Tag Archives: Dolls

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.

Kid Stuff: Barbie

uploaded by juicy.mashkulture.net

uploaded by juicy.mashkulture.net

She looks pretty good for 50, don’t you think? It’s rather amazing to see the impact a simple doll has had on American girls. She doesn’t talk. She doesn’t wet. She doesn’t come with some goofy birth certificate. She’s a doll, for heaven’s sake.

And yet…she’s become an icon, both revered and reviled. Some say that Barbi’s figure leads girls to unrealistic body image issues, and contributes to anorexia and bulimia. Yeah, well. Mattel has sold over a billion of the things. There’s not that many people with eating disorders.

Did you know her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts? Or that she’s had more than 80 careers? That she’s had 43 pets? That she didn’t have a belly button for 41 years? Personally, I don’t know whether she’s stringing Ken along or vice versa, but I think their relationship has been platonic long enough.

So to Barbie, I say congratulations on your longevity. And happy birthday. It’s hard to imagine an American girl’s room without you.