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History of American Girl

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This is a timeline of the American Girl corporation. This mostly focuses on doll, character and line launches; specific release dates on items can be seen on their respective pages.

Prerelease

Pleasant Rowland takes a trip to Colonial Williamsburg in the mid-1980s. She is inspired by the "living history" of the setting. Later, seeking dolls as a gift, she sees that there are very few dolls marketed as companions to a girl or focusing on girlhood.

The original line is modeled off of a line of dolls once produced by Gotz dollmakers.

1986

The American Girl line launches with three Historical Characters: Kirsten Larson, Samantha Parkington, and Molly McIntire. Each doll is launched with the first three books in her series and the clothing and accessories that accompany the stories. The products are only available via mail order.

1987

The birthday stories and items for Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly are released.

1988

The summer and winter stories and items for Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly are released.

1988

The "Dress Like Your Doll" line is released, allowing a young girl to wear outfits similar to the doll's historical clothing.

1989

Character-related crafts and patterns are released.

1990

Our New Baby line is launched. School Desks are released for Molly, Samantha, and Kirsten.

1991

Felicity Merriman is released Fall 1991 with her first three books and accompanying clothing and accessories. Because of the low neckline of colonial outfits, the cloth bodies are changed from a white color to a matching tan color.

1992

The second half of Felicity's collection is released. American Girl Magazine is launched. Dolls sent in to the American Girl Hospital began to be returned with hospital gowns and accessories.

1993

Addy Walker is released Fall 1993 with her first three books and accompanying clothing and accessories. Paper dolls are released.

1994

The second half of Addy's collection is released. Theater, craft, and cookbooks are released for each character.

1995

American Girl of Today line is released. Our New Baby is rereleased as Bitty Baby.

1996

Ten-year anniversary.

1997

Josefina Montoya is released Fall 1997 with her first three books and accompanying clothing and accessories. Website [1] launched; online purchase was not available, however, until the middle of 1998.

1998

The second half of Josefina's collection is released. American Girl Place opens in Chicago, IL. Ms. Rowland sells the company to Mattel for 700 million dollars. American Girl of Today line renamed American Girl Today.

1999

Short Stories and outfits released.

2000

Kit Kittredge is released Fall 2000 with her first three books and accompanying clothing and accessories. Ms. Rowland steps down and the company is now referred to as American Girl and wholly owned by Mattel. American Girl Minis are launched.

2001

The second half of Kit's collection is released. The first Girl of the Year, Lindsey Bergman, is released Summer 2001. Felicity begins to be pulled from catalogues.

2002

Kaya'aton'my is released Fall 2002 with her entire collection (her collection is much smaller due to cultural limitations). She is billed as the First American Girl, as is her right as a Native person. Felicity was removed from catologs with Kaya's release. Lindsey is discontinued at the end of 2002. Girls of Many Lands are launched with the first five dolls.

2003

Kailey Hopkins, the second Girl of the Year, is released. Hopscotch Hill School, a line of dolls and books for 4-to-6-year-olds, is launched. American Girl Place is opened in New York City. American Girl Minis are discontinued. Bitty Twins are launched.

2004

Pleasant Company officially renamed American Girl. Samantha: An American Girl Holiday debuts on the WB. Simultaneously, movie items are released. The first Best Friend, Nellie O'Malley, is released, originally intended as a limited edition. The new American Girl Club is released.

2005

Marisol Luna, the third Girl of the Year, is released. Felicity: An American Girl Adventure debuts on the WB. Elizabeth Cole, the second Best Friend, is released. To match her appearance in the movie, she is blonde and blue-eyed and all illustrations are modified to make Elizabeth blond. Many previously retired items from Felicity's collection are rereleased, and she returns to catalogs. Girls of Many Lands is discontinued.

