Happy Birthday, Johnny Gruelle!
Johnny Gruelle (December 24, 1880 - January 9, 1938) was an American artist, political artist, and children's book author and illustrator. Gruelle was the creator of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, around whom Gruelle created a series of children's stories and songs.
John Barton Gruelle was an illustrator who began his artistic career as a newspaper cartoonist. His first well known work was Mr. Tweedle Dee, which was in print from 1911 to 1914 in The New York Herald. In 1914, Gruelle completed the illustrations for Grimm's Fairy Tales, and was soon commissioned to do more work for children's authors.
Mr. Tweedle Dee
Illustrations from Grimm's Fairy Tales
Brother and Sister
The Frog Prince
Gruelle gave his young daughter Marcella a faceless rag doll which had been found in the attic. Gruelle drew a face on the doll, and thus Raggedy Ann was born. In 1915, the illustrator patented Raggedy Ann, and three years later, the PF Volland Company published Raggedy Anne Stories, written and illustrated by Gruelle. He went on to create a series of popular books and dolls based on the character, including Ann's little brother, Raggedy Andy.
In addition to the Raggedy Ann stories, Gruelle also wrote and illustrated his own anthologies and books of fairy tales for children.
At the age of 13, Marcella Gruelle died after complications from an unidentified second shot following a smallpox vaccination at school. The second shot was given without parental consent, and she contracted diphtheria and died. Following the death of his beloved daughter, 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."
In memory of his daughter, Gruelle continued to write and illustrate the Raggedy Ann stories, including Marcella - A Raggedy Ann Story - Marcella Stories (1929).
Selected Works by Johnny Gruelle
- Birthday Date: Wednesday, 24 December 2014