What regular American kid growing up in the early 1900s wouldn't know of the lovable doll Raggedy Ann? Her with the rather inconspicuous red yarn hair, triangle nose and striped socks. Mostly, she was what little girls wanted: a dependably huggable bestfriend.
A fictional character in Raggedy Ann Stories (1918), she was originally created by author Johnny Gruelle for his own child, Marcella, and named after the James Whitcomb Riley poems The Raggedy Man and Little Orphan Annie. In 1920, Gruelle gave Ann a brother and published the sequel Raggedy Andy Stories. Andy definitely had her features.
Soon after, Ann and Andy became symbols for the fight against vaccination. Gruelle supported the movement after Marcella died at age 13 due to-he believed-the smallpox vaccine administered her at school with no parental consent. The wheels had turned for Ann and Andy for the significant role they would play in the lives of children.
Decades later, Ann and Andy would be in more Gruelle books and in various adaptations that include animated TV series and specials, a 1977 film feature, even a stage play and a Broadway musical based on the film. A festival and a museum would be named after them and continued until 2009. Ann and Andy were inducted in the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2002 and 2007 respectively.
The dolls had undergone some changes in terms of looks, but the original patterns are still presently available. Hasbro Inc., in cooperation with Aurora World, came out with a new line of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls in 2012.