Born in Illinois on December 25, 1880, John Barton Gruelle is best known for creating Raggedy Ann and Andy. He worked for several newspapers and magazines in Indianapolis and New York, illustrating their articles, and working on cartoon strips. In 1929, his comic strip, “Brutus,” began a nine-year run.
In 1915, his daughter, Marcella, found her grandmother’s doll in an attic trunk. It had no face, so Johnny Gruelle drew one. Family and friends thought the doll was unique, so his immediate family began making enough dolls by hand so they could acquire a registered trademark.
The PF Volland Company started publishing the Raggedy Ann stories in 1918 and in 1922 the “Adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy” began their syndicated run in newspapers, eventually becoming two of the most enduring children’s book characters.
Johnny Gruelle died in 1938.