Tuesday Treasures: Raggedy Ann & Andy

Real Estate Agent with DFW FINE PROPERTIES 0506509

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

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Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Interesting history on Raggedy Ann, which by the way I had one too! Then Barbie came along and ruined everything! lol.

Jun 28, 2011 01:43 AM #2
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Patricia-What a great post on the history of many little girls fav doll. Everybody wants a home and wants to be loved. Have yourself a great day my friend.

Jun 28, 2011 01:45 AM #3
Michael Delaware
North Sky Realty LLC - Battle Creek, MI

This is a facinating history that I did not know.  I have always thought of Raggedy Ann and Andy as being such a wonderful piece of Americana. 

Jun 28, 2011 03:06 AM #4
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Patricia - When my kids were young I made each of them their own Raggedy Ann or Andy.  When I saw that photo, I remember embroidering the little triangle noses on each, and the little heart on the chest which unseen by the clothing.  Thanks for the nostalgia!

Jun 28, 2011 03:44 AM #5
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thanks for sharing your story.  Some agents purchase stuffed animals at estate sales.  Run them through the washing machine and discard those that have any damage.  A bag of animals is handy to have in the trunk of your car when meeting families with small children.  Very inexpensive gifts for the kids to love.

 Blooming for you!

Jun 28, 2011 03:48 AM #6
Steve Hoffacker
Steve Hoffacker LLC - West Palm Beach, FL
Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor


I agree. That is a treasure. Whether we are remember back to our kids or thinking ahead, this is part of the American scene. :)


Jun 28, 2011 03:48 AM #7
Judith Parker
ProStead Realty - Charlotte, NC
CRS, GRI, CMRS, Charlotte, NC

Hi Patricia, I never had a set of these dolls but I remember books being read that shared stories of their adventures.  Great lesson on the history of these two.  Thank you!

Jun 28, 2011 08:47 AM #8
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

Patricia, between me and my 5 sisters we did have a Raggedy Ann, but NO BOYS ALLOWED! What A treat you found them, and still own one with special meaning for your daughter. Love the history!

Jun 28, 2011 11:02 AM #9
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Patricia, you have to go to FAO Schwartz in New York and go to the Raggety Ann and Andy department!  What great dolls.

Jun 28, 2011 03:17 PM #10
EC, JF, Double R and Zoey the Cool Cat
Russel Ray Photos - San Diego, CA

I never would have thought that there was actually a museum dedicated to the Raggedy’s. I guess if one person has an interest in this world, you can find many more with the same interest.

Jun 28, 2011 04:10 PM #11
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

These are Tuesday's Treasures indeed! I loved Raggedy Ann and Andy, still do! ;)))

Jun 28, 2011 04:43 PM #12
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Patricia, Isn't it amazing the things we learn about here in the Rain. Forget the Masters in Real Estate, ActiveRain is a PHD in life, :-)

Jun 28, 2011 04:46 PM #13
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy and evening to you Patricia

those sure are mighty nice looking Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls you came along. I have always thought it was mighty cool that they have their very own Museum. I have actually been to it back when I was a kid.

Have a good one
Dale in New Hampshire

Jun 28, 2011 04:58 PM #14
Steve Hoffacker
Steve Hoffacker LLC - West Palm Beach, FL
Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor


Congratulations, this post is now featured in the AR Group "Americana." These really fit the category well. :)


Jun 28, 2011 06:26 PM #15
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Patricia and a very interesting post, and wonderful photo!

VB ;o)

Jun 29, 2011 02:52 AM #16
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

All - thanks for sharing your interest in Raggedy Ann and Andy. Dale, it's a small world, who would have ever thought that you visited the Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum in Southern, IL, if it hadn't been for the RAIN. The fact that you're such a great historian, and lived in MO doesn't surprise me all that much. I find you to be the Librarian for the rest of us in the Rain.  There's a lot of unusual places, such as a Raggedy Ann & Andy Museum, Eric. The next time you're in Southern, Illinois, you might bring your camera! William, I love what you had to say, "Forget the Masters in Real Estate, ActiveRain is a PHD in life." That's a testimonial that I think Vegas Bob and Steve would agree with.

Steve, thank you for featuring me in the AR Group "Americana." That really made me happy - there's been a rush of activity in my business and it's hard to keep up with the RAIN as often as I want but I'd doing the best I can. In the RAIN I can always unwind, enjoy learning something new, hear comments that gives me positive boost of energy, stay in touch with people that have become true friends, and meet new people too.

Ladies who were once upon a time little girls, I'm so glad you shared your stories. Myrl, I can almost see you making your own Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls for your kids. Your creativity has always inspired me in the Rain. Kristine, you gave me a hearty laugh about how Barbie ruined everything - such a typical jealous streak that Barbie had and a tad arrogant too. I know my Betsie Wetsie doll got sent to the corner or underneath the toy pile, never to be seen again once Barbie came along. I'm sure Ellen and her five sisters had the same problem and there were no Boys allowed in my house either, well, err... I won't tell on my oldest sister Sue. Joni, I had a feeling you were always a girlie girl who loved her dolls and had a great time playing nice with all her friends. Patricia, I did a Google on "FAO Schwartz in NY," WOW! That's a place I'd like to visit - thanks for sharing!

Judith, sorry to hear you didn't have any dolls growing up as a kid. Like I said, my house was called the Doll House; however, I used to sneak out of the house and visit the library all the time just to get away from all that craziness of living with sisters! Yikes! Girls are not generally quiet and I found the library to be my escape haven. There were so many kids in the house (friends and cousins too) I don't even think my mother missed me!

Roy, that's an excellent idea about picking up some old toys, giving them a bath and throwing them in the trunk of the car for some kids when you're showing houses. I really think that's a GREAT idea! I remember there were times at the Title Company when the parents brought their kids and I had to entertain them while their parents were signing papers. I'm going to take you up on your suggestion :)

Michael, I'd like to sum it up with your words, "Raggedy Ann and Andy as being such a wonderful piece of Americana." Thanks to all of you for making this a better post just because of your thoughts, ideas, and comments.

Patricia :)

Jun 29, 2011 07:00 AM #17
Judi Boad

Hi Patricia~ I popped in to see what is going on in Active Rain while my daughter and newest addition to the family are taking a little rest. They came to Seattle for a few days from Arizona, and my days are filled with sunshine while I have them here! At three months old, Ava looks so different from when I visited her six weeks ago!

I made a Raggedy Ann and Andy quilt for my daughter when she was a baby. It was beautiful to me as it was made with love and for my first child. My oldest granddaughter has it on a chair in her room now, thirty some years later...who knew??

Have a great day

Jun 29, 2011 10:48 AM #18
Tony & Darcy Cannon
Aubrey and Associates Realty - Layton, UT
The C Team

Patricia, The are in great shape!  I love the back history on them as well!

Jun 29, 2011 10:56 AM #19
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

This makes me think back to when my daughter had a large rag doll when we were living in Europe.

Jul 01, 2011 07:11 AM #20
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Barbara-Jo - EUROPE? Oh joy! I want to go back there. My daughter lives in Switzerland. I was really impressed with the culture, the scenery and the arts. Does your daughter still have her giant rag doll?

Jul 02, 2011 01:28 AM #21
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