Saturday, April 4, 2009

Can't Get Enough

While I was looking for the complete "Little Orphant Annie" I found something amazing! She was a real person, who inspired Mr. Riley to write the poem. If you can stand to read 19th century writing without getting bored (good for you!), read what he has to say about Mary Alice Smith. Just click on her photo. "Allie" as the children called her, lived with the Riley family, having been dropped off by her uncle. She was none too keen on that uncle or his wife!
read the poem
Right before "Jim" (Alice's name for Riley) died, he initiated an extensive search for Orphant Annie, advertising in the newspaper. Her daughter saw the advertisement and they were reunited.

Evidently, because of reading James Whitcomb Riley's poems, Little Orphant Annie and
The Raggedy Man, author JohnnyGruelle named his daughter's homemade doll---Raggedy Ann!

I read in Wikipedia that Mary Alice Smith was also the inspiration for Little Orphan Annie but that seems like a stretch to me. Maybe just the name...

click here to read her obituary
The name Hoosier makes me want to spit!

1 comment:

  1. Ellie -

    I can tell you with certainty that Mary Alice Smith was "Little Orphant Annie." I found your Blog while doing a search on Mary Alice and Annie.

    Originally, the poem was entitled "The Elf Child" and it read, "Little Orphant Allie's come to our house to stay." "Allie" was short for "Alice." As you have mentioned, Riley did an exstensive search for Mary Alice, and only located her when they were both in their late sixties. I have been to the Indiana Historical Society and looked at the letter that Mary Alice wrote in response to Riley's search. Since Riley had already suffered a stroke, he was not in good health, and could not make the trip to visit her. In his stead he sent his nephew, Edmund Eitel, who wrote about his encounter in the Ladies Home Journal. In this article - Eitel refers to her as the inspiration for "Little Orphan Annie."

    If you would like to read a detailed account of Mary Alice's arrival at the Riley Home in Greenfield, please check out his prose poem entitled, "Where is Mary Alice Smith." It is a very interesting read - and not as well known as "Little Orphant Annie."

    Brigette Jones