Raggedy Ann is a fictional character created by American writer Johnny Gruelle (1880–1938) in a series of books he wrote and illustrated for young children. Raggedy Ann is a rag doll with red yarn for hair and has a triangle nose. The character was created in 1915 as a doll, and was introduced to the public in the 1918 book Raggedy Ann Stories. A doll was also marketed along with the book to great success. A sequel, Raggedy Andy Stories (1920) introduced the character of her brother, Raggedy Andy, dressed in sailor suit and hat.

Gruelle created Raggedy Ann for his daughter, Marcella, when she brought him an old hand-made rag doll and he drew a face on it. From his bookshelf, he pulled a book of poems by James Whitcomb Riley, and combined the names of two poems, “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphant Annie.” He said, “Why don’t we call her Raggedy Ann?”

Marcella died at age 13 after being vaccinated at school for smallpox without her parents’ consent. Authorities blamed a heart defect, but her parents blamed the vaccination. Gruelle became an opponent of vaccination, and the Raggedy Ann doll was used as a symbol by the anti-vaccination movement.

Raggedy Ann dolls were originally handmade. Later, PF Volland, a Gruelle book publisher, made the dolls. In 1935 Volland ceased operation and Ann and Andy were made under Gruelle’s permission by Exposition Dolls, and without permission (during legal limbo) by MollyE’s Dolls, resulting in Gruelle v (Mollye) Goldman.

Raggedy Ann & Andy’s Alphabet & Numbers.

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