raggedy Anns, based on their evolution over the decades. Raggedy Andy Stories followed in 1921.

The first meeting of Ann and Andy. Uploaded by en.wikipedia.org.

By their nature, Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls are easily made. Patterns by McCall’s have been on the market since 1940. Today, Simon & Schuster and Hasbro have trademarks on versions of the doll, but the original doll and the original books are now in the public domain.

Those who truly love the dolls have an annual event that’s a must. It’s the Raggedy Ann Festival, held in 2010 on April 17 in Cynthiana, Kentucky. There’s a parade, and a coloring contest, and…you know.

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3 responses to “Kid Stuff: Raggedy Ann

  1. Charlotte Leister Haller

    Anyone interested in the illustrations from the 1935 edition of Johnny Gruelle’s “Raggedy Ann in the Golden Meadow”? Contact Charlotte at leisterchar@aol.com

  2. What do you have? illustrations to download? I love Ragged Ann and enjoyed her in parades and other special occasions…which I participated in with costume..put together, sewed, and love. I have a Raggedy Ann doll which I purposely bought at a yard sale, well used which is what I wanted…a loved doll. I cleaned her, made her clothes and still love her very much. I have not found other characters from her stories. They exist somewhere and I prefer used and loved…not new! Raggedy Ann stories are timeless. Please and thank you are such good words for us to use every day. Such wonderful memories.

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