American girl doll 2008

— — One young collector loves American Girl dolls so much she has filled her entire bedroom with them.

Annabella Koen, an 11-year-old from New York City, has been collecting American Girl dolls since she was 2.

Now, she said she has “about 31” dolls in her family’s New York apartment, but said there were more at the family’s Long Island beach house, where the dolls have their own room.

“So 34 to 35, something like that,” she said.

She also collects all the accessories that come with them, including doll purses, beds, stuffed animal pets, clothes, shoes, hats, make-up kits and more.

“This is Mary Grace and Cecile’s banquet table,” she said, pointing out each item. “It has punch bowls and treats and stuff like that and big old cakes and this is their table that came from outside on their porch.”

Annabella is an only child and a lot of the dolls and their accessories have been gifts from aunts, grandparents and other relatives over the years. She said prefers American Girl dolls over other dolls like Barbie, which is also manufactured by Mattel Inc., the toy company that owns the American Girl brand.

Barbie doll sales have actually been declining in recent years, down 13 percent last year, according to a 2014 Mattel report. American Girl doll sales rose 3 percent during the same period.

“I never really liked Barbie dolls because they’re so tiny. You can’t really play with the different little pieces,” she said. “I would always step on them.”

When asked whether she knew how much all her American Girl doll items cost, Annabella wasn’t sure.

“I’m bad at math,” she said. “Probably thousands and thousands of dollars.”

Since they debuted 30 years ago, American Girl dolls have grown into an empire worth millions. Mattel said it made $620 million in American Girl doll sales last year alone.

The New York City store, American Girl Place, even includes a restaurant where customers can take their dolls to tea time and a salon where dolls can get their hair done. The companyalso offers a “Doll Hospital” at its Wisconsin headquarters, where customers can send their dolls to be fixed and cleaned up.

The dolls are marketed like a collector’s item, and each year the company releases a limited edition doll with her own accessories, available for only one year.

The problem for parents: They don’t always make enough to meet the demand, and entrepreneurs buy up coveted items quickly to resell them online.

This year, the featured doll is named Grace, a girl from Paris who is trying to save her grandparents’ bakery. She comes with a French bakery set, which is already being scalped on eBay for as much as $4,900.

Annabella already has Grace’s coveted French bakery, and she loves setting up her dolls, brushing their hair, changing their clothes and sharing them with her friends.

“A lot of this is super, super girly,” she said. “I don’t think a boy would want to come near it.”

Plenty of ‘80s and ‘90s kids would agree: American Girl dolls were (and are) the best.

They had elaborate outfits for every occasion, they came with adorable, miniature accessories and each doll had an exciting and historically accurate backstory. Flipping through the American Girl catalogue, at one point the only place to buy the dolls, was basically heaven.

This Addy doll recently sold for $249.eBay

Some ‘90s toys have plummeted in value since the height of their craze (see: most Beanie Babies), but American Girl dolls are an exception. Many of the older models can still fetch hundreds or even thousands of dollars on eBay, depending on the type and condition.

Take Samantha Parkington, one of the original dolls released in 1986, along with Kirsten Larson and Molly McIntire.

One Samantha doll with her original outfit and accessories recently sold on eBay for $400.

This Samantha doll recently sold for $400. eBay

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A Molly doll also recently sold for $1,200 on eBay, and a Kirsten doll with outfits and accessories recently fetched $540.

The classic, 18-inch American Girl dolls were made by the Pleasant Company until Mattel bought the company in 1998. Dolls made by the Pleasant Company in the pre-Mattel years often command high values, says antiques appraiser Dr. Lori Verderame.

An eBay seller is asking $342 for this vintage Kirsten doll. eBay

“An original Samantha doll made by the Pleasant Company commands $4,000 in excellent condition with outfits and ‘meet’ accessories,” Verderame told TODAY Home via email. (‘Meet’ accessories are the ones that came with the doll when purchased.)

However, Mattel-made dolls can also command high values. It really depends on the doll and factors including age, the accessories included, and the condition of the doll’s hair and other parts, Verderame says.

