If you’re an American Girl fan—(yes, I’m talking about myself here and not just my daughter)—you know the names Molly McIntire, Samantha Parkington and Kristen Larson. These were just a few of American Girl’s original historical characters created in the ‘80s, each with its own story. Molly was the adorable 10-year-old pigtailed girl with glasses growing up during World War II. Samantha was an orphan taken in by her wealthy grandmother in New York in the 1900s and Kirsten lived on the frontier prairie.
The historical dolls were retired in 2010, and now they’re back. Though my daughter was born the year these dolls were retired, I still knew their names and backstories. I remember buying Josefina Montoya for my niece Josephine’s birthday. Josefina lived in 19th-century New Mexico and, along with her three sisters, was mourning the loss of her mother when her aunt, Tía Dolores, entered the picture to care for the girls. My niece is now a senior in high school—and like most of us who have American Girl dolls—she still has hers.
My daughter has loved American Girl for years and while she’s headed to middle school in the fall and has outgrown a lot of her childhood obsessions, she’s held onto her dolls. There’s something so timeless about them that makes us want to keep them forever. I was never able to buy one of the originals for my daughter but she does have a few historical dolls we love—Julie from the ‘70s is her favorite and Kit, who grew up during the Great Depression and wanted to be a reporter, is mine.
If you don’t have an original, you can now buy one of the six OGs—Samantha, Kirsten, Molly, Josefina and Felicity Merriman and Addy Walker. Let’s just say the nostalgic mom in me wants to put Molly into my shopping cart, stat. American Girl reintroduced all six to celebrate its 35th anniversary. Each comes with the doll dressed in her original outfit and accessories, the character’s first paperback book in the series with a vintage cover and is packaged in a retro-inspired American Girl doll box. It’s probably a good idea to hold onto the box.
“As we celebrate this major milestone, we’re thrilled to recognize the very first generation of American girls who grew up with these beloved, original characters and made them the phenomenon they are today,” said Jamie Cygielman, General Manager of American Girl. “Knowing many of these women are now moms themselves, we look forward to creating special, multi-generational experiences for families via their shared love of the brand. We can’t wait to inspire and empower this next generation with even more relevant products, immersive experiences, and timeless stories.”
If you’re planning a trip to the American Girl store in NYC, it’s open with slightly reduced capacity and masks and social distancing are required. The salon and café are open and the store will hold a 35th Anniversary Trivia Night on May 14th and May 21st. During dinner, an announcer will ask American Girl trivia questions and guests will have a sheet of paper to write down their answers. There will be giveaways and birthday cake, too.
You can shop for the dolls here.