here she sits, a trifle loppy and loose-jointed,
looking me squarely in the face in a straightforward, honest manner,
a twinkle where her shoe-button eyes reflect the electric light.
-Johnny Gruelle, Raggedy Ann Stories
August 28, 2004
New & Improved guestbook! Please sign & share your story
June 26 - November 27, 2004
Raggedy Ann and Friends: The Art of Johnny Gruelle
The Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco
Click here for information
I've been collecting Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls since I was two years old. I was somehow always fascinated with these floppy red-heads who exuded happiness with their addicting smiles.
I went to my first antique doll show in the mid-80s, and was amazed at the number of people that I met who had the same compulsive habit as I. It was during this time that I began to learn more about the fascinating history of these dolls, and began my journey as a "serious collector".
In 1989, the Oakland museum had a wonderful exhibit in honor of Raggedy Ann's 70th anniversary. I went to a "sharing" session where groups of people had brought their favorite dolls, and were sharing special stories that they had experienced together with other collectors.
It was such a warm, happy atmosphere, and I was so pleased to be a part of it. I also realized that I was the youngest person in the room, and that most of the people in there had lived through many decades with their favorite doll.
Coincidently, a person who is now a very close friend, Andrew Tabbat, was the person behind the Raggedy Ann Exhibit at the Oakland Museum. We live in the same city, so he invited me to his house to see his wonderfully expansive collection. Andrew has completed two books on Raggedy Ann and Andy. The first, The Collector's World of Raggedy Ann and Andy, Volume One is a well written, and beautifully illustrated book which covers the history of Raggedy Ann during creator Johnny Gruelle's lifetime. The second, The Collector's World of Raggedy Ann and Andy, Volume Two covers Raggedy collectibles from 1938 through the present.
I began subscribing to Rags
magazine in 1989 after finding an order form at the country store in the Dayton airport. After receiving my first issue, I was engulfed in the wonderful world of Raggedy Ann collectors world wide. Through this magazine, I learned of other collectors, and stores specializing in Raggedy merchandise, and yes, the Annual Raggedy Ann and Andy Festival.
In 1993, while living in Madison, Wisconsin, I attended the Fourth Annual Raggedy Ann and Andy Festival, held in Arcola, Illinois. What an amazing experience that was. I attended the festival with my sister, Tiffini, who was just as anxious as I was to soak in the sites of the weekend. I wore a beige denim jacket which my best friend, Michael, had just hand-painted for me for my 23th birthday. On the jacket were the most beautiful reproductions of my favorite Johnny Gruelle illustrations of the two Raggedies. Kim Gruelle was so impressed that he asked if he could commission Michael to paint one for him. The highlight of my weekend was meeting Kim, and watching him sign the back of my jacket.
My Raggedy collection has always had a very special place in my heart, and has often found its way into other aspects of my life. Many of my dolls have been a source of inspiration for a number of paintings.
To date, I have approximately 300 dolls in my collection. They live happily in my room at my parent's house, even though I have since relocated to a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. (I think they secretly had a plan all along to take over my room!) I love them all dearly, and remember the story of how each one of them came to live with us. My friends are always amazed that a) I can tell them all apart, b) there are differences in them that they don't notice, and c)I can go to a store or flea market and remember whether or not I already have specific dolls.
A few years ago, I put together a Raggedy Ann and Andy Data Base in my computer, both as a way to keep inventory for insurance purposes, but more importantly, to have an organized way of displaying each doll, and to tell the history behind it. As we all know, every doll has a story, and I would hate to forget a single one. The database is composed of a picture of each doll which I had scanned in, and details of the age, date of purchase, place of purchase, and price.
I have had my first version of my Raggedy Ann Web page up since April, 1996. Since then, I've noticed that I've had more responses regarding this page than any others! Over the past couple of months, I've met dozens of Raggedy collectors who have sent me e-mail asking for more information. I decided that I wanted to do something special to this page to promote a reason for visitors to keep coming back. The result of this decision is The Raggedy of the Month Page
! I have also added a new page that will enable my visitors to see the Previous Raggedys of the Months
Looking for other Raggedy sites to visit? There are a few more out there, and together, we are creating quite an expansive network for Raggedy collectors. Other the past few years, we have been directing fellow collectors to each other's pages in an effort to answer everyone's questions and requests regarding Raggedy Ann and Andy.
Thanks for visiting my Raggedy page! Feel free to sign my Guest Book
to share your thoughts or stories with me. I look forward to hearing from you!
Thanks to the friendly folks at web-counter,
you have been identified as:
since July 25, 1996.
This page was last updated on August 28, 2004.