Out of the attic and into our hearts, Raggedy Ann and her brother Andy have been having adventures and telling stories for over 100 years.
Created by author and artist Johnny Gruelle (1880-1936), Raggedy Ann was inspired by a doll found in the attic that had been hand-sewn for his sister by his mother. He gave the found doll to his daughter Marcella and she asked him to draw a face on it, which inspired him to design a similar doll, which was patented (D47789) and trademarked in 1915.
Marcella died later that year at age 13 and Gruelle began writing adventures based on the interactions he remembered between Marcella and the dolls she had played with. The first book, Raggedy Ann Stories, was published in 1918.
Once it was discovered that the book sold better when offered with the doll, his publisher, P.F. Volland, assigned the Non-Breakable Toy Company to mass produce Raggedy Ann. In the meantime, Gruelle wrote another book, Raggedy Andy Stories. Published in 1920, the book’s drawings led to the creation of the accompanying Andy doll.
As early as 1935, other toy companies began producing their own versions of Raggedy Ann and Andy; the owner of Moll-E’s Doll Outfitter noticed Ann’s patent had expired in 1929 and Andy had never been trademarked or patented. Gruelle filed suit and won shortly before his death in 1936.
A number of different toy companies and publishers have produced the dolls and published their stories since Gruelle’s death. From 1963-1982, the Knickerbocker Toy Company of Middlesex, N.J., produced Raggedy Ann and Andy in a range of sizes from 39 inches to a miniature 6 inches (shown here). The Montgomery Wards Wish Book from 1974 offered a full selection of toys, dolls, and room decor marketed as The Original Raggedy Ann and Andy.
Raggedy Ann was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2002, with Andy inducted five years later. The dolls are currently part of the Hasbro/Playskool toy line, and the books are published by Simon & Schuster Inc.