EDDIE ELEPHANT by Johnny Gruelle, author of RAGGEDY ANN

By now you'll have noticed the flashing introduction to Eddie Elephant next to this post. Well, let me tell you a bit about Eddie.

Eddie Elephant, by Johnny Gruelle, was published in 1921 and was my dad's favorite book as a child. It was given to him by his cousin. In fact it's the only book that has survived from his childhood. He has virtually nothing from those days so whenever he sees this book it makes him smile. So I decided if Eddie can make my dad smile, and he certainly makes me smile, more people should have the chance to be brought on board and become fans of Eddie.

The story of Eddie is very simple. Eddie sets out from home to go visit Granny Elephant and has an adventure along the way meeting all sorts of friends in Jungleville. 

The author, Johnny Gruelle, was born on December 25, 1880 in Arcola, Illinois and died January 3, 1938 of a sudden heart attack in  Miami Beach, Florida. During that span of life he created one of the most beloved characters, Raggedy Ann. 
Johnny Gruelle was an American artist, political cartoonist, and writer of children's books. He is best known as the creator of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. He also provided colour illustrations for a 1914 edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales.
He was born John Barton Gruelle in Arcola, Illinois. His father, Richard Gruelle was a noted artist affiliated with Hoosier Group of Indiana artists. His first well known cartooning work was Mr. Twee Deedle which Gruelle created after he beat out 1,500 other entrants in a cartooning contest sponsored in 1911 by The New York Herald. Mr. Twee Deedle was in print from 1911 to 1914.

One day, Johnny gave his daughter Marcella a dusty, faceless rag doll found in the attic. Johnny drew a face on the doll and named her Raggedy Ann. Marcella played with the doll so much, Raggedy Ann became like a sister to her. Gruelle figured other children would like the doll as much too. Gruelle's Raggedy Ann doll U.S. Patent D47,789 was dated September 7, 1915. In 1918, the PF Volland Company published Raggedy Ann Stories. Gruelle then created a following series of popular Raggedy Ann books and dolls.

Marcella, after being vaccinated at her school for smallpox, was given an unidentified second shot without the consent of either parent. She soon contracted diphtheria and died, aged 13. After this bitter blow, family friends described him as "possessed, with a heavy countenance, and ... with the only thing he would bear to have near him as a reminder of Marcella a rag doll."

Gruelle lived in the Silvermine section of New Canaan, Connecticut, where the dolls were first mass produced, and later moved his home and company to neighboring Wilton, Connecticut. Gruelle spent a year in Ashland, Oregon from 1923-1924. He died in Miami Beach, Florida on January 8, 1938, of a sudden heart attack. (Source: Wikipedia)
To see more of Johnny Gruelle's work click here to go to Google's image site.

Eddie long ago was out-of-print so I thought I'd start Eddie back on his road to adventure by adding images of Eddie to my CafePress shop. More images are to come so keep checking back. 

Eddie is probably one of the sweetest elephants you'll ever come across, not that many of us come across elephants in our own day-to-day adventures. Oh shoot, just take a look and tell me what you think.


  1. I think he's wonderful!

  2. Cute! Have you seen this? http://notsoraggedyacre.com/ephant.htm

  3. Hi Juddie,

    Yes, I'd seen the site. The dolls are very cute. I think Eddie is adorable. I gave my father an Eddie Elephant sweatshirt for a gift today, Eddie on the front and back. Made my dad smile. How could you not smile when looking at Eddie?