Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Story Time Stiches: Absentees, Part Two

 Our look at quilts and children's books continues with some interesting omissions to the study.  If you've seen any of these characters sewn in a quilt, please let me know!

2. Notable Exceptions:

Uncle Wiggily Longears was first published in 1910.  According to Wikipedia, Howard R. Garis wrote a story a day (except Sundays) for 52 years and published 73 books.  Many of his books and the Uncle Wiggily Game are still available for purchase.  The character was widely popular so it seems odd to me that I've never seen an Uncle Wiggily quilt or quilt kit.  I have seen vintage fabric that measured 34 inches wide which may mean that the fabric was vintage:

There was even a pattern for Uncle Wiggily stuffed toys:

Interestingly enough, the books and the Uncle Wiggily game are still available to purchase!


In 1924, Howard Gray's comic, "Little Orphan Annie" debuted and was widely popular.  There are a lot of vintage quilts out there but they derive from the Broadway musical/movie from the 1970s.  This is all very interesting to me because of the popularity of the radio show and there was even a 1938 movie:

I personally think that the reason for the lack of quilts was fairly simple.  Orphanages were all over the country and it was probably a family's biggest fear--especially during the Depression-- that their children might end up in an orphanage. 


Frank Baum's book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900.  There were lots of sequel books and I read a lot of them as a child.  For some reason, I thought this past week that there was an embroidered coverlet quilt pattern offered in an early 20th century magazine.  But I can't find it now and it may be my memory fails me.  After the movie was released in 1939, there were possiby linens available.  This sheet is featured on Worthpoint and I don't know how accurate the date is (it seems unlikely to me but what do I know about sheets?):

This quilt became very popular in the 1970s and I have one in my collection:


"It is the Gruelle ideal that books for children should contain nothing to cause fright, suggest fear, glorify mischief, excuse malice or condone cruelty," wrote Johnny Gruelle about his books.  

Gruelle's first Raggedy Ann and Andy book was published in 1918.  There may be an actual legal reason for it.  In her book, Johnny Gruelle Creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy, Patricia Hall writes of a copyright infringement lawsuit that Gruelle had to bring against a dollmaker.  The Philadelphia dollmaker marketed her dolls as "Official Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls" without the consent of Gruelle.  Gruelle won the case eventually.

It wasn't until well after Gruelle's death in 1938, that the licensed figures could be used in a variety of kit quilts, mostly in the 1970s and beyond:


Stay tuned for our next installment!

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. While all my friends wanted Barbie dolls for Christmas, I asked for and got Raggedy Ann and Andy. I am probably one of very few girls that never wanted or had a Barbie doll.

  2. I NEVER had nor wanted a Barbie doll either. Too bad Disney never followed Gruelle's choice for no nasty stuff in the stories. That is one of the things I don't like about those stories that they have: witches, dragons, evil folk... At one time I had inherited an Uncle Wiggily story book, the (complete?) set of Oz books, etc. but flooding of the basement may have caused their loss. I do not know. It was so heartbreaking when we were moving to find that treasures along that side had gotten damaged I could not bear to look in at what I had lost.