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On a trip to the NYC American Girl Place in 2010.

The Girl loves her American Girl dolls.  She has 5 of them (2 Samanthas, Kit, Lainie, and Kanani) and has the remaining dolls on her wish list.  She is obsessed.  She makes things for them, which I love because the things she makes are so creative.  She reads the books, which I love because who does not want their kid to love reading.  She watches the Youtube videos, which I love am okay with since it gives her ideas of things to make and do with her dolls.

Right now, she only has 2 of the historical dolls.  Samantha (although she has 2 dolls that are both hand me downs) and Kit.  Through Samantha she was introduced to the history of woman’s suffrage and child labor laws.  Kit’s story taught her about The Great Depression and Hobos.  She loves history so she eats the stuff up.  I think that is why all the other dolls are on her wish list.  I was looking at the dolls and the times in American History that they represented and they have really covered some of the major events and cultures…

  • Kaya-1764:  Explores the world of the Nez Perce tribe (Washington state), in a time where the west was just beginning to be explored.
  • Felicity- 1774:  Explores the time of the revolutionary war and what colonial time in Virginia was like.
  • Josefina- 1824:  Explores the hispanic traditions and life in New Mexico (before it was New Mexico).
  • Marie-Grace and Cecile- 1853  Explores New Orleans traditions like Mardi Gras and takes on The Yellow Fever.
  • Kirsten- 1854:  Takes us on a journey west with a Swedish family who is trying to make a life in very rural Minnesota.
  • Addy- 1864: Explores the time of the Civil War through the eyes of a girl trying to escape from slavery from a North Carolina Plantation.
  • Samantha and Nellie- 1904: New York and as shared before Woman’s suffrage and Child labor.
  • Rebecca- 1914: Explores russian immigration at the time of communist takeover and the ills of the industrial revolution through the eyes of a Jewish girl in New York.
  • Kit and Ruthie-1934:  Cincinnati, Ohio.  As stated before through their eyes you meet Hobos and see what life was like during the great depression.
  • Molly and Emily-1944:  Explores life during WWII through the eyes of an American girl who’s dad signed up to help in WWII, and the English girl who comes to stay with them.
  • Julie and Ivy- 1974:  Explores Divorce and life in San Francisco including Hippie culture and saving endangered species (bald eagles) through Earth Day (1st Earth Day was in 1970).

So there you have it… American Girl has managed to hit a lot of hot topics and historical events, don’t you think?  What is not easy to find is the presidents that the American Girls had… You would think they would have a chart, right?  I had to make her this.

While making this, it got me thinking about other interesting times in American history and the states* that are still without American Girl Doll representation.  I decided I would help the American Girl company brainstorm some ideas for historical dolls for the future (because what else do I have to do with my time).

Here are my recommendations…

  1. Alice 1844: I see Utah is not represented.  I don’t know about you but I find the history of the Mormon church really interesting.  1844 would be the perfect time too.  It was right when their use of plural marriage (polygamy) was becoming more well known.  Actually, Joseph Smith was murdered that year and there were big changes for the church and its congregation.  Why not address the issue of plural marriage.  What a storyline! The only problem is that not much else happens that year, but there will be lots of stories you can work in through her sister mothers and siblings.
  2. Lisa 1964:  I could not believe that they have not addressed JFK yet!  What a time in American History!  JFK was murdered in November 1963.  Lisa could be from Texas and would be able to share what life was like as the US tries to move on from one its most tragic events.  Plus the Beatles enter the music scene and Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act that abolishes segregation.  There is also Malcolm X and the race riots. It was a pretty big year so I think that American Girl should get on this doll.
  3. Margaret 1874:  Wouldn’t the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 be an event worth an An American girl doll? Well, I think I figured out a way to work that into a doll.  Margaret and her family survive the fire, but move to Philadelphia where they open the first public zoo.  Sadly, that is all I got for 1874.  What a boring year in history!
  4. Sarah 1654 or 1694:  My daughter told me that they really need a puritan girl and I think she is right.  Preferably one who is around Connecticut for the Witch trials… Our American Girl could be a quaker whose mother is being accused of witchcraft.  I can’t decide if I like that story or a story that begins in 1694 or Salem where the notorious trials just happened in 1692.  It is towards the end of the hysteria and if they were to go with 1694 they could also talk about King William’s War and the very complicated relations with the native americans.  Personally, I think they should definitely get going with this doll too.  My daughter would be the first in line.

I am not sure if you figured out that I do love the American Girl concept.  It blends doll play with history and explores some critical social issues in America.  I am always amazed by the quality of the items.  For example, my daughter has Kit’s typewriter and it actually looks like it works (and has withstood being stepped on, thrown, and played with by many little hands.  My daughter still plays with the Samantha doll I got 25 years ago and honestly she still looks really good.  Her hair was a mess, but we paid for her to get her hair done at the doll hospital and she came back with less matted hair.  Yay!

The biggest issue is price.  These dolls are expensive.  Their accessories are expensive.  Spa services for your dolls?  Yeah, that is pricey too.  Overall, I love them though because my daughter loves them (although I would love them more if they would come out with my witch trials historical doll… hint hint).

* I have no idea what states the Girl of the Years are from so I did not factor in their states.

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