The time is about 1917. Smallpox rears its ugly face and mass inoculation follows on its heels. It is customary, at this time, to inoculate all children in schools against the dreaded disease. Obtaining consent from the parents before inoculating the child is not customary. Children are routinely inoculated, at school, several times for the same disease without parents giving consent or being advised of the inoculations.
Marcella Gruelle is the young daughter of Johnny Gruelle; a successful writer and illustrator employed by a magazine entitled Physical Culture. Marcella has been inoculated at school. She loses her appetite, becomes feverish and fatigued. Her parents do not consent to more inoculations, yet more are given. Marcella’s health continues to decline. She loses her muscle control, becoming listless and lifeless like a rag doll.
Marcella dies a slow and painful death. Seven leading physicians are called upon to opine about the cause of her death. Six consented it is the result of vaccine induced poisoning and call it malpractice. The seventh, being the head of the school board and an supporter of vaccination, declines to comment.
Soon after his daughter’s death, Johnny is asked to create an illustration to accompany an article, “Vaccines Killed My Two Sisters.” The cartoon is a clever and effective work, reflective of Johnny’s style which is familiar to the readers of the magazine. However, they are not prepared for the note which Mr. Gruelle encloses with his single drawing. It reads:
“Having recently lost our only daughter through Vaccination (in public school, without our consent) you may realize how terribly HUMOROUS the subject of vaccination appears to Mrs. Gruelle and myself. Of the seven physicians called in on the case, six pronounced it in emphatic terms MALPRACTICE. The seventh did not commit himself, being the head of the school board and a firm advocate of vaccination.”
Marcella’s death was devastating to Johnny Gruelle, who then became a proponent of the “anti-vaccination” movement of the time. According to Johnny’s wife, Myrtle Gruelle, Johnny was working on perfecting Raggedy Ann before the tragic death of Marcella. His patent of the Raggedy Ann character was granted around the same time as his daughter’s death.
“Like a rag doll,” is a phrase commonly used to evoke the image of a being, listless and lifeless. Mr. and Mrs. Gruelle lost their only daughter to repeated vaccination, for which they did not grant their consent. Ironically, Raggedy Ann represents the Gruelle’s own languid and lifeless daughter before she died. While surely not his original idea behind the doll, I don’t think Johnny would mind knowing that his beloved child’s toy has come to symbolize nearly a century of childhood vaccine injuries and deaths.
In 1920, Midwest retail giant, Marshal Field, marketed Raggedy Ann. When we were children, we cuddled our sweet, little dollies at bedtime. Were we preparing ourselves for a time when we might hold our own, vaccine-injured children like rag dolls in our arms?
Mandatory vaccination makes informed consent superfluous! What good is it to KNOW the risks if there is no right to REFUSE THE RISKS?
Support conscientious exemption from state-mandated vaccines.