Friday, October 24, 2014

Doll-A-Day 273: Soft Dolls Week: Raggedy Ann and Andy

  First of all, Sunday is the Big Doll Show in Columbus, Ohio. It's a huge show. I was told by a doll maker who had a table at the show a couple of years ago that it's bigger than the United Federation of Doll Collectors Show she attended. She said it was the biggest show she had ever seen. So, if any of you are going to be in the Columbus, Ohio area on Sunday, stop by. We'll have a table there, (Which, admittedly, I won't be spending alot of time at myself!), and it would be great if you could stop by to say hello. Ken will be manning the table most of the time, but I'll be around.
  Today we're concluding soft dolls week with the king and queen of all soft dolls, Raggedy Ann and Andy.

These are my childhood Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.They were made by Knickerbocker.

I still have Ann's tag.

I got Andy first. I can't remember when I got him.I had been asking for Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for every Christmas and birthday for a while. One Christmas I got a foam rubber Andy with a wire armature, and a Raggedy Gretel doll. Finally I received this Andy.

He has a 'bruise' on his forehead, due to an unfortunate accident that occurred at my neighbor's house. Occasionally we walked through the cornfield that separated out house from our neighbor's, and my mom would set neighbor Myrtle's hair. Such it was on this occasion, and I had taken Andy to help me while away what seemed like forever at Myrtle's house. Playing in a dusty shed, I dropped Andy on the floor.He had a dirt spot that would probably have brushed off, but being a kid I tried to clean it with that old stand by: saliva.Once it got wet of course, there was no brushing it off.

I bought Ann later, with money I got for my birthday when I was in third grade. I remember actually going to a toy store somewhere, which is something I only remember doing one or two other times.Ann is musical. I wanted a plain one, but on the occasion when I bought her, the musical version is all that was available.

Since I was older by then I didn't play with Ann as much as Andy, and she stayed fairly new looking. But Ivy fell in love with Ann, and that's where most of her wear has come from.

That and plain old AGE. Ann wears socks now because her toes 'blew out', and then her shoes began to divide from her striped stockings. I only noticed recently that Andy's toes are doing the same thing. The black fabric seems to have a weakness. The rest of them, especially their bodies, is fine.
All the white spots you see through the sock are holes!

Why does it load sideways?!

Ann should have a hankie in her pocket that matches her dress. It's around here some where.

Raggedy Ann and Andy have been around for a long time. They were the creation of John Barton Gruelle, who was born in 1880 in Arcola,Illinois.

But you can just call him Johnny.
Before Raggedy  Ann Gruelle did several comic strips, and beat 1500 other entrants in a competition for a comic strip job, which resulted in his writing and illustrating the tales of a wood sprite named "Mr Twee Deedle" that appeared in newspapers from 1911 to 1914.


There are many different stories of how Ann and Andy first came about. The story most often told is that Gruelle's daughter Marcella found an old rag doll with no face in her grandmother's attic, and brought it to her father, who put aside his work and drew a face on it for her. Taking a book by family friend James Whitcomb Riley off his shelf he took names from his two favourite poems, "The Raggedy Man" and "Little Orphant Annie", and suggested they call the doll 'Raggedy Ann'. According to "Raggedy Ann and Andy: History and Legend" by Patricia Hall, the most believable version of the story, (since it's the version that was told by Gruelle's wife Myrtle),finds Johnny finding an old rag doll his mother had made for his sister, while rooting around in his mother's attic one day around the turn of the last century. He remembered the doll years later when their daughter Marcella was small and playing with dolls. .
Myrtle and Marcella Gruelle.
The name Marcella will be familiar to those who have read the Raggedy stories, as the name of Ann and Andy's young owner. Gruelle named the character after his daughter when writing the stories, following his daughter's death at 13 years old. (Marcella Gruelle died from either an infected small pox vaccination at school, or a second vaccination, after which she developed diphtheria and died. Vaccinations were given at school in those days, and parental consent was not needed. Children were also vaccinated several times for the same thing. Marcella Gruelle's case was determined to be vaccination poisoning by 6 out of the 7 doctors called in on the case. The 7th was head of the school board, so make of that what you will. In any case, Gruelle became part of the anti vaccination movement, and Raggedy Ann became a symbol for  the same. Ironically, Gruelle was granted a patent for Raggedy Ann the same month in 1915 as Marcella's death.
The original patent for Raggedy Ann.

The first Raggedy Ann book was published in 1918.Andy came about when a family friend found a rag doll that was left from when Gruelle's mother and her own had made their daughter's rag dolls.She gave the doll to Gruelle, who began to incorporate twin brother Andy in the stories of Raggedy Ann in 1920

 Gruelle's family made an unknown number of hand made Raggedy Ann dolls to be sold with the books. As everyone knows, Raggedy Ann is supposed to have a candy heart  sewn inside her, which is why all the dolls have a printed heart that says "I Love You" on their chests.

Like Andy's here.
According to legend, real candy hearts were sewn inside those original dolls made by the Gruelle family. Johnny Gruelle's son, Worth Gruelle, claimed to remember being sent to buy candy hearts, and picking out the ones that said "I Love You" from all the others. He was five or six years old at the time, which makes the story a little harder to believe, since he may not even have been able to read the hearts at that age.Nobody knows how many dolls the Gruelle's made, and no Raggedy Ann dolls have ever been found with real candy hearts, or the remains of such.
  Johnny Gruelle wrote and illustrated other books besides the Raggedy books.

Like this gorgeous one from 1922.

Johnny Gruelle died in 1938.
Raggedy Ann and Andy don't seem to be very popular any more. Sales of the dolls are down.The Raggedy Ann and Andy museum in Gruelle's home town,Arcola, Illinois, which was run by Gruelle's granddaughter, closed in 2009, and the town's Raggedy Ann and Andy festival also ceased after 20 years. Some of the museum's collection of family papers, books, and rare dolls were donated to the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

Tomorrow is Skipper Saturday. See you then.

1 comment:

  1. An interesting history! The art work of mr Gruelle is amazing, he was very talented.


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