The creator of Raggedy Ann, Johnny Gruelle, wrote stories about the doll for his daughter, Marcella.
Raggedy Ann, the little rag doll with striped red socks and a heart on her chest that says “I Love You”, is a staple of the American toy industry and a beloved doll for countless children over the last century. Artist and writer Johnny Gruelle created the character of Raggedy Ann around 1910. Many myths have been created about the origin of Raggedy Ann; though Myrtle Gruelle, Johnny’s wife, says the tattered rag doll was originally found in Johnny’s parent’s attic. Johnny believed the doll could become a great character in his writing; however, he did not immediately begin using the doll in his stories. It wasn’t until his daughter, Marcella, was born that he remember the doll, fixed it up and gave it to her as a gift. Inspired by Marcella’s creativity, Johnny began to create stories about Raggedy Ann. Sadly, Marcella became gravely ill from an infected smallpox vaccine and passed away from her infection soon after. Johnny continued to write stories about the doll in memory of Marcella.
The Raggedy Ann doll was patented in 1915 and the story books, written by Johnny Gruelle, were first introduced to the public in 1918. Raggedy Ann was joined by her brother Raggedy Andy two years later. Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy went on many adventures and traveled to many places, both real and imaginary. The stories were so popular that they were eventually made into movies and even a television series. Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy have been marketed along with a variety of merchandise including coin banks, lunch boxes, games, prints, salt and pepper shakers and more.
Many versions of Raggedy Ann have been produced since her inception about one hundred years ago. The earliest dolls have a patent date mark of September 7, 1915. They are made completely of cloth with tin or wood button eyes. Their hair is brown and their nose is very thin. These rare, early edition dolls are worth thousands of dollars today. Raggedy Ann dolls produced between 1918 and 1920 were handmade with hand painted faces by Cottage Industries. between 1920 and 1934 the Volland Company produced over 75,000 Raggedy Ann dolls with machine stamped faces. The company was sold and resold several times since, each time slightly changing the doll’s design. These variations help with dating each doll. Hasbro has owned the Raggedy Ann label since 1984. The Past Antiques Marketplace has Raggedy Ann dolls and collectibles available for purchase as well as all your other favorite toys from the recent past. Visit The PAST Antiques at Nature’s Art Village on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles.
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