Raggedy Andy cover

They really look like they’reĀ in love, don’t they?

If you’re a female of any age, the chances are excellent that you once owned a Raggedy Ann doll. I did and I loved to undress her so I could see her heart. What a lovely touch. I don’t have mine any more, but I have this Raggedy Andy book, well worn and well loved. According to the article in Wikipedia, this book first introduced Raggedy Andy, and since the date on the book is 1920, it might be a first edition. But it’s in bad shape with tears and repairs, a dirty cover and someone (me? my sister?) pencilled in page numbers. Children shouldn’t write in books, but we hated books with no numbers. It has the name of a friend of my aunt’s in pencil so I’m guessing she was the original owner of the book in 1920. She probably gave it to my grandmother to share with my sister and me. I remember reading it there.

The stories are pretty long according to today’s standards. The illustrations are really lovely. The one in Wikipedia is in this book. I’ve chosen this illustration because it has the Scottish doll and the Dutch doll who are also in the stories. Raggedy Andy illustration

There’s a strange, sad twist to the story. Johnny Gruelle created Raggedy Ann for his daughter, Marcella. Raggedy Andy is dedicated “To Marcella’s mama.” However, Marcella died at age 13 after she received a smallpox vaccination at school without her parents’ permission. Whether or not that was the cause of death, the Gruelles went on to lead an anti-vaccination campaign (sound timely?) and Raggedy Ann was the symbol.

Did you have a Raggedy Ann doll? Did boys have Raggedy Andy dolls? Do your children or grandchildren have Raggedy Ann dolls? The ones today are much brighter than the one I had.

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