2006

Jess McConnell, the fourth Girl of the Year, is released. Twenty-year anniversary. Hopscotch Hill School is discontinued. American Girl Place in Los Angeles, CA is opened. Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front debuts on the Disney Channel and is simultaneously released on DVD. Emily Bennett, the third "Best Friend", is released; she is marketed as Molly's English Friend. Illustrations are changed to give her slightly longer hair. The American Girl Club is discontinued. American Girl Today renamed Just Like You.

2007

Nicki Fleming, the fifth Girl of the Year, is released. American Girl Boutique and Bistros are opened in Dallas, TX and Atlanta, GA. Julie Albright is released Fall 2007 with all her books and several items. Simultaneously, her best friend, Ivy Ling, is released.

2008

Mia St. Clair, the sixth Girl of the Year, is released. Ruthie Smithens is released as the fifth Best Friend. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl is released in theatres. Julie's summer and birthday items are released. Samantha and Nellie are announced to be "archiving" -- all their items will be retired but the books will remain available. American Girl Boutique and Bistros are opened in Natick, MA and Minneapolis, MN. Licorice is discontinued.

2009

Chrissa Maxwell, the seventh Girl of the Year, is released along with Sonali Matthews and Gwen Thompson. Chrissa Stands Strong debuts on HBO and is later released on DVD. Rebecca Rubin is released Summer 2009 along with all her books and several items of her collection. Samantha Parkington and Nellie O'Malley are officially archived; only the Mini dolls, movie, and books remain available for purchase. Kirsten Larson is the next Historical Character to be archived.

2010

Lanie Holland, the eighth Girl of the Year, is released. Kirsten Larson is officially archived, only her mini doll and books remain available for purchase. Rebecca's summer collection is released. American Girl Boutique and Bistros open in Denver, CO, and Kansas City, KS. Just Like You is renamed My American Girl with the launch of Innerstar University. Felicity Merriman and Elizabeth Cole are the next Historical Character and Best Friend Character to be archived.

2011

Kanani Akina, the ninth Girl of the Year, is released. Twenty-fifth year anniversary. Special limited edition Mini Dolls are released along with deluxe DVDs of the American Girl Movies for Samantha, Felicity, Molly, and Kit. Felicity Merriman and Elizabeth Cole are officially archived, only the mini dolls, movie, and books remain available for purchase. American Girl Boutiques and Bistros open in Washington, DC, and Seattle, WA. Two new Historical Characters, Marie-Grace Gardner and Cécile Rey, are released.

2012

McKenna Brooks, the tenth Girl of the Year, is released. Summer outfits for Cécile and Marie-Grace are released, as well some accessory sets and furniture for a limited time. American Girl Boutiques and Bistros open in St. Louis, MO, Houston, TX, and Miami, FL. McKenna Shoots for the Stars is released on DVD first and later airs on NBC. A new Historical Character, Caroline Abbott, was released.

2013

Saige Copeland, the eleventh Girl of the Year, is released. American Girl Boutiques and Bistros open in Columbus, OH, and San Francisco, CA. Molly McIntire and Emily Bennett are the next Historical and Best Friend Characters to be archived. Saige Paints the Sky is released on DVD first and later airs on NBC.

2014

Isabelle Palmer, the twelfth Girl of the Year, is released. Molly McIntire and Emily Bennett are officially archived, only the mini dolls, movie, and books remain available for purchase. American Girl expands their physical presence into Canada with Specialty Boutiques opening in Toronto, ON, and Vancouver, BC. The Best Friend Characters line is discontinued, resulting in the formal retirements of Cécile Rey, Marie-Grace Gardner, Ivy Ling, and Ruthie Smithens and their collections. Isabelle Dances into the Spotlight is released on home video and later airs on the Disney Channel.

The current Historical Characters are revamped with the launch of BeForever which also included the rerelease of Samantha Parkington. New outfits and items for current Historical Characters are released. The Central Series for current Historicals are bundled into two novel-length volumes, and My Journey Books were also released. An American Girl Boutique and Bistro is opened in Charlotte, NC; American Girl also opens a temporary boutique in Honolulu, HI.

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