John Barton Gruelle (December 24, 1880 – January 9, 1938) was an American artist, political cartoonist, children's book and comics author, illustrator, and storyteller. He is best known as the creator of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls and as the author/illustrator of dozens of books
Raggedy Ann was the favorite doll of Gruelle’s daughter Marcella, who died of small pox. The Raggedy Ann and Andy books are a tribute to her.
John was the eldest child of the Gruelle family, which also included a younger sister, Prudence (1884–1966), and a brother, Justin (1889–1979). Gruelle's parents exposed all three children to music, literature, and art. John, who likely attended public schools in Indianapolis as a youth, became interested in art, and learned drawing from his father.[
Gruelle began his career as an illustrator and cartoonist for Indianapolis newspapers. His work was eventually syndicated nationwide. He also completed commissions for illustrations of well-known fairy tales, as well as writing and illustrating his own stories. Gruelle is best known as the creator of a series of stories about a rag doll named Raggedy Ann and her friends. He also created the iconic Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls. In addition to becoming a successful commercial artist and illustrator, cartoonist, writer, and businessman, Gruelle was a nature-lover, storyteller, and spiritualist.
We at Laughing Elephant love Johnny Gruelle. His animals are so personable and ingenious. And they have such wonderful names, such as the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees, Witchie Kissabye and Mister Twee Deedle.