Of Dreams and Dolls: American Girls and the Spirit of Exploration

by Katy Kelleher

The first American Girl Dolls were released in 1986 by Pleasant Company, which had yet to be acquired by mega-manufacturer Mattel. I didn't get my first doll until 1995, when I was eight years old. Though I never collected dolls like some of my peers, I did read every single one of the books hungrily, voraciously. They sat on my shelves next to classics like The Witch of Blackbird Pond, My Side of the Mountain, and Little House on the Prairie. The stories of Kirsten, Molly, Felicity, Samantha, and Addy quickly became a central part of my ever-growing library.

Though I di...

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