I'm sure many of you are thinking why is she writing about a rag doll? A toy? Raggedy Ann has been around for over 95 years & is closely tied to the small pox vaccine & anti-vaccine movement.
Marcelle Gruelle in 1915 at the tender age of 13 was given the small pox vaccine at school without her parents consent. During this time period many who were given the small pox vaccine didn't survive the procedure. The wound that was created by the small pox vaccine would become infected. With sanitation being low at this point in our history, the victims of this barbaric procedure would die from infection.
Lets go back & look at the humble beginnings of this doll that is still popular today.
Marcella went up to her grandmothers attic one day when she was visiting. She found an old faceless rag doll. She took it down to her father & asked him if she could have it. He put 2 black eyes & the triangle nose on its face that we still see today.
When Mr. Gruelle's only child came down sick after getting the small pox vaccine, she was bedridden, he would entertain her with stories about Raggedy Ann. Shortly before Marcella died, her muscles became "limp" like a rag doll. After Marcella's death, Raggedy Ann became a symbol for the anti-vaccine movement.
After Marcella died, 7 doctors came & examined her. 6 said the cause of her death was the small pox vaccine. The 7th doctor was the head of the school board & a big supporter of vaccines. He was known to vaccinate children over & over again for the same diseases. This doctor wouldn't say if her death was caused by the vaccine or not.
By 1918, Mr. Gruelle published his first book about Raggedy Ann. In 1920, Raggedy Andy made his debut in the volumes. These 2 events put Mr. Gruelle on the track for a well known author & illustrator.
I still have my Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls from my childhood. Now that I know the story behind this classic doll, I'm glad I held onto them.
Until next week my friends, have a great week.
P.S. On Monday, Feb. 7th., I was inducted into the honor society at my local college for my high GPA. Here is a link to that story.
Here are my sources for this blog entry.