Ann and Andy
September 7, 1915: Patent # 44789 is granted to Johnny Gruelle for a soft rag doll dressed in blue with red yarn hair. Gruelle was a political cartoonist and devoted family man. He found a soft rag doll in the attic. The doll was worn and had no face. Gruelle drew a face on the doll and gave it to his daughter, Marcella. She loved it and carried it with her everywhere.
Gruelle wrote stories about this wonderful doll and in 1918 published Raggedy Ann Stories through the PF Volland Company. Both book and doll were sold to young children. Gruelle lived in Norwalk, Connecticut, USA where the dolls were first mass produced. He later moved his family and the company to Wilton, Connecticut.
The stories and the doll were an unparallel success. The stories delighted children and eventually a larger cast of characters were included. Fido the dog joined Raggedy Ann and her younger brother, Raggedy Andy in all sorts of adventures. Each Raggedy Ann doll bears a heart with “I Love You” inscribed on her chest. Many other dolls were added to the continuing stories.
Gruelle died in 1938 but his books lived on. His name is listed as the author as late as 1961. There have been animated feature films, holiday oriented stories and even a television series that ran for three years. The current owners of the copyrights to the characters are Simon & Schuster publishing and Hasbro, Inc. Raggedy Ann was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2002.
“What we’re always looking for is a teachable moment, … That’s just not going to happen with something on the screen or even one of those animatronic dolls that are telling stories.” – Shifrin
“It’s very much about friendship, and that’s what we wanted it to be, … There didn’t need to be another fashion doll.” – Maxine Clark
“It was the Cabbage Patch doll and Tickle Me Elmo of its time - the thing you really hoped would be under the tree when you got up Christmas morning.” – Anne Phillips
“They’re not like Raggedy Ann and Andy, but they are cuddly, and definitely appeal to a contemporary crowd.” – Christopher West
Also on this day, in 1911 an arrest was made for the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre.