8 American Girl products that have gone extinct
Today is the birthday of the late, great Molly McIntire. If you were an American Girl fan in last century, then you know exactly who we’re talking about. If you need a refresher course, Molly—a World War II era doll—was one of the first three historical characters American Girl released in 1986 and retired in 2013. And, yes, some of us just loved her dearly.
Whether you owned a trove of their products or simply loved gushing over the catalogue, American Girl was an iconic part of many of our childhoods. From its introduction in ’86, the line of historical and modern day characters has changed over time, as different products, stories, and styles came and went. We’ll always have the memories of playing with our assorted American Girl characters, but now it’s time to indulge in a little nostalgia. Check out these eight American Girl products that are sadly no more.
While girl’s best friend Coconut may have lasted for the past 15 years (and four redesigns), her feline counterpart wasn’t so lucky. The black and white cat was introduced in 2003 as the purrfectly posh counterpart to the iconic white terrier. Wearing a rhinestone collar and perched upon her own pink pouf, the cat also had a magnet in her mouth so she could hold up accessories like her pink ball of “yarn.” This furry friend was originally retired in 2008, but reintroduced in 2012 with a new design. Sadly, the feline’s new look wasn’t a hit and the character retired (for now, at least) in 2014.
2. Girls of Many Lands
Classic American Girl Dolls weren’t the only historical characters that the company had to offer. Hoping to appeal to older girls who still appreciated dolls but didn’t quite play with them, the line of eight figurine-sized dolls was much more ornate than anything else the brand had to offer. Representing different time periods and areas of the world, the dolls were dressed in the clothing of England in 1592, France in 1711, Turkey in 1720, Ethiopia in 1847, China in 1857, Alaska in 1890, Ireland in 1937, and India in 1939. Each doll also came with her own fourth grade reading level novel—no doubt some girls’ introduction to the wonders of historical fiction.
3. Hopscotch Hill Dolls
For girls who loved nothing more than playing “school,” Hopscotch Hill was the secret to bringing the classroom to the playroom. Based off a series of books by Valerie Tripp, these four 16” dolls (Logan, Skylar, Hallie, and Gwen) came with plenty of school-related accessories—gym outfits, art class outfits, a recess set, a teacher play set, and best of all, the rainbow activity board. Though the dolls didn’t last, retiring in 2006, they did encourage girls to actively learn in and out of the classroom.
4. Angelina Ballerina
Angelina Ballerina has fared a better fate than most other retired American Girl products. The dancing mouse was originally released under the brand in 2001, but it was created by author Katharine Holabird and illustrator Helen Craig in 1983. Angelina stayed with American girl for a few years, but as her fame started increasing with her PBS television series, Target bought the character in 2004 to sell her image and books to a larger audience.
5. AG Mini’s
Dollhouse lovers were delighted by the 2000 introduction of American Girl Mini Rooms. These pricey, diorama-like setups came in a variety of styles. The “blue room” gave off a groovy, mod vibe while the “purple” room was a darker, flower power-style nook. Other setups included a diner, a horse stable, and a boutique. While the main appeal of these mini rooms was that they lit up to display all their cool designs and furniture, wiring problems were common and many sets were deemed defective. The line was retired after only three years.
6. Bitty Bear’s Bunch
A younger crew of girls found their love for American Girl through Bitty Baby, the soft baby doll offered by the company. And every girl knows that every baby needs at least a few stuffed animals. Enter Bitty Bear’s Bunch: a line of mini animal friends that came with their own easy-to-read “family album” books. Besides the classic bear, seven other animals were offered—Bunny, Ducky, Froggy, Kitty, Lambie, Piggy, and Puppy. Introduced way back in 1995, the line was fully retired in 2013.
7. Cooking and Craft Books
We’re not going to lie—there was almost nothing we loved more than going to Barnes & Noble so we could sit in the children’s area and devour the entire American Girl shelf of books. While we got our fix of fiction from our historical dolls’ novels, sometimes we just needed a bit more. Thanks to books like Molly’s Cook Book, Kirsten’s Theater Kit, and Samantha’s Craft Book, we could make the best Victory Garden soup, put on a play version of Kirsten’s story, and make the perfect seashell picture frame. Sadly, historical dolls no longer come with these activity-based books that helped us to really dive into their stories.
8. Felicity, Kirsten, Molly—and a bunch of other historical dolls that probably weren’t around in your childhood!
As it goes, nothing gold can stay. These original dolls were shelved for good with the introduction of new historical characters—and an increasing preference for lookalike My American Girl dolls. While the eBay market for retired dolls is definitely a profitable one, we’re just satisfied holding the memory of Kirsten, Felicity and of course, Molly McIntire, in our hearts.