Johnny Gruelle is probably not the name ringing too many bells, but his doll called Raggedy Ann is actually still pretty popular and it is almost one hundred years old!
Although he was great cartoonist and illustrator with many published works and awards, the literary history will probably remember him mostly by the Raggedy Ann. The craze started with an old doll found in the attic – it was owned by johnn’y mother and he gave it to his daughter.
The doll was so worn out, dusty, some stuffing was used for mouse nests…, Johny had to draw a face on her. And he did a great job. His daughter loved the doll and he decided to patent it and try with mass production. I don’t know how many dolls were sold (they can still be bought at all major stores), but i managed to find there was more than three million (!) copies of Raggedy Ann Story sold before Johnny Gruelle died. And Raggedy Ann (written by creator of the doll) was only one of many books written to support the doll.
This book is now in public domain. It can be downloaded here:
For your convenience I cropped and edited all images from the book and now you can enjoy them in next gallery:
These illustrations from Raggedy Ann Stories are not only cute, they also show simple and effective technique of the illustrator. I have read he was so confident in his hand he rarely used pencil. He started with ink and i suppose this saved him a lot of time, so he could spend afternoons fishing…
O.k., that’s about all for today. More about John Barton Gruelle and his Raggedy Ann doll, his early years and career, wel, just about everything, can be found here:
I hope you’ll have as many smiling moments as Raggedy Ann:)