From Our Readers

American Girls: In Honor of 25 Years of Dolls, 250 Years of History

I am an American Girl. Just like Felicity, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, and Molly, I am an American Girl.  I learned about my nation’s history and about girlhood from extremely expensive 18” plastic young women.  As a voting citizen and American adult, I would now like to thank my matriarchs and sisters, true pioneers, rebels and spunky characters of their time.

Dear Samantha (1904)
Thank you for being a beautiful, sophisticated New York woman, and my first introduction to American Girls. You were everything I wanted to be, and when my cousin threw a Samantha-themed birthday party and we went to Rumplemeyer’s Ice Cream Shoppe and rode around Central Park in horse-drawn carriages, I wore a maroon dress  and my mom’s old muff in your honor.  Props to you also for handling orphanhood with maturity and grace.

Dear Molly (1944)
Thank you for being my first and only 18’ American Girl Doll.  Thank you for your quirky glasses and beret; they made it okay for me to be me. When I went to a tea party, I ordered the white-trimmed dress you wear for parties, and I felt like a million bucks.  You also taught me a lot about patriotism during World War II, and about the importance of rations, and sending letters to those overseas. I also always loved your combination of brown hair and green eyes.

Dear Felicity (1774)
Thank you for being my sister’s doll, and since she didn’t really care for dolls, my doll too. I envied your red hair and loved to brush it before covering it with a colonial bonnet.  Thank you for representing an America I never felt a connection to, because of my family’s more recent immigration to this continent. You were a true Patriot, riding your horse and fighting for the creation of this fine Republic.

Dear Kirsten (1854)
Where to begin? Thank you for an amazing journey from Sweden to Minnesota, a story which I adapted for a performance in the backyard at my first sleepover birthday (age 7).  To emulate your blonde hair, I cut stockings and braided them into the pigtails you wore. Thank you for giving me a way to connect to my Scandinavian babysitters, and for introducing me to your Native American friend Singing Bird (tribe unknown) and for constantly speaking for her.  Thank you for later being a subject of a paper I wrote in college where I critiqued your whole narrative of the frontier.  I didn’t mean it, and I know you know that.

To each of you, I am forever grateful, yet ever skeptical of how you shaped me.

Emily (2011)

You can read more from Emily on her Twitter.

feature image via American Girl.

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