Raggedy Ann is a fictional character created by American writer Johnny Gruelle (1880–1938) in a series of books he wrote and illustrated for young children. Raggedy Ann is a rag doll with red yarn for hair and has a triangle nose. The character was created in 1915 as a doll, and was introduced to the public in the 1918 book Raggedy Ann Stories. A doll was also marketed along with the book to great success. A sequel, Raggedy Andy Stories (1920) introduced the character of her brother, Raggedy Andy, dressed in sailor suit and hat.
Gruelle created Raggedy Ann for his daughter, Marcella, when she brought him an old hand-made rag doll and he drew a face on it. From his bookshelf, he pulled a book of poems by James Whitcomb Riley, and combined the names of two poems, “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphant Annie.” He said, “Why don’t we call her Raggedy Ann?”
Marcella died at age 13 after being vaccinated at school for smallpox without her parents’ consent. Authorities blamed a heart defect, but her parents blamed the vaccination. Gruelle became an opponent of vaccination, and the Raggedy Ann doll was used as a symbol by the anti-vaccination movement.
Raggedy Ann dolls were originally handmade. Later, PF Volland, a Gruelle book publisher, made the dolls. In 1935 Volland ceased operation and Ann and Andy were made, under Gruelle’s permission, by Exposition Dolls.
Many manufacterers have made Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls:
- P.F. Volland Co. 1920-1934
- Exposition doll and Toy Co. 1934-mid 1935(less than 1 yr. production RARE)
- Mollye’s Doll Outfitters (without permission) 1935-1938
- Georgene Novelties 1938-1962
- Knickerbocker Toy Co. 1963-1982
- Applause Toy Co./Russ Berrie 1983-present
- Hasbro/Playskool 1983-Present?
- Simon and Schuster(books and other media) – Present
Thousands of handmade Raggedy Ann/Andy dolls have been created since the 1940s to present.
McCall’s has produced identical #2531 patterns to present date with only a change in cover design. Simplicity Patterns released a licensed doll pattern for a different design doll that included all 4 sizes in the late 90’s, though the well-known McCall’s Raggedy Ann/Andy pattern was still available. Both patterns are still available today.
Many handmade Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls and some knockoff, clones, look-alike dolls or other items will have the “supposed” trademark I LOVE YOU heart. You can not correctly ID a Raggedy item by this. To correctly ID a Raggedy Ann or Andy item, toy, or doll you must look for a manufacture tag/marking or consult a collector.
While Simon & Schuster and Hasbro claim to own trademarks to the Raggedy Ann and/or Raggedy Ann and Andy names, the original 1915 doll design and 1918 and 1920 books are in the public domain, their copyright having expired. Books and films published after 1950 are protected by copyright.
Raggedy Ann was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2002. Raggedy Andy joined her in 2007.
It appears that many books were released and credited to Johnny Gruelle after his death, regardless of who actually wrote and illustrated them. Noted artist Ethel Hays illustrated most of the stories that were published beginning in 1944 by the Saalfield Publishing Company.
We have three very nice Raggedy Ann and Andy items available in our vintage toy store:
To read these items full description please click here:
Here’s a great information Raggedy Ann & Andy video:
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