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Johnny Gruelle (1880-1938)

John Barton Gruelle (1880-1938)

A prolific cartoonist and children’s illustrator, Johnny Gruelle is best known for creating two of the most iconic and popular characters of American childhood – Raggedy Ann and Andy.

John Gruelle was born in Arcola, Illinois, on 24 December 1880. At the age of two, he moved with his family to Indianapolis, Indiana. This was in order for his father Richard Gruelle, a talented impressionist painter, to associate and exhibit with the Hoosier Group, a collective of Indiana painters.

Encouraged to draw from a young age by his father, Gruelle discovered a flair and passion for cartooning, and in 1901, at the age of 20, joined the Indianapolis-based tabloid, the
People. After a short spell at the Indianapolis Sun, he joined the rival Indianapolis Star as assistant illustrator in June 1903. In 1905, he accepted a freelancing job with the World Color Printing Company of St Louis to produce four-colour Sunday comics.

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