Savannah and Hoda get their very own Barbie dolls

Nov. 12, 201802:14

Packaging is also important, says vintage lifestyle expert Bob Richter.

“Some of the discontinued dolls from the ‘90s can sell for thousands of dollars,” Richter told TODAY Home in an email. “That said, original packaging and condition are everything. What might sell for over $2,000 if it’s in good condition with original packaging might only sell for $100 if it’s in fair condition without packaging.”

A rare Kirsten doll in the original box, signed by the founder of the Pleasant Company, recently sold on eBay for $1,395 and a Felicity doll with accessories recently went for $567.

“The cool thing is that many of the young women who collected these dolls were pretty serious about it and they likely save the packaging, so there might actually be a lot of cash in the attic or basement,” Richter said.

This vintage Molly McIntire doll is on sale on eBay for $1,500. eBay

There has been an increasing demand for American Girl dolls recently, Verderame says. Interest in the dolls often mirrors people’s overall interest in different historical eras, since each doll has a historically accurate backstory.

“In the last two years there has been a rise in collectible values for American girl dolls,” Verderame told TODAY. “American girl dolls reference particular eras in history and that drives the market. Collectors also look for dolls that parallel their own history, look like themselves, and are character dolls that come from the same lineage or location like Kirsten (from Scandinavia) or Molly (World War II).”

This Felicity doll with accessories is going for $159 on eBay.eBay

Nostalgia may also be driving the demand, Richter says. After all, the kids who played with the original American Girl dolls are in their 20s and 30s now, and for many, the dolls spark special childhood memories.

(Millennials) have a very deep interest in things that have emotional value,” Richter said. “These American Girl Dolls have both emotional value and financial value … So they are the perfect thing for millennials to be on the lookout for (at) flea markets and yard sales.”

Basically, there are probably plenty of people who would love to buy your old American Girl dolls. But the question is, can you bear to part with them?

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This post, 6 American Girl Doll Hair Hacks has been sponsored by American Girl Doll. They provided a sample doll for review purposes. Al opinions are my own.

If you own an American Girl Doll, you know how they are made up of very specific details. Each doll’s hair is incredibly unique, so while some have curls and waves other have smooth and straight hair. Hair styles vary as well. There are many long haired dolls and of course ones with bob cuts like Kit. Whichever doll or dolls you have, you want to be sure you take care of their hair. This tends to be the part most children focus on when playing or dressing their doll, so it is important you give it proper attention so the doll will last a long time. When the 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela McBride arrived and I saw those gorgeous curls, I knew it was time to remind my daughter about how to care for an American Girl Doll’s hair.

As mentioned I recently had the chance to review American Girl Doll’s 2017 Doll of the Year. Her name is Gabriela McBride, and she is American Girl’s first African American Girl of the Year! Let me tell you a little bit about Gabriela: She is a poet and dancer and LOVES to perform. This is quite an accomplishment considering her story features her struggle with a speech impediment. I love how American Girl works so hard to create real girls living in real world situations girls today face!


Gabriela comes with her storybook, jeggings, and her signature purple DREAM sweater. She also comes with her adorable tennis shoes, and hair ties to help pull her hair up or hold it back. She is quite active, remember? Her clothing is so sweet, so colorful, and perfect for a girl on the go. She holds a sportier look, which seems to resonate with so many young ladies these days.

Does your child love American Girl Dolls? See my post on How American Girl Dolls Promote Self Esteem in Girls.

Additional accessories you can snag for Gabriela includes her beat box gym bag, numerous outfit changes, her pet cat, her show time kit, or even her tap shoes. If you know a young lady who loves to express her artistic side, she will surely be able to relate to Gabriela McBride. If your girl is more athletic or competitive, she can relate to the dancer side of Gabriela.

Want to see what you can expect at your American Girl Doll Place visit? Check out my list of 10 Free Things to Enjoy at American Girl Place.

You can’t help but notice Gabriela’s gorgeous curls. So let’s get onto the subject of how to take care of your American Girl Doll’s hair. You want to be sure you take good care of these gorgeous locks, so they don’t become damaged or require repair. Here are 6 American Girl Doll Hair Hacks to get you started:

American Girl Doll Hair Hacks: How to Take Care of American Girl Doll Hair

1. Never apply heat to the hair.
You should never use a curling iron, straight iron, or hair dryer on your American Girl Doll. Heat will damage and possibly burn the doll’s hair. If you wish for curls, you can use a little water and sponge rollers. Always allow the doll’s hair to air dry.
2. Only use the American Girl Doll hair brushes or hair picks.
The brushes and picks sold through American Girl are specially designed for the dolls. If your doll has straight hair, the wire brush is perfect. If your doll has curlier hair, you want to opt for the pick instead. Never use your own brushes on their hair, as it could remove it from the base of the head.

3. Never shampoo the hair.
If your doll’s hair gets dirty, never shampoo it. Beauty and styling products can build up on the hair making it dull and unmanageable. If the hair gets dirty, spot treat the areas with a spray bottle and soft cloth. If you need to renew the shine, you can add a small drop of conditioner to the water prior to spraying.

4. Keep a misting bottle on hand for tangles.
A misting bottle isn’t just great for treating dirty spots in the hair (see above) but you can also use them to loosen up tangles. Use a bottle that offers a super fine mist, and not anything that will drench the doll or spray without much control. A misting bottle is also nice for when styling the hair in general as it can smooth out buns and ponytails nicely.

5. Comb out knots in sections.
Should your doll get knots, don’t get forceful with them. Instead, comb or pick out the knots one small section at a time. Hold the hair at the base of the head so you can control how hard you pull. Otherwise, you risk being too rough and pulling out hair.

6. Never use rubber bands in your doll’s hair.
You never want to use rubber bands in your doll’s hair, as they can quickly get stuck and create knots. Only use real hair ties, which are often fabric coated and slide through hair easily. Use hair accessories designed for children only, as you know they will be gentle on your doll’s head too.

For younger girls, why not consider Wellie Wishers? Check out my Wellie Wishers Review or learn more about our Wellie Wisher Doll Willa.

American Girl Doll’s 2017 Girl of the Year is a beauty and I am so happy to add her to our collection. Learn more about Gabriela McBride here and see how you can order one for a special young lady in your life!

Our Company

At American Girl, we believe character is everything.

For over 30 years, we’ve been a trusted partner for parents who want to raise their girls with confidence and character. Through the joy of play and the wonder of a great book, we help girls discover their sense of self with timeless stories and memorable characters who instill important values like honesty, courage, kindness, and compassion. These values help shape who our girls will become. Together with parents, we’re inspiring a new generation to write their own history and create the world we all want to live in.

American Girl’s product lines include the following:

  • Introduced in 1986, American Girl’s flagship historical line features 18-inch dolls, books, and accessories that teach girls ages 8 and up important lessons about our country’s history and the role of women and girls in shaping our country. The line currently features 11 characters and stories that span over 200 years, from 1764 to 1974.

  • American Girl magazine was introduced in 1992 and is the company’s very first contemporary offering that affirms self-esteem, celebrates achievements, and fosters creativity in today’s girls. The award-winning magazine ranks among the top ten children’s magazines in the nation and is the largest magazine dedicated exclusively to girls.

  • In 1995, the company debuted a contemporary 18-inch doll line that has since evolved into Truly Me™. The line encourages a girl to express, explore, and discover who she is right now—to find the confidence to be her true self.

  • Bitty Baby™, a line of huggable baby dolls, was also introduced in 1995 to help teach younger girls ages 3-6 important life skills like caring and nurturing.

  • In 2001, American Girl introduced Girl of the Year™, that gives voice to a diverse range of personalities and backgrounds through inspiring characters that offer girls a broader worldview and help teach acceptance.

  • In 2016, the company launched WellieWishers™, a line of 14 ½-inch character dolls, early chapter books, and accessories for girls ages 5-7 that teach kindness and empathy. The WellieWishers stories are further brought to life via an original animated series.

American Girl products are marketed and distributed through the company’s award-winning catalogue; on its website, americangirl.com; in its proprietary U.S. experiential retail stores, as well as at select specialty retailers in Canada and the UAE. The American Girl books are also available through retail and online booksellers. Since 1998, American Girl has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel.

The Historical Characters, often abbreviated “Historicals” by fans, refers to the flagship American Girl doll collection that focuses on the lives of various historical characters through United States History. Previously known as The American Girls Collection, the line was rebranded in 2014 as BeForever which was dropped in 2019 with the name of the line reverted back to Historical Characters (while still keeping many changes implemented from BeForever).

This product line was originally the sole focus of the American Girl company and includes the first dolls and characters released.

Inspiration

Pleasant Rowland gave two reasons for her initial creation of the line. One reason was to provide a doll the same age as the child who would be playing with it and present it as a friend rather than a baby to take care of or an adult to be like in the future, as at the time there were few long-term doll lines that focused on a girl at the ages of eight to ten; most popular dolls were marketed as either babies to care for, fashion, or adult- or teenagehood to later aspire to. The other reason was to offer a chance to teach history to children using the method of a character near their age, offering a smaller personal focus for largely arching historical time periods and giving a personal focus from a character whom they could relate to.

History of the Line

The full lineup of all Historical Characters (with archived characters included) by 2012.

The Historical Collection–and Pleasant Company itself–launched in 1986 with the release of Kirsten Larson, Samantha Parkington, and Molly McIntire. The dolls were released with small collections: the dolls themselves, meet accessories, school clothing and accessories, holiday clothing and dolls, and the first three books of each’s Central Series, with the Meet Books coming bundled with the doll. The dolls had been developed by Gotz. As the line expanded, extra clothing, furniture, and storage trunks were released.

In 1990, while Felicity Merriman was still in design, a radical change was made in the body of the dolls. Previously, the dolls had white muslin bodies; all clothes were designed to cover up the body with high necks and full bodies, which was historically accurate for the time. Due to the low neckline of historical colonial outfits, Felicity could not have a white muslin body as it would destroy the doll’s aesthetics and the image of the body being flesh. The original three dolls were given skin-tone matching bodies, and in the following Fall of 1991, Felicity, with a skin-tone matching body, was added to the collection along with her first three books and related accessories. This led to all future dolls having bodies that were much closer to the doll’s given skin tone. Felicity’s last three books and complementing accessories came out in spring 1992.

In Fall 1993, Addy Walker was added to the collection along with her first three books. Her being African-American required a new face mold, the Addy Mold. Her last three books and complementing accessories came out in spring 1994.

In Fall 1997, Josefina Montoya was added to the collection along with her first three books. She was given a new mold as well, the Josefina Mold. Her last three books and complementing accessories came out in spring 1998. This was the last Historical Character designed predominantly by Pleasant Company, as Mattel purchased the company in 1998.

In Fall 2000 (soon after the full purchase by Mattel), Kit Kittredge was added to the collection along with her first three books and associated accessories. Her last three books and complementing accessories came out in Spring of 2001.

In Fall 2002, Kaya’aton’my was added to the collection along with all her books and several complementing accessories; because of the Nimipuu cultural trait of generally not baring teeth, the Kaya Mold was made.

In Fall 2007, Julie Albright was released with all her books and several items in her collection. She was also released with her companion doll, Ivy Ling. Her birthday and summer sets were released in Spring 2008.

In Fall 2008, American Girl announced that they would “archive” Samantha’s entire collection; she, Nellie O’Malley, and their collections would no longer be available for purchase with the exception of books, movie, and the Mini Dolls. Nellie and Samantha dolls, along with a majority of the collection, began to sell out by the beginning of December 2008.

In Spring 2009, Rebecca Rubin was released with all her books, and several aspects of her collection. At the same time, Samantha and Nellie were officially archived. In Fall 2009, American Girl announced that they would archive Kirsten’s entire collection; she and her collection would no longer be available for purchase with the exception of books and the Mini Dolls.

In 2010, Kirsten was officially archived. In Fall 2010, American Girl announced that they would archive Felicity’s entire collection; she, Elizabeth Cole, and their collections would no longer be available for purchase with the exception of books, movie, and the Mini Dolls.

In Spring 2011, Felicity and Elizabeth were officially archived. In Summer 2011, two new Historical Characters, Marie-Grace Gardner and Cécile Rey, were made available for pre-order on the official website and later released with all their books and several items in their collections.

In Fall 2012, a new Historical Character, Caroline Abbott, was released and made available for purchase along with her books, some clothing, accessories, and furniture.

In Summer 2013 American Girl announced that they would archive Molly’s entire collection; she, Emily Bennett, and their collections would become unavailable for purchase with the exception of books, movie, and the two Mini Dolls (which have since been retired).

In early 2014, it was announced that Samantha would be rereleased, and information began to be officially released for the BeForever rebranding. Later, it was separately announced that Cécile and Marie-Grace would be retired, along with the remaining best friends, Ivy and Ruthie Smithens.

In Spring 2015, American Girl announced that they would archive Caroline’s entire collection; she and her collection would no longer be available for purchase with the exception of books and the mini doll. They later announced the release of Maryellen Larkin, who was released August 2015.

In 2016, American Girl released Melody Ellison’s first book, No Ordinary Sound. Her other books were released in June, and the rest of her collection including the doll in August 2016.

In 2017, Felicity was rereleased and Nanea Mitchell was announced. Nanea and her collection were released in August 2017.

In 2019, the line reverted back to to “Historical Characters” and revised, abridged Central Series books were released with illustrations returning. The first six characters revamped were Kaya, Rebecca, Nanea, Maryellen, Melody, and Julie; however, all characters received new era-unique logos with their name and year focus..

BeForever

The Historical Characters at the BeForever relaunch.

See: BeForever

In early 2014, information was seen on the American Girl Publishing site that showed the rebranding of the Historical Characters as “BeForever.” Early 2014, American Girl’s official Facebook page announced the rerelease of Samantha; later, the announcement came of the rebranding of the remaining Historical Characters under the concept of BeForever. The rebranding is an attempt to make Historical characters again relevant to new generations of young girls. This is both by tying the characters to the ways that girls have remained the same through history and had the same feelings and ideas, and to market the characters as companions. BeForever was launched August 28th, 2014.

Original Meet Outfits for Addy, Samantha, Julie, Rebecca, Kit and Josefina were retired and replaced with new versions. The Central Series books was rebundled into two volumes that contained three of each book; all illustrations other than the cover images were removed. Characters also received My Journey Books, books stylized like a “choose your own adventure” book set in the time of the characters.

Maryellen Larkin, Melody Ellison, and Nanea Mitchell were initially launched within the BeForever format.

BeForever was removed as a branding for Historicals officially on October 1, 2019.

Historical Characters

  • Kaya’aton’my, representing Native America in a region prior to larger European-centered settlement (specifically, the Nimipuu tribe of the Pacific Northwest)
  • Felicity Merriman, representing Colonial America at the dawn of the Revolutionary War
  • Caroline Abbott, representing the War of 1812
  • Josefina Montoya, representing Southwest America under Mexican rule
  • Cécile Rey and Marie-Grace Gardner, representing New Orleans in the antebellum and during the 1853 yellow fever epidemic
  • Kirsten Larson, representing mid-century settlement of the American “West” by European immigrants and pioneers
  • Addy Walker, representing the tail end of the Civil War era and early Reconstruction Era
  • Samantha Parkington, representing turn-of-the-century America and the American Progressive Era
  • Rebecca Rubin, representing early twentieth century immigration to America from Eastern Europe and events leading to World War I
  • Kit Kittredge, representing the American Great Depression era
  • Nanea Mitchell, representing the World War II era from the Pearl Harbor bombing and America’s official entry into the war
  • Molly McIntire, representing the tail end of the World War II era
  • Maryellen Larkin, representing the Cold War and Postwar Baby Boom eras during the 1950s
  • Melody Ellison, representing the African-American civil rights movement of the 1960s
  • Julie Albright, representing the upheaval and changes of American society during the mid 1970s

See also

  • Best Friend Characters, companions to select characters
  • Historical Collections, the collections and items for Historical characters
  • Central Series, the books telling the stories of the characters
  • Short Stories, smaller stories for the first eight characters
  • Historical Character Mysteries, novel-length mysteries for characters
  • BeForever, the branding of the line from 2014 to 2019
  • My Journey Books, game books with a protagonist exploring a historical character’s era
  1. Molly did not initially receive a new logo.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Initially a BeForever Exclusive.

