Press release from the Glenville Area Historical Society:
Who among us —young, old and in between — does not remember and cherish Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy and the stories of their adventures! The Glenville History Museum is bringing back the memories of these toy icons of the 20th century through the 2018 Historical Discovery Event on Saturday, August 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the museum located at 4735 Highway 107 North in Glenville Village. Creator and author Johnny Gruelle patented Raggedy Ann in 1915, published Raggedy Ann stories in 1918 and patented Raggedy Andy in 1920. From their creation, the whimsical rag dolls enjoyed increasing popularity that continues to this day.
In 1981, the Raggedies retired to North Carolina. Most residents, even locals and long-time seasonal residents, are not aware that Kim Gruelle, grandson of Johnny Gruelle, maintained a business, gallery and showroom, The Last Great Company, dedicated to Raggedy Ann and Andy and his grandfather Johnny in the Norton area of Glenville. Kim opened his company in 1981 to the delight of Raggedy lovers who discovered him hidden in the “Deep Deep Woods” along Norton Road. Here, Grandson Gruelle sold Raggedy books, dolls and illustrations until the Last Great Company closed in 2005.
The Last Great Company and all the old, new and traditional Raggedies were featured during the Glenville Historical Society Norton Area History tour several years ago. Now, the Society has gathered historical dolls and the story of creator Johnny Gruelle and Kim Gruelle’s The Last Great Company for the August 25 event at their History Museum. Raggedy and Gruelle memorabilia, dolls, photos, and direct quotes from author Johnny Gruelle, Kim Gruelle and Raggedy Ann and Andy will be on exhibit during the Historical Discovery Event.
“It is natural that the traditional image and sprit of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy have persisted,” says Kim Gruelle. He continues, “Those qualities of sweetness, humility and transcendent spirituality that are so much a part of the dolls original personalities are the very qualities that have always attracted children and adults alike to the Raggedies.” It is how Johnny Gruelle wanted the Raggedies to be and how he would like it today.
The Glenville History Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 11AM to 3PM each week until October 6th. The Society holds various history related events throughout the May to October season. At the annual meeting on Thursday evening September 27th the featured program is stories about famous Glenvillians that include a professional baseball player and a Glenville farmer once on the cover of Look Magazine.