Raggedy Ann has been a favourite for kids and collectors. The Raggedy Ann doll was created by writer Johnny Gruelle in 1915 and was first introduced to the public in 1918 on the release of the children’s book Raggedy Ann Stories. In 1920, Gruelle released a sequel, Raggedy Andy Stories, introducing Raggedy Ann’s brother, Raggedy Andy.
Raggedy Ann is a rag doll with red yarn for hair and a triangle nose and her signature outfit is a blue floral dress and white apron. Similarly Raggedy Andy wears a plaid shirt with a bow-tie, blue overalls and a hat. In Gruelle’s stories, Raggedy Ann and Andy, come to life and embarks on many adventures together.
It’s unclear the exact origin of the Raggedy Ann doll, but the widely accepted story goes that Gruelle retrieved a long-forgotten, old homemade rag doll from his parents’ attic that his mother had made for his sister and thought that the doll would make a good story.
Raggedy Ann Stories was the first in a series of books written and illustrated by Johnny Gruelle about his cloth doll character and her friends. Two years later was followed by Raggedy Andy Stories was released, introducing Raggedy Ann’s brother, Raggedy Andy. Johnny Gruelle continued to write and illustrate at least one Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy story each year until his death in 1938. At that time, Gruelle’s first book from the Raggedy Ann series had sold more than 3 million copies.
In 2002, the Raggedy Ann doll was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York, and with Raggedy Andy inducted in 2007.
Over the years there have been many adaptions of the Raggedy Ann and Andy books, with appearances of the characters featuring in animated feature films including Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy (1941), Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977) and Snowden: Raggedy Ann & Andy’s Adventure (1998). The dolls have featured in theatre and on the stage in Raggedy Ann and Andy (1981) and Raggedy Ann: The Musical Adventure (1986) and in the television series Raggedy Ann and Andy in The Great Santa Claus Caper (1978), Raggedy Ann and Andy in The Pumpkin Who Couldn’t Smile (1979) and The Adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy (1988–1990).
The stories of Raggedy Ann and Andy have been published in comic books, along with mass merchandising of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls by leading toy manufacturers and numerous other Raggedy products from tea sets to dollhouse miniatures to McCall’s sewing patterns and Simplicity Patterns to make your own homemade dolls.
The Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls and their related memorabilia have become sought-after collectors’ items.