If you haven’t already picked up a card or a gift, I’ll just remind you that Raggedy Ann is celebrating her 95th birthday this year. While her figure may not rival that of 51-year-old Barbie, Raggedy Ann still looks quite good for a doll who could qualify for AARP membership.
Raggedy Ann’s endurance was part of what qualified her to be inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. And it’s part of what makes her an especially interesting licensed character. These days, everyone—kids, parents, toy manufactures, and retailers alike—pretty much accept that a sizable portion of current toys are branded with a recognizable licensed face. But Raggedy Ann was out there in the world of licensing long before these newcomer SpongeBobs, Shreks, or Mulans were even glimmers in their creators’ eyes.
That brings me to my latest project—putting together a Raggedy Ann scavenger hunt that will send guests to Strong National Museum of Play on a search for 95 Raggedy Ann items hidden in plain sight throughout our exhibits and displays, each with a clue toward puzzling out a Raggedy Ann rhyme.
So I headed into collections storage to select 95 intriguing Raggedy Ann examples from the more than 1,300 that we received last summer as a donation from the Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum in Arcola, IL. Of course I picked some cloth dolls, but I couldn’t resist a Raggedy Ann shower cap and a Raggedy Ann alarm clock. Did you know that, for a while, Raggedy Ann had her own line of canned fruits and vegetables? But my very favorite may be the makeup kit, even though Raggedy Ann hardly rivals Barbie’s glamor. It all shows vividly how Raggedy Ann and the world of licensing have evolved together over the decades.
So if your travels bring you to the vicinity of Rochester, NY, between July 9 and September 6, be sure to stop in and try your search skills at our scavenger hunt. You’re sure to find yourself face-to-face with some familiar Raggedy Ann images and products—and some that will undoubtedly amaze and amuse you.