These beloved dolls taught us about the lives of girls like ourselves throughout American history

If you grew up a girl in the 1990s as I did, you probably know a thing or two about American Girl. If you were like me, you likely knew which character you were (Kirsten), which character you wanted to be (Samantha), and more about American History than it was cool to admit to. We learned about everything from a proper colonial tea party to embroidery to planting a victory garden. Included in these lessons, we also got learn about the struggles of being a girl, in any and every time period. For me, American Girl was a refreshing step away from the more superficial world of Barbie, and for that I will be forever grateful. If you weren’t fortunate enough to grow up in that era, allow me to introduce you to some of the girls and give you a little backstory on the brand and what its evolved to today.

American Girl came from humble beginnings when former educator and text book writer Pleasant Rowland came up with the idea after a trip to Colonial Williamsburg. She had noticed that there was a significant void in the toy market for younger aged dolls and wondered why there weren’t many that were the same age as the girls playing with them. She saw an opportunity to provide an alternative to baby and adult dolls and teach some history at the same time by including books and corresponding accessories about each girl and her era in history. In 1986, she founded the Pleasant Company and started manufacturing the dolls, books, and accessories. Despite poor initial reactions to her idea, Pleasant Company was immediately successful, and in 1998 she sold the company to Mattel for $700 million.

Before we get too far into the current state of the brand, let’s introduce you to the first few girls. (Or say hello to a few old friends, if you’ve previously met!)

Kirsten Larson

Kirsten was one of the original three dolls produced, along with Molly McIntire and Samantha Parkington. She was a Swedish immigrant in the 1850s, finding her way as a pioneer in the wild Minnesota Territory. It was a hard new life and she was initially unsure of the change, but she eventually learns to embrace both her heritage and her new country. She is described as crafty, responsible, and hardworking, if a little shy at first. Each doll was sold either alone or bundled with accessories now known as “meet accessories”, a nod to the titles of each first book in the series (Meet Kirsten, Meet Samantha, etc.). Kirsten came with her dress, pantalettes, apron, stockings, boots, and two hair ribbons to accent her signature looped braids. Her meet accessories included a bonnet, pocket for her apron, a wooden spoon, a heart shaped amber necklace, and a handkerchief.

Samantha Parkington

Samantha was the cool doll and everyone knew it. She was an orphan and adopted by her wealthy Grandmary, and we all wanted her long dark hair and fancy victorian clothes. (Side note: Although originally marketed as victorian and often labeled as such, she is actually from the era of social change right after the victorian era, starting around 1904.) She was a curious and imaginative girl and often challenged society’s notion of what a young lady should be and do. She was bold and sometimes defiant in this way, but also a kind and generous girl. Her doll came with a checked dress, bloomers, stockings, shoes, and large hair bow. Her meet accessories consisted of a hat, locket, purse, handkerchief, and Indian head penny.

Molly McIntire

Molly McIntire had the misfortune of being “the one with glasses.” She was not the most attractive doll, and in her books she had a tendency to fight with her siblings and be a little bossy. I don’t think I knew anyone exactly clamoring for a Molly doll. That said, she was also confident in her abilities, was very patriotic, and taught us to love our imperfections. She represents the 1940s and World War II era and comes to learn about empathy when a shy English girl, Emily Bennett, comes to stay with Molly and her family while the war rages through London. (Emily eventually got a doll treatment as well and is in the photo above.) The Molly doll came with a sweater, skirt, and blouse outfit, socks, shoes, and glasses. Her meet accessories were a beret, a purse, a handkerchief, a wartime steel penny, and a locket with a picture of her father to put in it.

