(Read more about this year's inductees.)
ARCOLA, Ill., March 27 -- Five times is a charm for Raggedy Ann and her fans. It took five tries for Raggedy Ann to get voted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, and as of 12:00 p.m. PST (3:00 PM, EST), Raggedy Ann is a distinguished member of the prestigious National Toy Hall of Fame, class of 2002. The 86-year-old iconic doll joins the likes of Babe Ruth (Baseball Hall of Fame) Vince Lombardi (NFL Hall of Fame), and now Mr. Potato Head (National Toy Hall of Fame) as Hall of Fame inductees (in their respective Halls). The announcement, made today at 12 noon, PST, from the National Toy Hall of Fame in Salem, Ore., pleased Raggedy (votaries/fans) around the globe.
"We are all happy about this magical moment; it's effusive," says Joni Gruelle Wannamaker, granddaughter of Johnny B. Gruelle, creator of Raggedy Ann. "We were a little disappointed the first four years, but now we can all rejoice about Raggedy's entry into the National Toy Hall of Fame."
Raggedy Ann beat out more than 90 nominees to make it into the National Toy Hall of Fame's class of 2002. Joining Raggedy Ann this year is the Jigsaw Puzzle. The selection committee is comprised of educators, child development experts and toy industry experts. No toy manufacturers are on the selection committee. Silly Putty and Tonka Trucks were the only two inductees last year (2001); Raggedy was sixth on that list. Previous Toy Hall of Fame inductees includes Barbie, Play-Doh, Legos, the Hula-Hoop, Lincoln Logs, Mr. Potato Head and more.
Raggedy Received a Little Help From Her Friends:
When Raggedy Ann was denied entry last year (making it four years straight), fans from around the globe created a grassroots campaign to persuade Hall judges to let Raggedy in. Even NBC's Today Show aired segments urging that she be inducted. Determined to start the campaign early for her inclusion in 2002, the Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum, along with the Gruelle family and Raggedy's sizeable worldwide fan club started the petition on March 28, 2001, the day after the class of 2001 was announced. More than 8,000 petitions and signatures were garnered, and over one thousand letters expressing love and admiration were sent.
"The grassroots campaign helped a great deal. Raggedy is who she is because of her fans. Generations and generations of families have special Raggedy stories, and we were fortunate to read several of them because of the Hall of Fame push," Joni Gruelle added. "We are grateful to all Raggedy fans."
Among the most popular characters of the 20th century, Raggedy Ann has recently been voted Number three of the top 100 dolls of all time in Doll Reader. Raggedy Ann & Andy have starred in numerous books, comics, cartoons, movies and even a musical.
Raggedy Ann made her first appearance in 1915 when creator Johnny Gruelle designed a floppy rag doll to entertain his daughter when she was ill. Gruelle, already a popular cartoonist of the time with features such as "Mr. Twee Deedle," sought a patent for his new creation and began to include the character in his story lines. At home, the Gruelle family began to hand make the dolls and in 1918 the very first Raggedy Ann book rolled of the press, Raggedy Ann Stories. In 1920, Gruelle created a companion for Raggedy Ann, a brother named Andy who debuted in Gruelle's second book, Raggedy Andy Stories.
Official Raggedy Ann and Andy scholar and historian Patricia Hall said it best when she affirmed, "If Johnny Gruelle had made just a doll, we wouldn't be talking about her now." Hall has written a book about the history of the Raggedy's, Raggedy Ann and Andy; A Retrospective Celebrating 85 years of Storybook Friends, published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. The heartwarming story of Raggedy Ann & Andy still continues to touch us all, whether or not the grass roots campaign to have her officially recognized by the Toy Hall of Fame succeeds in its mission.
Raggedy Ann and Andy are licensed by United Media on behalf of Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing. United Media (UM) is a worldwide licensing and syndication company that focuses on building brand equity around a wide range of creative content. UM recently partnered with the LEGO Company to represent its new television series, Galidor: Defenders of the Outer Dimension. UM licenses and/or syndicates other properties, including PEANUTS, Precious Moments, the Copyrights at United Media portfolio (The World of Beatrix Potter, Paddington Bear, etc.), Dilbert, 2GRRRLS, Nancy and Sluggo, MIFFY, and Rainbow Fish. United Media is an E.W. Scripps Company.