Johnny Gruelle

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Johnny Gruelle
Born John Barton Gruelle
(1880-12-24)December 24, 1880
Arcola, Illinois, United States
Died January 8, 1938(1938-01-08) (aged 57)
Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Occupation Artist.Writer
Nationality American
Genre Children's literature
Notable works Raggedy Ann[1]
Raggedy Ann and Andy

Johnny Gruelle (December 24, 1880 – January 8, 1938) was an American artist, political cartoonist, children's book author and illustrator (and even songwriter). He is known as the creator of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. He had such confidence in his design that often he would create the final ink work without first sketching in pencil.[2]


He was born John Barton Gruelle in Arcola, Illinois in 1880, Gruelle moved at age two to Indianapolis, Indiana[3] where his father Richard Gruelle came to associate and exhibit with the Hoosier Group of painters. Richard Gruelle’s circle of friends included bestselling Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley.

John Gruelle's cartoons first appeared in print in the Indianapolis Star in 1905.[4] From 1906 to 1911 his cartooning work appeared in many newspapers, usually signed as Grue, including The Toledo News-Bee,[5] The Pittsburgh Press,[6] The Tacoma Times,[7] and The Spokane Press.[8]

After he beat out 1,500 entrants to win a cartooning contest sponsored in 1911 by The New York Herald, Gruelle created Mr. Twee Deedle, which was in print from that year to at least 1914.[9]

Gruelle gave his daughter Marcella a dusty, faceless rag doll which she found in the attic. He drew a face on the doll and named her Raggedy Ann. Marcella played with the doll so much, Gruelle believed other children would like the doll too. Gruelle's Raggedy Ann doll U.S. Patent D47,789 was dated September 7, 1915. In 1918, the PF Volland Company published Raggedy Ann Stories. Gruelle then created a series of popular Raggedy Ann books and dolls. These became Volland's major source of revenue. Gruelle was awarded another patent for a stuff animal in 1921, U.S. Patent D59,553.

Marcella Gruelle was injured by vaccines and eventually died at the age of 13. After this blow, family friends described Gruelle as "possessed, with a heavy countenance, and ... with the only thing he would bear to have near him as a reminder of Marcella a rag doll."[this quote needs a citation]

Gruelle's "Raggedy Ann's Sunny Songs" was set to music by William H. Woodin, who in 1933 was appointed FDR's first Secretary of the Treasury. One of Gruelle's characters is Little Wooden Willie, a reference to Will Woodin.[10]

Gruelle lived in the Silvermine section of New Canaan, Connecticut, where the dolls were first mass-produced, and later moved his home and company to neighboring Wilton, Connecticut. Gruelle spent a year in Ashland, Oregon from 1923–24.[11] He had a long-standing heart condition, and died in Miami Beach, Florida on January 8, 1938, of a heart attack.[12]


Rapunzel, from an edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales, illustrated by Johnny Gruelle

A partial list of works, several with complete text and illustrations available online for no charge or for sale.

As author and illustrator[edit]

  • All About Cinderella (1916), republished as Cinderella (2012)
  • My Very Own Fairy Stories[13] (1917), republished as Raggedy Ann's Fairy Stories
  • Raggedy Ann Stories[14] (1918)
  • Friendly Fairies[15] (1919)
  • Little Sunny Stories (1919)
  • Raggedy Andy Stories[16] (1920)
  • Orphant Annie[17] (1921)
  • Eddie Elephant (1921)
  • Johnny Mouse and the Wishing Stick (1922), republished as Adventures of Johnny Mouse (2012)
  • The Magical Land of Noom (1922)
  • Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees (1924)
  • Wishing Pebble (1925)
  • Beloved Belindy (1926)
  • Marcella - A Raggedy Ann Story - Marcella Stories (1929)
  • Raggedy Ann's Magical Wishes (Book is undated)
  • My Fairy Stories (2012), a collection of stories from My Very Own Fairy Stories
  • Friendly Gnomes (2012), a collection of stories from Friendly Fairies

As illustrator[edit]

The titular character Sally Migrundy from the anthology Friendly Fairies (1919)
  • Grimm's Fairy Tales[18] (1914)
  • Nobody's Boy [19] (1916)
  • All About Hansel and Grethel (1917), republished as Hansel and Gretel (2012)
  • All About the Little Small Red Hen [20] (1917)
  • Sunny Bunny by Nina Wilcox Putnam (1918)
  • The Bam Bam Clock by J.P. McEvoy (1920)
  • Quacky Doodles' and Danny Daddles' Book (1916)[21]
P literature.svg This literature-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.


  1. ^ "New Raggedy Ann Causing a Stir : It's an Open-and-Shut Case for the Creators' Family - Los Angeles Times". 1987-11-26. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  2. ^ Johnny Gruelle, creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy, Patricia Hall, Pelican Publishing Company, 1993
  3. ^
  4. ^ Hall, Patricia, Johnny Gruelle, Creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy, p. 40 
  5. ^ "All Aboard the Water Wagon". The Toledo News-Bee. January 1, 1907. p. 1. 
  6. ^ "The World, the Flesh, and the Baby". Pittsburg Press. November 29, 1909. p. 10. 
  7. ^ "The Day of All Fools". The Tacoma Times. April 1, 1909. p. 1. 
  8. ^ "A Few More Weeks And Then". The Spokane Press. March 6, 1910. p. 16. 
  9. ^ Mr. Twee Deedle at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on September 30, 2015.
  10. ^ Wayne Homren (2007-12-16). "William H. Woodin'S Political Journey And Musical Talent". Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  11. ^ "Southern Oregon Historical Society - Master List". Retrieved 2008-11-05. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Johnny Gruelle - Biography". IMDB. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  13. ^ My Very Own Fairy Stories at Internet Archive
  14. ^ "Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle - Free Ebook". 2006-04-17. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  15. ^ "Friendly Fairies by Johnny Gruelle - Free Ebook". 2004-02-01. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  16. ^ "Raggedy Andy Stories by Johnny Gruelle - Free Ebook". 2005-12-22. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  17. ^ Orphant Annie Story Book - Google Boeken. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  18. ^ "Grimm's Fairy Stories by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm - Free Ebook". 2004-02-01. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  19. ^ "Nobody's Boy by Hector Malot - Free Ebook". 2008-04-19. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  20. ^ "All About the Little Small Red Hen by Anonymous - Free Ebook". 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  21. ^ Quacky Doodles and Danny Daddles at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on September 30, 2015.

External links[edit]