History & Development of the Ragdoll Breed

Tribute to Blanche Herman


While attending a cat show in Illinois in 1972, Blanche Herman saw her first Ragdoll. During the show, she came across a Cats Magazine with an advertisement for Ragdolls. No one at the show had ever seen a live Ragdoll. In early 1973, she contacted the lady that had placed the ad and made arrangements to fly to California to meet her. The lady’s name was Ann Baker, the creator of the breed. Ann sold Blanche a breeding pair – a blue mitted male named Bam Bam and a seal mitted female named Peebles.  Not long after this Blanche bought 4 more Ragdolls and her Ragtime cattery was on its way.

It took only a few years for Blanche to learn what others before her had learned, that working with Ann was no easy endeavor. She had learned about a new club called the Ragdoll Fanciers Club that had been formed by Denny & Laura Dayton for the purpose of advancing the Ragdoll breed. She contacted Denny Dayton and flew out to California to meet him and his wife Laura.

Arriving at the Daytons and talking to them and other members of the RFC, Blanche realized this was where the future of the Ragdolls lay. She soon joined the RFC and began working with others within the club to gain acceptance of the Ragdolls in all Cat Associations. She worked tirelessly attending the various Cat Associations’ Annual Meetings to push for the acceptance of the Ragdolls for Championship status. She was instrumental in helping others to get the Ragdolls accepted for Championship status in TICA, ACFA, & ACA.

As a member of RFC, Blanche would serve 4 years as Secretary-Treasurer and also serve as Ragdoll Breed Chair for 4 years. Starting in 1974, she began an unrelenting drive to get the Ragdolls accepted in CFA. She exhibited her Ragdolls in the the ChIcago area from 1974-1981.  In 1980, RFC decided that the time was right to approach CFA for acceptance for the Ragdolls. Blanche met Denny and several other breeders in Philadelphia in Oct 1981 to make the presentation to the CFA Board. While the attempt failed at that time, the effort she had put forth to getting the Ragdolls accepted in CFA would eventually prevail.

Blanche loved to show her Ragdolls.  Like Denny before her she saw that if the Ragdolls were going to succeed as a breed, they needed to be out where people could see them and ask questions of the breeders showing them. In 1984, her huge Ragdoll Bartholomew was featured in the Guiness book of World Records as one of the largest breed of domestic cats. In 1986, her Ragdoll Perrywinkle a seal mitted Alter took Best Altered Interamerican Ragdoll in ACFA.

In the mid 1980’s Blanche retired from breeding.  She retired to a townhouse in Schererville, Indiana, where she lived with her Ragdolls until the time of her death. She was a wonderful lady who loved the Ragdolls with a passion not often seen. She was always available to talk to anyone who called her to talk about the Ragdoll breed. She is gone, but not forgotten.  Her memory will live on within the Ragdoll community.