Entertainment

The Six Original American Girl Dolls Are Back for the Brand’s 35th Birthday!

As part of the 35th birthday, the brand has also released a new book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned From American Girl, which Cygielman says is a “sort of tongue-in-cheek” 32-page nostalgic look back, geared towards adults. Then on May 8, fans are invited to join American Girl and cupcake shop Magnolia Bakery for a virtual 35th Birthday Bash, along with other surprises throughout the year.

The original Josefina Montoya, available May 2021

American Girl

The original Felicity Merriman, available May 2021

The original Addy Walker, available May 2021

The original Kirsten Larson, available May 2021

American Girl

The original Samantha Parkington, available May 2021

American Girl

The original Molly McIntire, available May 2021

American Girl

Frosting and parties aside, the real celebration is what these dolls and their stories represent for millions of girls all over the world. “The stories act as a mirror to a child so that they can see themselves,” Cygielman tells Glamour. “Sometimes it’s a window into another world that they may not have been as familiar with but that they can learn from. We’ve always wanted to tell diverse stories about the American experience, but also to give girls great role models, which builds strong character.”

Cygielman notes that while the way a girl dresses or the toys that she plays with has changed over time, “the core tenets of girlhood and those rites of passage have not changed—such as her friends, her family, her community, doing the right thing, being a better person, and inspiring to do great things. So it seemed really culturally relevant right now to tell those stories again to a new audience.”

The original sketch for Kirsten

American Girl

The original sketch for Samantha

American Girl

The original sketch for Molly

American Girl

As part of the 35th celebration, American Girl is partnering with Save the Children’s U.S. Literacy program this summer with a gift of more than $100,000 in American Girl books. “We’ve long-championed the belief that strong readers become strong leaders,” the brand says. 

And to continue to get fans more excited, the brand is also releasing new images of the original dolls, which you can see below, along with some of The Pleasant Company’s vintage photos released in the late ’80s and early ’90s. 

Kirsten Larson

Kirsten Larson, a pioneer girl settling on the frontier prairie in Minnesota in 1854, was one of three original historical characters introduced in 1986.

American Girl

Founder Pleasant Rowland with the original accessories for Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly, as seen here in this undated photo from the 1980s

American Girl

Samantha Parkington 

Samantha Parkington, an orphan living in upstate New York with her wealthy Grandmary in 1904, was one of the original three historical characters introduced in 1986.

American Girl

Molly McIntire 

Molly McIntire, a child of World War II growing up on the home front in 1944, was one of the three original historical characters introduced in 1986.

American Girl

A vintage photo of Molly and her dog, Bennett, from 1986.

American Girl

Felicity Merriman

Felicity Merriman, a spirited, independent girl growing up in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1774, was first introduced in 1991.

American Girl

Vintage Felicity in this undated photo from the early ’90s.

American Girl

Addy Walker

Addy Walker, a courageous girl who escapes slavery and keeps her family strong in 1864, was first introduced in 1993.

American Girl

Addy had a puppet-show display and vegetables, shown in this undated vintage photo.

American Girl

Josefina Montoya

Josefina Montoya, a quiet, caring girl living in New Mexico in 1824, during the opening of the Santa Fe Trail, was first introduced in 1997.

American Girl

Josefina and her little turtle, from this vintage 1997 photo.

American Girl

Here’s the first American Girl doll headquarters, as seen in 1986. They’ve come a long way!

American Girl

The six original dolls are available on American Girl’s website and will retail for $150 each. 

Happy Birthday, American Girl! Turning 35 never looked so much fun!

Jessica Radloff is the Glamour West Coast editor. To see her vintage Kirsten doll, you can check out her Instagram here. 



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