Jacob Klein Bakery and General Store39.770801, -86.143750

Johnny Gruelle

Now a residence available for overnight rental, the former Jacob Klein Bakery and General Store served as inspiration for author Johnny Gruelle who grew up just across the street.

Author

Johnny Gruelle
b. 1880 – d. 1938

Literary Inspiration

“Raggedy Ann and the Kittens”

Published 1918

Location

234 North Davidson Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202

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Excerpt

From

“Raggedy Ann and the Kittens” in Raggedy Ann Stories 


Johnny Gruelle

Raggedy Ann had been away all day.

Marcella had come early in the morning and dressed all the dolls and placed them about the nursery.

Some of the dolls had been put in the little red chairs around the little doll table. There was nothing to eat upon the table except a turkey, a fried egg and an apple, all made of plaster of paris and painted in natural colors. The little teapot and other doll dishes were empty, but Marcella had told them to enjoy their dinner while she was away.

The French dolly had been given a seat upon the doll sofa and Uncle Clem had been placed at the piano.

Marcella picked up Raggedy Ann and carried her out of the nursery when she left, telling the dolls to “be real good children, while Mamma is away!”

When the door closed, the tin soldier winked at the Dutch-boy doll and handed the imitation turkey to the penny dolls. “Have some nice turkey?” he asked.

“No thank you!” the penny dolls said in little penny-doll, squeaky voices, “We have had all we can eat!”

“Shall I play you a tune?” asked Uncle Clem of the French doll.

At this all the dolls laughed, for Uncle Clem could not begin to play any tune. Raggedy Ann was the only doll who had ever taken lessons, and she could play Peter-Peter-Pumpkin-Eater with one hand.

In fact, Marcella had almost worn out Raggedy Ann’s right hand teaching it to her.

“Play something lively!” said the French doll, as she giggled behind her hand, so Uncle Clem began hammering the eight keys on the toy piano with all his might until a noise was heard upon the stairs.

Quick as a wink, all the dolls took the same positions in which they had been placed by Marcella, for they did not wish really truly people to know that they could move about.

NOTES

The first Raggedy Ann book was published in 1918. While not the first doll to rise to stardom through children’s literature (Pinocchio was published in 1883 and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King even earlier in 1816), she is an important member of a huge cast of famous toys who have danced their way through children’s hearts. The Velveteen Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh, Paddington Bear and Corduroy all came well after Raggedy Ann. When I was a child, I was obsessed with stories about dolls and devoured such tales as The Best-Loved Doll, The Dollhouse Murders and The Story of Holly and Ivy. Luckily, I had a wonderful children’s librarian at the old Brown Branch Library on Indianapolis’s east side, and Nancy Mobley kept me in doll books. Her dedication to my reading is why I’m a children’s librarian today, and just like her, I love to suggest books about dolls to my young patrons. Doll books are just as popular today as they were back in 1918, and newer titles to seek out include The Doll People, Doll Bones and The Dollmaker of Krakow.

—Suzanne Walker, Indiana Young Readers Center Librarian
Director, Indiana Center for the Book
Indiana State Library

Johnny Gruelle grew up in Indianapolis and is best known as the creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy. Gruelle began his career as a cartoonist, working for a number of Indianapolis newspapers before moving east in 1907. Reportedly inspired by a rag doll that he found on a return visit to his parents’ east-side Indianapolis home, Gruelle created and patented the Raggedy Ann doll in 1915. Three years later the P. F. Volland Company published Raggedy Ann Stories, and over the next 20 years Gruelle continued to pen a series of popular books featuring the beloved Ann and her brother Andy. 

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Deeper

Jacob Klein Bakery and General Store

(Now a private residence)

234 North Davidson Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202

 

Closest IndyGo Stops:

College Avenue & New York Street (Routes 11 & 21)

New York Street & College Avenue (Route 3)

 

How to Plan a Trip on IndyGo:  

  • Use the Trip Planner on IndyGo.net 
  • Use Google Maps (select “transit” as your travel method) 
  • Call IndyGo Customer Service at 317-635-3344 
  • Track your bus using the MyStop Mobile App 
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Bookmark Indy Toy Workshop

August 21, 2021 | 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | 234 North Davidson Street

Hoosier kids in grades K-3 are invited to the Bookmark Indy Toy Workshop! Join us at the former Jacob Klein Bakery and General Store located in the historic Lockerbie Square neighborhood near downtown Indy. Together with Suzanne Walker of the Indiana Young Readers Center, we’ll learn about Johnny Gruelle, creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy, and about the history of the bakery and general store. We’ll experience some Raggedy Ann stories and have the opportunity to create our very own toys. Registration for this event will open on July 1.

Partner: Indiana Young Readers Center at the Indiana State Library

The former Jacob Klein Bakery and General Store is now a home available for rent on Vrbo.

Report Back.

Read the location passage. What questions would you ask the author? What would help you understand the author's viewpoint?

Added TEXTure.

Writing is about more than just words. Look around to discover what textures are most prevalent in this place. Do a texture rubbing using a piece of paper and a crayon or pencil.

In the Margins.

What inspires you most about this place? Draw a quick doodle of it in the margin of one of your books.

Found sound.

Walk around the location and record the sounds of surroundings. Did what you hear depend on what time you visited?

Backward / Forward.

Cities change—what did your location look like in 1920? What will it look like in 2120?

Footnotes.

Find another perspective by walking to a different spot around this location. Do you notice anything new? Which of your five senses notices a change first?

Strike a Prose.

Write a short passage describing how this place inspires you.

Love Letter / BreakUp Letter.

Think about your relationship with the place you’re visiting or perhaps with your own neighborhood. Is it time to commit? Or time to let go? Write a letter as if you’re speaking directly to the place you have in mind.

Field Notes.

Explore your stream of consciousness by writing down every thought that enters your mind.