Felicity Merriman

The original three dolls and their accessories were all that were produced until 1991 with the introduction of the young patriot Felicity Merriman. Spunky, cheerful, and fiercely independent, Felicity represented the era directly leading up to the Revolutionary War. Not a fan of domestic housework or ladylike activities, Felicity’s collection included accessories like her beloved horse Penny and a stable playset. Her doll included a rose embroidered gown, colonial undergarments, stockings, shoes, and a hair ribbon. Her meet accessories were a coral beaded necklace, cap, handkerchief, drawstring purse, bit (the most common coin in colonial Virginia), and garters.

Addy Walker

Addy Walker is the first non-white American Girl doll, and the mostly hotly debated given her back story includes escaping from slavery. Despite having such a tragic past, Addy remained optimistic, loving, and thoughtful and does her best to help anyone in need. A passionate proponent for equality and fairness and a gifted student, Addy taught us to be resilient and to fight for what’s right. Addy came with her dress, stockings, boots, bloomers, and hair ribbon. Her meet accessories included a straw bonnet, kerchief, gourd, half-dime, and shell necklace.

The Historical dolls went on to include a total of 18 characters, and even included one from the home of CompleteSet: Kit Kittredge from Cincinnati!

In more recent years, since the sale of the company, the focus of the brand has changed quite a bit. Entire collections of the historical dolls we grew up with and loved are out of production, a few being rebooted under the name BeForever. The focus is now on a line called Truly Me (renamed a few times since its inception in 1995), in which the buyer can choose from a wide variety of skin tones, face molds, hair cuts and colors, and accessories. While I applaud their dedication to being truly diverse and allowing any girl to have a doll just like herself, I can’t help but be sad to see the historical girls and all their adventures go by the way side.

Categories: Stories

— — American Girl’s girl of the year doll for 2016 is a talented photographer and animal lover named Lea Clark.

Lea is the newest doll in the specialty line, which produces dolls depicting girls of diverse backgrounds and interests. The doll was revealed Thursday on “Good Morning America.”

In a press release from the dollmaker, Lea is described as an adventurous 10-year-old girl who discovers a world of possibilities when she visits Brazil.

An action film based on Lea’s adventures will debut in the summer. Three books — “Lea Dives In,” “Lea Leads the Way” and “Lea and Camila” — will introduce readers to Lea’s escapades, including finding an injured animal and visiting her brother, Zac, who is studying the Amazon rain forest.

The books were written by author Lisa Yee.

To show girls that they can help protect animals and their habitats, American Girl created a yearlong fundraising campaign to support the World Wildlife Fund. Through its Wild at Art campaign, the dollmaker is urging girls to use their artistic abilities to host an art sale and donate the proceeds to the fund.

According to the press release, American Girl has made a $50,000 donation to the fund to launch the campaign and will give $1 to the fund — for a maximum of $100,000 — for every purchase of one of three plush animals in Lea’s collection.

American Girl will launch several other initiatives throughout the year designed around the story of the Lea doll, including a paid app as well as free and paid in-store events.

The doll will be available in stores starting Jan. 1.

Lea’s collection includes a doll, tropical-inspired outfits, accessories and toys. The items will be available for purchase through American Girl’s catalog, on the company’s website, all of its retail locations and its specialty boutiques.

The American Girl doll for 2015 was Grace Thomas, who was described by American Girl as an avid baker and aspiring entrepreneur.

The Grace doll retailed for $120.

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Deals for your American Girl Dolls for Sale at Costco

(You can also find current American Girl Doll deals going on elsewhere here)!

Costco is back with some great deals on American Girl items for American Girl doll fans this upcoming Christmas season. I found these items at my local Puyallup store, but selection may vary by store. If you do not see these items at your Costco store, keep checking back as they should be adding these items in the next week or two. There should definitely be a lot more items to come, too, these are just the early deals, but we always see more deals closer to late September/early October, so we will update when we see them in the stores (& let us know if you see them at your stores).

They also tend to sell out faster of some of the items, so if you don’t see them at your store, keep checking back as hopefully they will restock fairly often. Let us know which items you’ve found at your local Costco store.

It’s always hard to find ways to save on American Girl items, so I love that Costco has been offering discounts for a nice variety of American Girl products for the last few years. I think they will bring in more items than this, too, as the toy selection was still more limited right now.

