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South Texas Living

The enduring charm of Raggedy Ann

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August 22, 2012 | 2,270 views | Post a comment

The Stockdale Blue Bonnet Club met Aug. 13 in the home of Billie Jo Wolff for the regular business meeting. Prior to the meeting, the members gathered for refreshments served by the hostess.

President Sue McLelland called the meeting to order. Secretary/treasurer Susan Cotter read the minutes of the June meeting, gave the treasurer’s report, and conducted the Roll Call.

These committee reports were given: Card Committee reported sending 20 cards during June and July; Nursing Home Visitors for July and August were Kay Deagen and Teri Wolff; Bingo Committee for the club provided prizes for the nursing home bingo games on the fifth Tuesday of July; Barbara Wiatrek reported on the Watermelon Jubilee Queen’s Reception following the Coronation in June, with the refreshments provided and served by the Blue Bonnet Club. The Jubilee Float Committee reported the club’s float, “Tea Time/Tee Time,” received a first-place trophy in the civic organization category.

Hostess for the September meeting will be Linda Carden, with Sharon West to serve as program leader. Judy Childress will serve as the September Nursing Home Visitor.

Mildred Kallies and Billie Jo Wolff, program leaders, reviewed the history of the creation of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, the whimsical dolls and storybook characters by Johnny Gruelle of Arcola, Ill. The original Raggedy Ann doll belonged to Gruelle’s mother. Gruelle’s daughter, Marcella, found the doll in an attic storage chest during one of her visits to Grandma’s. The doll had no face, so it was her dad, Johnny, who put the famous black eyes, red triangle nose, and separated mouth on the original doll, and Grandma made a new dress.

By 1918, Johnny Gruelle had sold his first volume of Raggedy Ann Stories. Two years later in 1920, he created Raggedy Andy Stories. His famous stories of these lovable dolls have amused and fascinated millions of children and the “young at heart.” It is the Gruelle ideal that books for children should contain nothing to cause fright, suggest fear, glorify mischief, excuse malice, or condone cruelty. That is why they are called “Books Good For Children.” Famous people who had Raggedy Ann dolls included Margaret Truman, Princess Grace of Monaco, and Caroline Kennedy, as well as thousands of Raggedy Ann collectors all over the world. Comedian and entertainer Bob Hope took Raggedys to the GIs overseas when he went on tour. Raggedy Ann, after more than 85 years, is still America’s favorite rag doll!

Mildred Kallies, an accomplished seamstress, has a vast collection of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls, pillows, blankets, dresses, and suits which she has fashioned. Her hobby is enjoyed by members of her family and friends. Displayed for the club members were several of her creations.

Attending the meeting were members Charlin Akin, Edith Akin, Vanessa Bosanko, Judy Childress, Susan Cotter, Kay Deagen, Helen Deason, Mary Denson, Mildred Kallies, Sue McLelland, Sharon West, Barbara Wiatrek, and Billie Jo Wolff.

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