One never knows what treasures can be found in an Estate or Garage Sale. This little couple, Raggedy Ann and Andy were hoping for a home at the Lavendar Farms flee market in Texas. In looking at the dolls, I was reminded that everyone wants a home :)
History of Raggedy Ann and Andy
According to Wikipedia, Raggedy Ann is a fictional character created by American writer Johnny Gruella (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.
Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum
The Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum is located in Arcola, Illinois three and a half hours south of Chicago and two and a half hours northeast of St. Louis. According to historical accounts recorded by the museum, Johnny Gruella's daughter Marcella brought him an old rag doll one day, and he drew a face on the worn fabric. Pulling a book off the shelf, he noticed two James Witcomb Riley poems, The Raggedy Man and Little Orphan Annie. Why donn't we call her Raggedy Ann,?" he said. Or so the story goes. Gruella's family made the original doll by hand, and he gave Raggedy Ann life in 1915. She became a children's book character in 1918, and Gruella's publisher P.F. Volland arranged to sell Raggedy Ann dolls as well. The tie-in between Gruella's Raggedy Ann Stories and the dolls proved a great marketing success. Gruella averaged one new book a year for twenty years. Reprinted many times, the books renew the character for every generation. In the stories kindly Raggedy Ann comes to life when humans aren't looking and embarks on adventures with her brave brother Andy. Marcella Gruelle tragically died at age 13, just as Raggedy Ann debuted. But she showed up as a tender remembrance in Marcella: A Raggedy Ann Story (1929).
Remembering Raggedy Ann and Andy
I never had a Raggedy Ann or Andy doll growing up as a child, but I did enjoy making dolls to look like the famous Raggedy Ann. I used old white socks and I sewed buttons on her face for the eyes and yarn on the top of her head for hair. Of course, she didn't look anything like the original Raggedy Ann, but she was fun to play with and I painted a red heart on her chest that said, "I Love You."
Making rag dolls was a hobby of mine. Of course, I owned and received many store bought dolls and doll houses too. My four sisters and I shared our dolls and we all enjoyed making dolls out of socks together. It wasn't until I became an adult and went to the funeral services of a family relative that a second cousin told me that she loved coming over to my house as a kid because her parents always told her brothers and sisters they were going to the Doll House for a visit. Doll House? I said. Why did you call my house the Doll House? Laurcha, my second counsin said "its because there were so many dolls in your house, we never had a place to sit on the furniture, so we always sat on the floor, playing with your dolls."
Somewhere up in my attic is a Raggedy Ann doll that I gave to my daughter, Carrie Ann. For me, it was important to give her a store bought Raggedy Ann with a genuine, "I Love You Heart," logo on her chest. Raggedy Ann sat in my daughter's little rocking chair through her years away at college. Now, she's somewhere up in my attic, packed away with other childhood treasures. Some day I may go up in attic and dust her off. For now, I just may hunt for some old socks and see what magic I can create.
Photo and content by Patricia Feager with reference and credit given to Wikipeda and the Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum's historical accounts provided by the museum. Patricia Feager, Keller Williams Realty, 2011