Dolls, how many people are familiar with “Raggedy Ann?” When my mother grew up as a child in Italy, she didn’t have a doll. She must have longed for one, because when we were young she was ALWAYS looking for Raggedy Ann dolls.
When we walked through antique shops, she always found one. There were different sizes and styles as the doll kept evolving over the years. You can see in the YouTube video, this woman has quite a collection. I noticed the original dolls had orangey hair, not bright red and the doll is known for her triangular nose.
As I researched, I found that Johnny Gruelle (illustrator from Illinois) was the creator of Raggedy Ann. His daughter Marcella brought him a old rag doll, he drew a face on the doll and named it Raggedy Ann. His daughter loved her doll, so he created a book/doll combo (got a patent in 1915) and started selling in 1918. First dolls were delivered to Chicago! Many books followed.
Finally, Chicago is known for more than Al Capone / gangsters. I had no idea!
This is interesting, 75,000 handmade dolls were made between 1918-1926 by a toy company in Michigan called, “Unbreakabale Toy Company.” In 2018, the town of Muskegon celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Raggedy Ann and Andy. Yes, Raggedy Ann eventually had a brother, Raggedy Andy.
In 2002 Raggedy Ann was voted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. In 2007, Raggedy Andy, her brother, joined her.
My Mom will be so surprised to hear that her beloved Raggedy Ann was the creation of a man from Chicago.
And as Paul Harvey would say, “And now you now… the rest of the story.”