Looking for a fun way to teach girls about American history, Pleasant Rowland founded American Girl in 1986. Initially, the dolls were only available through the catalog. And yes, every kid in the '90s wanted or had one. Now, it's a mega-business that includes flagship stores in most major cities, restaurants, movies, books, and more. Heck, you and your doll can even take cooking classes, shop, and head to the salon together. But famous as they are, here are a few more fun facts you may not know about these iconic toys.
She's the 15th historical doll — and hit stores on August 27, 2015. Maryellen's also from Florida, and when her book series starts in 1954, she's 9. We can only assume there will be lots of jukeboxes and saddle shoes.
When the company launched, eager girls could only order from just three dolls in the catalogs — Kirsten Larson, Samantha Parkington, and Molly McIntyre. Kirsten was retired in 2010, Molly in 2014, and Samantha was axed in 2008, only to be brought back in 2014 — with new outfits.
Plus, they were almost all penned by author Valerie Tripp. Even cooler: Over 27 million American Girl dolls have been sold since 1986.
Every American Girl doll's locks are a wig made of high-quality Kanekalon sewn into a mesh wig cap, which is then glued onto the head. (My Kirsten doll was sent to the Pleasant Company hospital at least 3 times for a new wig, oops!)
For kids with cancer, alopecia, and other conditions causing hair loss, the company offers a doll just for them.
…get her wet. She may have all the right gear for fun in the sun, but actual water makes her eyes rust and her cotton body mold — not to mention it wreaks havoc on her lovely locks.
Starting in 1992, the company offered "hospital visits" and back then, they included a hospital gown, hospital bracelet, certificate of good health — and a "Get Well Soon" ballon.
Well, almost. There are 8 face molds, but the vast majority (and almost all the BeForever dolls) have the same one. The only current doll to have her own completely unique face is Kaya. (Bonus fact: The company launched a diverse line of dolls in 1995.)
Before the company was bought by Mattel, they had chubbier faces, less color on their lips and cheeks, larger feet, and a chubbier (flesh-toned) body shape, a.k.a no thigh gap or butt. Essentially, the dolls (like this one) have been Barbie-fied.
Second only to Mattel's other staple: Barbie.
Seriously. The movie adaptations of the books, produced by Julia Roberts, have starred actresses like Abigail Breslin, Annasophia Robb — and Shailene Woodley, who played Felicity!
If the movies aren't enough, AGSM is a YouTube phenomenon where fans make stop motion films starring their dolls, using the technique of stop-motion animation — like this Hunger Games clip. It's the kind of tedious thing only teenage girls have the hours for (we hope!)