In the Lakeside Heritage Society returns to highlight our “Toys of Yesteryear” exhibit with the addition of a few vintage Raggedy Ann pieces.
Nearly every Lakesider has heard of Raggedy Ann, but did you know she has a brother named Raggedy Andy? Cartoon artist and author Johnny Gruelle introduced the Raggedy Ann Stories in 1918 after watching his daughter Marcella play with a homemade doll his mother had given to his sister decades before. Gruelle developed his famous doll brand by combining the names two of his favorite poems by James Whitcomb Riley, “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphant Annie.” The Indiana based author wrote one new book each year for the two decades following his first publication, including Raggedy Andy Stories in 1920. In each brilliantly colored edition Gruelle lovingly referred to the adventurous siblings as “kindly rag dolls” with red yarn hair and triangles noses.
Our first artifact is a children’s book, Raggedy Ann In the Magic Book, written by Johnny Gruelle and published by the Bobs-Merrill Company in 1961. In this tale, Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, with “their cotton stuffed heads filled with pleasant thoughts,” follow the path to the Tumbling Brook where they meet a funny creature called a Fuzzywhump. Each chapter depicts their adventures with this Fuzzywhump with imaginative illustrations in bold, bright hues. Unlike some of the earlier editions, which were illustrated by Johnny Gruelle himself, this publication was embellished with drawings by his son, Worth.
In 1997, Raggedy Ann was brought back to life with the production of her own U.S. postage stamp, and in 2002 she was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. With the book, Lakeside Heritage Society will be including small ornamental Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls. Each piece of the Raggedy Ann addition was donated by Lakeside Heritage Society volunteer, Gretchen S. Curtis. Visit Heritage Hall this week to view our newly renovated “Toys of Yesteryear” exhibit as it continues to grow. If you would like to donate a vintage toy or book, please contact LHS Manager Dakota Harkins or stop by the Archives.