American Girls

samanthaMy 22-year-old daughter and I were looking through the latest American kirsten1Girl doll catalog this weekend and started getting nostalgic. Back in the early 1990s — about 15 years ago — when we lived in Athens, Tennessee, she and her now 24-year-old sister loved these dolls. Me, too. Every birthday and Christmas we added to our collection with clothes, accessories, books and furniture. I even made some of the doll clothes and — I’m embarrassed to admit this, but it’s true — on a few occasions we were a complete mother-daughters-dolls matching set. Ouch. But we had fun. Among the three of us, we had the original three dolls: Kristen, the pioneer girl; Samantha, the Victorian girl; and Molly, the World War II girl. We then added Felicity, the Colonial girl; and Addy, who escaped slavery with molly1her mother. Almost all of our friends in Athens had them, too, and we’d have lovely tea parties with girls and dolls. Wonderful, wonderful memories. But the girls got older and gradually put away “childish” things. When we moved to north Alabama in 1995, the dolls stayed packed up and I’ve only sort of peripherally kept up with new American Girl dolls and the shifting emphasis from historical characters to contemporary Just-Like-You dolls. But when I noticed this past Christmas that the newest doll is Depression-era Kit Kittredge whose date is 1934, I knew she’d be perfect for my mom, who was born that year. The doll even looks like my mom, and Kit’s clothes and accessories seem straight from my mom’s Illinois childhood. My daughters and I are having fun getting back into American Girl collecting. I can’t wait until I have granddaughters to buy for, too. We’re sad beyond belief, however, to hear that Mattel — which owns the company now — is retiring Samantha. That’s a shame. Seems as if learning from the past is more important than ever. So long, Samantha. Thanks for being such a vital part of my daughters’ childhood. We’ll miss you. Click here to read more Samantha farewells:

4 thoughts on “American Girls

  1. My 8-year-old has been asking for an American Girl doll. This post is a good reminder for Santa. Do you have pics of the tea parties you can post?

  2. Ginny — Oh, you’ve got to get an American Girl doll for your daughter. She will love it, I promise! And, you know, all of those photos are from those long-ago “film” days and the pics are in my overflowing organize-someday boxes. It’s good motivation now to get in there and bring those memories into the 21st century.

  3. We were very sad also to hear that Samantha is being retired. Although the AG Dolls are expensive, the do provide some historical context and have books to help girls cope with growing up.

  4. So true. When I look back, I’m amazed at how much history my daughters learned through these dolls.

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