Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Johnny Gruelle Books


This lovely book was published in 1929. Johnny Gruelle was a talented political cartoonist who created a character based on a rag doll his daughter Marcella found in the attic. He observed how she would talk to her dolls as if they were alive and created a series of books based on these adventures. Sadly, Marcella died in 1929 at age 13 from complications of a vaccination. That same month, the patent office granted final approval for Johnny Gruelle's creation; Raggedy Ann.

The books are charming, even today. I used to love these books, and I bought many in the series which were reprinted in the early 70's. The Raggedy dolls inhabit a whimsical world of elves and fairies and gnomes as fascinating to me then as Harry Potter books are to my children today. Thanks to ebay and book hunts during my travels I've expanded my collection to over 20 in the series. Many of these books have been reprinted again and are available to a new generation.

The illustrations in all of the books are exquisite. I used to sit and trace them when I was a kid. Apparently I'm not the only one who did this as a child -- Mary Engelbreit copied his warm colorful style as well.

Here is the full text of the book Raggedy Ann Stories, including illustrations.
Here is the delicious little book Friendly Fairies. Enjoy!
These are available to view or download in several formats, along with many other books at Project Gutenberg.

Find more vintage thingies at Confessions of an Apron Queen every Thursday.

16 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Jenn said...

I love Ragedy Ann! I think I may just go and by some books and re-read the stories again!

Monkey Memories said...

Wow, so neat! Love the Raggedys! And, yes, you may steal from my meme! :)

womaninawindow said...

Absolutely beautiful book! Isn't it wonderful to hold those delicate pages that have been devoured so many years before?

eileen said...

Well thank you for these links. I did not know some of them were available for download.. that is awesome. I'd love to see your collection.. so you have them on Flickr or somewhere? I collect them too. :-D

noble pig said...

This is so lovely...I love Thirsday's now to see what you are going to do!

Stephanie said...

Oooh, thanks for the links! I was Raggedy Ann one year for Halloween, my mom made the costume and even tie-dyed white stocking with red stripes for it. That was one of my faves. I love RA and recently received some graphics of her and Andy for my digiscrapping. I can't wait to use the set, even more so now!

Kellan said...

How interesting. I never knew there was a series based on Raggedy Ann dolls.

Have a good day - Kkellan

Don Mills Diva said...

I had completely forgotten about Raggedy Ann! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

The Apron Queen said...

As a child, my bedroom was full of Rageddy Ann & Andys. Wish I'd have kept them. Love the book. Piece of art! Thabks for sharing. :D

For your daily dose of vintage goodness & a bit of silliness, stop by Confessions of an Apron Queen

Cheryl said...

Thanks for the great links. What a treasure that book is.

Amy said...

wow I love books like that! :-)

Elizabeth said...

Beautiful! I love the illustrations in old children's books. I used to trace them, too, since I can't draw worth beans!
I'd like to "tag" you for the 7-Song Survey. You can get the info at http://bigeeesblog.blogspot.com/
I will be putting my post up in a couple days.

Jewelgirl said...

I was going to say how I loved
the artwork on the cover of the book,
sure enough it does look like my
fav ME! Would love to see more of
the artwork inside! Great VTT!

Beth Ann said...

I am 40 and still have my original Raggedy Ann doll! They are definitely classic and those illustrations are just gorgeous! Thank you for sharing!

Stephanie said...

Beautiful book! I never knew the story behind the dolls, it's very interesting. I'd love to read the books. Guess I'll have to check out EBay. Thanks for sharing!

Kelsey said...

That is too neat!

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