Johnny Gruelle (December 24, 1880 - January 8, 1938) was an artist, political cartoonist, and writer of children's books. He is best known as the creator of Raggedy Ann. He also provided colour illustrations for a 1914 edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales.
He was born John Barton Gruelle in Arcola, Illinois. His first well known cartooning work was Mr. Twee Deedle which Gruelle created after he beat out 1,500 other entrants in a cartooning contest sponsored in 1911 by The New York Herald. Mr. Twee Deedle was in print from 1911 to 1914.
One day, Johnny gave his daughter Marcella a dusty, faceless rag doll found in the attic. Johnny drew a face on the doll and named her Raggedy Ann. Marcella played with the doll so much, Raggedy Ann became like a sister to her. Gruelle wanted other little girls to have such dolls. Gruelle's Raggedy Ann doll Patent # 47789 was dated September 7, 1915. In 1918, the PF Volland Company published Raggedy Ann Stories. Gruelle then created a following series of popular Raggedy Ann books and dolls.
Gruelle lived in the Silvermine section of Norwalk, Connecticut, where the dolls were first mass produced, and later moved his home and company to neighboring Wilton, Connecticut.
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