Museum Musings

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* R. B. (Richard Buckner) Gruelle was born in 1851 in Cynthiana, Ky. R. B. Gruelle was a self-taught landscape and portrait artist, musician, and writer. His family moved to Illinois where in Decatur he married Alice J. Benton.
* R. B. and Alice became the parents of Johnny (John Barton) Gruelle who was born in Arcola, Ill. on Christmas Eve, 1880.
* It was Johnny Gruelle, a political cartoonist and artist, who created the Raggedy Ann doll in 1915 and published the first Raggedy stories in 1918. Although Johnny died in 1938, the world wide love for his Raggedy dolls and books continues.
* In 2002, Joni Gruelle Wannamaker, daughter of Worth Gruelle, granddaughter of Johnny Gruelle, and great-granddaughter of R. B. Gruelle, visited Cynthiana on a genealogical quest.
* Her hosts at the Seldon Renaker Inn, Juanita and Jim Ingram suggested that she visit the Cynthiana-Harrison County Museum. There she gathered information from Harold Slade about the Gruelle family. Additional information was collected from the Cynthiana Public Library.
* Joni was charmed with the people she met, the welcome and assistance she received, and this special community. Thus, the idea of a festival to honor the Gruelle memory and to promote the Raggedy tradition came to fruition in 2003.
Visit the Cynthiana-Harrison County Museum on Fridays and Saturdays to see the Raggedy Ann and Andy displays. Check out the Raggedy window show.