The Perennial Appeal of Rag Dolls

Around the globe and across the years, rag dolls carve their own niche

A little girl chastises her dirty-faced Raggedy Ann doll.
Johnny Gruelle illustration for his 1918 book The Original Raggedy Ann Stories

There’s magic in humble scraps of cloth, deer hide, fur, and cornhusks. With a bead or two, a hank of yarn, and a few embroidered stitches, a rag doll can be birthed. The first parent to cobble together bits and bobs into a human shape and hand it to their child will never be known. The British Museum has a Roman rag doll from 1st-5th…