Raggedy Ann & Andy Dolls

Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls

Rag dolls have been a staple of early childhood for a long time. Since their creation in 1915 by Johnny Gruelle, Raggedy Ann and Andy have become beloved rag dolls for many kids. From her dubious beginning as a faceless raggedy doll left to molder in the Gruelle familys attic, the refurbished and renamed Raggedy Ann doll took the public by storm in 1918 when Gruelle, a political cartoonist by trade, introduced her as the heroine of a book, "Raggedy Ann Stories."

How have Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls changed over time?

Modern versions of these classic dolls sport lush red hair along with red-and-white striped legs, but this wasnt always the case. The appearance, styling, and construction of the dolls evolved over time with different manufacturers leaving their own indelible marks. Changes made to three areas of Anns and Andys floppy cloth bodies are particularly notable:

  • Hair color and density: The earliest Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls had wigs of brown yarn. The thin and short locks were unlike the long, bushy strands that appeared in later editions. Raggedy Anns and Andys hair underwent a number of color changes between 1918 and 2012, from strawberry blond to bright orange to deep shaggy red. The topknots and looped-yard bangs that were in vogue in the mid-1920s gave way to simpler styles as the years progressed.
  • Feet and foot coverings: Raggedy Anns feet were covered with painted-on Mary Jane style shoes in 1919. Later dolls had sewn-on brown or black fabric feet. Still later, the dolls feet were covered in a variety of print fabrics. By the 1940s, black foot coverings were back in style.
  • Raggedy Anns heart: Johnny Gruelle considered Raggedy Ann to be more than a simple rag toy, so when he imbued the storybook character with traits such as kindness, trustworthiness, and spunk, he also gave her a sweet candy heart. According to Gruelles son, candy hearts were hand-sewn into the bodies of the earliest Raggedy Ann dolls. In later editions, a heart-shaped cardboard form was set into place between the dolls batting and its outer fabric covering. Even later, hearts were simply embroidered on the dolls chests.
Are Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls collectible?

Raggedy Ann and Andy are highly collectible, and vintage dolls in good condition are generally in demand. To determine whether a doll is a fine reproduction or a truly vintage Raggedy Ann, check the dolls odor and the stitching at its seams. These two aspects of a Raggedy Ann doll are not likely to appear old unless they really are.

Are these dolls good gift choices for babies and toddlers?

Little ones adore Raggedy Ann and Andys bright cheery smiles and soft, huggable bodies. Choose modern dolls with painted or embroidered facial features for the youngest recipients. Older children may appreciate a good reproduction, as well as the history that goes along with it.

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