American Girl Gift Guide:

Make sure to check out our American Girl Doll Gift Guide with lots of great ideas for the American Girl fan such as ways to save on American Girl dolls, accessories, furniture, clothes, books, movies & much more!!

American Girl at Costco::

American Girl 18″ Doll + Accessory Set – 3 choices – $119.99 – there are 3 dolls available at Costco (selection may vary based on your Costco location) but at my store there was a Tenney doll, Gabriela doll & Luciana doll.

American Girl Wellie Wishers Doll with Butterfly Backpack Set – $99.99

This is a set which includes a Wellie Wishers Doll, extra outfit and a butterfly backpack and accessories. These dolls are recommended for ages 5+. At the American Girl doll site, the doll costs $60, outfits at least $28 & this also includes the backpack & additional accessories, so it’s a great price!

American Girl Sets:

Wellie Wishers Baking Accessory Set – $59.99 (marked down to $44.99 at some Costcos)!

This set includes a milk & cookie set, holiday elf outfit, gingerbread house set, and aprons for the girl & doll.

Bity Baby Doll Sets on Sale – $79.99

American Girl Doll, Schools in Session Desk Set – $69.99

  • American Girl Gift Guide
  • Bike Seat (fits American Girl Dolls) $16.95
  • How To Make American Girl Doll Shoes / Sandals (No Sewing Required)!
  • DIY Duct Tape American Girl Doll Shoes!
  • American Girl Movies Roundup – Best Places to Buy or Rent the Movies!
  • How to Make an American Girl Doll Closet with Dollar Store Items
  • Tips to Save on American Girl Doll Accessories

5 Great Alternatives To American Girl Dolls

Although American Girl dolls are popular and well-made, there are many reasons why you may not want to purchase them for your child—ranging from their high price (with dolls starting at $130) to the fact that they’re “American” rather than “Canadian.” If you’re in the market for an 18-inch play doll, here are 5 alternatives to an American Girl doll, all readily available in Canada.

1) Maplelea Dolls, $99.99, Maplelea Website:

Premium dolls with Canadian heritage, the Maplelea girls come from six different regions in Canada—the Rockies, rural prairies, urban Ontario, the Maritimes, Quebec, and northern Canada. Each doll comes with a keepsake journal introducing the doll and sharing facts about Canadian geography and culture. While these dolls are almost as pricey as American Girl dolls, their high quality and craftsmanship help justify the price, and they’re definitely a more patriotic alternative!

Height: 18 inches.

2) Journey Girls, $39.99, Toys R Us:

The Journey Girls are six best friends who love to travel. They are beautifully made with very pretty faces and non-blinking eyes. They are slightly skinnier than American Girl dolls, so they will not fit into the same clothes.

Height: 18 inches.

3) Our Generation Dolls, $21, Target:

One of the most popular American Girl doll alternatives, these Target-exclusive dolls are very reasonably priced and come with a wide selection of outfits and accessories. While the overall doll quality is good, many reviewers complain that the hair gets tangled and matted quite easily.

Height: 18 inches.

4) Hearts for Hearts Girls, $33, Walmart/Canadian Tire/London Drugs:

Inspired by girls in different countries across the world, each doll comes with a story of how they want to help others around them. Not only do their stories encourage charitable work, $1 from the purchase price is donated to programs in that doll’s region! These multi-cultural beauties represent a variety of countries, including Ethiopia, India, Laos, and Belarus.

Height: 14 inches.

5) Springfield Collection Dolls, $22, Michaels:

This range includes five dolls with a variety of hair colours and skin tones. They’re very reasonably priced already, but with Micheals’ frequent coupon offers, you can get them for an additional 40% off! These dolls are the perfect present for younger children who like the look of American Girl/Maplelea Girl dolls, but may not be ready to handle them with the care they require.

Height: 18 inches

Which of these five options is your favourite? Although they’re slightly smaller than the rest, our family love the Hearts for Hearts doll—we’ve purchased several of them to give as birthday gifts.

If you want an American Girl doll rather than an alternative, they’re now sold in Canada through a partnership with Indigo. Click here for a peek inside the Yorkdale American Girl Boutique.