|Raggedy Ann and Andy illustrations by Johnny Gruelle|
Yesterday I went shopping with my daughter and we ended up in the Hallmark shop in the mall. As she was purchasing gift tags I look a spin around the shop and was surprised to see a lone Raggedy Andy on the shelf with a tag which read RAGGEDY ANN is 100 this year, 1915-2015. The reason I was surprised is I consider myself to be a bit of a Raggedy Ann know-it-all since I have collected the dolls since I was a little girl. Actually my mom started the collection for me since my name is Anne. I'm sure she knew I would feel a connection to a doll namesake (even though she doesn't spell her name with an E like I do.)
Apparently the creator of Raggedy Ann, Johnny Gruelle, applied for a patent for his rag doll in 1915 and his first book about the doll, Raggedy Ann Stories was published in 1918. My version of that book has a copyright date of 1918 with "Forty-sixth edition" in tiny red letters following. I guess that means my book was published in the 1960s some time. Most Raggedy Ann dolls of yesteryear were homemade with McCalls offering a simple to follow pattern. When I was young, my mother, who I never thought of as much of a seamstress, made me one of these dolls. Unfortunately, I have no idea what happened to that doll. She may still be stuck in a box somewhere. I hope so, anyway.
For the past twenty-plus years, my younger sister has given me a Raggedy Ann ornament for the Christmas tree each year. Two years ago we decided these ornaments had reached critical mass, meaning we had enough of them to have a completely Raggedy Ann and Andy Christmas tree. It gives me such joy to decorate a tree with items I have collected for years. In addition to Raggedy Ann/Andy ornaments I also have my real dolls on the tree including my Raggedy Ann Madame Alexander dolls and my Barbie (Kelly) Raggedy Ann/Andy dolls. What fun. See photos of this year's Raggedy Ann tree below.
Happy 100th Birthday, Raggedy Ann(e). I love you!