Johnny Gruelle History

JOHNNY GRUELLE

Johnny GruelleJohnny Gruelle is best known for creating the world famous rag doll characters, Raggedy Ann and Andy. While the Raggedys were the indisputable centerpiece of Gruelle's career, in his heart of hearts, Johnny was a dyed-in-the-wool freelance artist, who felt most at home at his drawing board, crafting illustrations and features for newspapers and magazines.

It was his illustrating work that led him to create a distinctive, whimsical design for a doll named "Raggedy Ann", which he patented and trademarked in 1915. Gruelle was soon pitching book ideas, and ultimately, he connected with the P.F. Volland Company, a juvenile publisher in Chicago. In 1918 Volland published Gruelle's Raggedy Ann Stories and also introduced a matching character doll, and the rest is history. More Raggedy books and dolls followed, and Gruelle eventually became known as "The Raggedy Ann Man."

Myrtle and Marcella Gruelle

Myrtle and Marcella Gruelle, Silvermine, Connecticut, 1911.

"Cottage" Raggedy Ann, circa 1918-1919

The "Cottage" Raggedy Ann, produced by Non-Breakable Toy Company for Volland, circa 1918-1919.

John B. Gruelle Patent: Raggedy Ann; Sept. 7, 1915
John B. Gruelle Patent: Raggedy Ann; Sept. 7, 1915
John B. Gruelle Patent: Raggedy Andy; Aug. 24, 1920
John B. Gruelle Patent: Raggedy Andy; Aug. 24, 1920
Sept. 6, 1918. Earliest Raggedy Ann dolls intended for display & retail; manufactured for Volland.