Raggedy Ann & Raggedy Andy – A Tribute to Marcella

History

Raggedy Ann is a cartoon character and a children novel series created by American Writer John Gruelle. The story of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy was created as a movie and was released in the year 1941. The film received huge praises and applauds from millions of kids and adults all across the globe.

For those who grew up in 1970’s, you would have never missed seeing the Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy products. They were seen everywhere and Raggedy Ann entered the National Toy hall of fame in the year 2002.

Raggedy is faded and worn doll, a family rag doll left unnoticed for days until a cute little girl Marcella found Raggedy Ann on a one fine rainy day. The story of Raggedy Ann was created by grief stricken father who lost her daughter at the age of 13 from an infected vaccination. He made this character as a tribute to his daughter and to broadcast the risk of vaccination. Although many deny this as mostly false, nothing to do with the vaccination yet it still remains as a claim.

Raggedy Ann and her equally spirited brother, Raggedy Andy are rag dolls, the cutest dolls that won millions of hearts. The doll was created in the year 1915 and presented to the audience through short stories depicting its adventures by John Gruelle (1880 – 1938). The book was a great hit because the characters were possessing attributes and outlooks of kindness, honesty and brave.

(Sidenote) My grandfather Miles would read these stories to me as a little girl and I developed a passion for the Ragged Ann & Raggedy Andy narrative, that I know share the treasure of these stories with my children. I cherish these stories so much because the book my father gave me when I was a child was damaged in a terrible house flood. It would’ve been a collectible. We had to call a plumber to do a re-pipe to our home.

About the Author – John Barton Gruelle

John Barton Gruelle was an artist, cartoonist, illustrator and children’s book author who became an overnight star after the release of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. Although his birth place was Arcola, Illinois, he grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. His father was a painter, musician and writer. All these qualities were instilled in the blood of John Gruelle, so he was known for his cartoons.

His early life began as a cartoonist when he was working with Indianapolis tabloid paper “People” creating portraits. He was continuously switching jobs every year to different companies like Indianapolis “Sun”, Indianapolis “Star” and many more for better job prospects. After few years, he moved to Cleveland and started producing features for children. Soon, he won a comic drawing contest and his celebrity status improved. Then his cartoons started appearing regularly in many of the national publications.

Creation of Raggedy Ann

Raggedy Ann doll was a gift from Gruelle to her daughter Marcella. The doll was tossed in the attic in a ragged condition and her mother made some repair work to the doll and gave Raggedy Ann a new face. She used to say stories about Raggedy Ann adventures. At the age of 13, Marcella had some illness due to small pox vaccination and her illness worsened leading to untimely death. In 1918, John Gruelle wrote the first raggedy Ann story. The grief stricken father unable to bear the loss of her daughter and to keep her memories alive created Ragged Ann stories and published the book. He also applied the patent for its design and name and got approval for it. He subsequently wrote many other books on Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy adventures.

Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy adventures featured in newspapers across the country. His contribution continued in many of the popular magazines like Life, Cosmopolitan and many more. Among this artworks, Brutus was the major success which progressed successfully for continuous nine years. However, none brought that kind of fame as Raggedy Ann adventures did. By the time of his death, the popularity of the raggedy characters spread far and wide around the whole world.

Story of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy

Raggedy Ann is red doll with red yarn of hair and triangular nose. She enters the Marcella’s nursery and soon becomes the king of dolls. Although raggedy Ann does a lot of naughty things with her funny brother Raggedy Andy, yet she strives to turn good and trustworthy and does lot of adventures. Gruelle is a good illustrator, all the illustrations in the book was made by the author himself. Being a good story teller, the way he conveyed the information and carried the track of the stories is really awesome. He did these book to honor her daughter who loved this doll so deeply. It is really impressive and you can see this in his creation of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy.

Raggedy Ann Impact on Young American Children

child with raggedy annGirls and boys all across the world favor different category of dolls. Boys generally show interest towards racing cars, bikes and trucks while girls love dolls that are soft and cute to hug and cuddle with. Apparently, Raggedy was been entertaining and charming young children for almost one hundred years. It was known for its warm and optimistic look. These lovable dolls was been a favorite for many. Many dolls are designed based on young children or babies, making them relatable to their childhood innocence. Raggedy Ann and raggedy Andy can be found in some form either as pillow case, bedsheets, lamps, calendar and many more probably in their closets or book cupboards or in their dressers. The two toys look almost alike with their white pinafore, printed dress and striped socks.

Raggedy Ann set the path for Non-Profit Organization

Diane known for creating handcrafted Raggedy Ann dolls. Her mission was to give the rag doll to the child who needed it the most. Not every child is born with all luxuries. There are many kids in the world who crave for new dolls and rarely get it. To quench the craving of these needy kids, Diane start creating these dolls and delivered through her husband. Although they had challenges in their initial years, since none of the organizations were willing to share the most affectionate doll to the needy children.

However she did not give up her efforts rather started with non-profit organization for the needy kids in the name of “Toys for Tots”. This organization conducts nationwide campaigns around the world every Christmas and distribute raggedy Ann to the needy kids as a Christmas present. So far, they have distributed over 370 million raggedy Ann to over 173 million needy children.

It’s been hundred years now and Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy celebrated their centennial (100th anniversary) in Arcola, the birthplace of the creator Raggedy Ann, John Barton Gruelle. The shoe button eyes and endearing smile of Raggedy Ann remained as a beloved playmate for many young American children over the years. The character created in the honor of Gruelle’s daughter Marcella will remain in the hearts of many people even in the future!