"Samantha" redirects here. For the doll, see Samantha Parkington (doll).

Samantha Parkington was one of the first three Historical Characters of the American Girl Dolls, representing the Edwardian Era/Early 20th Century. Samantha was first released in 1986 along with Kirsten Larson and Molly McIntire.

In October 2008, American Girl announced that they would "archive" Samantha's entire collection; she, Nellie O'Malley, and their collections would become unavailable for purchase. The Samantha doll initially sold out on Feb 3, 2009, and official archiving was on May 31, 2009. Samantha's books, the movie, and the two Mini Dolls remained available for purchase.

On February 17th, 2014, American Girl's Facebook page stated that Samantha will be rereleased in Fall 2014 [4]; she was rereleased with the launch of BeForever and the first character to be rereleased from the archives.

Personality and Facts

Samantha (occasionally nicknamed "Sam") is an orphan who, at the start of the series, is living with her old-fashioned Grandmary. Samantha only remembers her parents a little bit. She seeks the approval of Grandmary and does not want to disappoint her or worry her. She has been partially raised by her Uncle Gardner, and he is very much a father figure in her life; she wants to please him as well and does not want to be left out of his life even after his marriage.

Samantha is curious which leads to her asking a lot of questions from the people around her and thus questioning the status quo. She can be very defiant when she feels she has been wronged. She is very interested in her parents and their lives, as they died in a boating accident when she was five years old and is compared in looks to her mother. She has a rough side such as climbing trees and feels it is very hard to be a young lady. She often thinks fancifully, such as when she believes Jessie has left to be an actress and that her uncle may be a spy. Samantha is rather bold and mischievous and playful, generally going places she should not, sneaking off, and even standing up to her mocking neighbor, Eddie Ryland. Samantha is beguiling and bursting with ideas, and is very imaginative.

Samantha is fun and loves to laugh. She is loyal, giving, and helpful. Her friends consider her a "life saver" because she's "all heart and ready to help others".

Samantha likes progress, new inventions, and is interested in how things are changing in all ways at the turn of the century, though it's hard for her to adjust to changes within her family, as Samantha initially felt Cornelia changed her plans in Samantha's Surprise. At times she comes off as very naive due to her sheltered life; Nellie's harder life originally served as contrast to Samantha's well-to-do life. She is also very giving, having given up her doll to Nellie soon after receiving it as well as giving her time to help her become better at school. She does not think this is merely helping a poorer person and sees her as a friend.

She loves to read; her favorite book is The Wizard of Oz. Samantha can play the piano, although she does not think she has much musical skill. She loves to paint and someday wishes that she could be as good of an artist as her mother Lydia Parkington. Samantha is not extremely skilled at embroidery but does good work; in her first book, she completes a sampler, and in Samantha's Ocean Liner Adventure, she embroiders a handkerchief. She either wants to be a painter like Mary Cassatt or the first female US President. Samantha is very good at public speaking and knows how to bring attention and persuade people of her ideas easily. She gives a speech in Samantha Learns a Lesson, and she realizes she's good at speaking. She learns that she is a great leader in Samantha's Special Talent.[5]

American Girl characterizes her as "compassionate" and "kind." She was also characterized at the American Girl Publishing site as "bright" and "generous."[6]

Family and Friends


Friends and Minor Characters


See List of Samantha's Books

Other Media

Movie Books



The Samantha doll.

Main article: Samantha Parkington (doll)


See Samantha's Collection


  • While Samantha was initially marketed by American Girl and Pleasant Company as from the Victorian Era, Queen Victoria died in 1901, and the series starts in 1904. The series can be perceived as Victorian due to Grandmary, who is very traditional in mindset; however, she does change her mind quite often throughout the series, showing a shift in attitude from Victorian to Edwardian (if classified by British terms). There is always a slight overlap of eras in history; however, the attitudes, social airs, issues, technology, and fashions of the stories place Samantha more properly as Edwardian or, more accurately, the Progressive Era. This is especially seen in the blurring of class issues seen through Samantha and Nellie. In the Victorian Era, it was considered in very poor taste for the wealthy to deal with the impoverished in any way as possible equals or express concern of their station in life. If the series was properly Victorian, Nellie would have most likely not have been adopted by a rich family. American Girl now refers to the time period as "Turn of the Twentieth Century" or "America's New Century."

See also

References and Footnotes

  1. 'Clue in the Castle Tower, pg. 146: [Samantha] loved to look at the yellowed parchment paper where her whole name, Samantha Mary Parkington [...]
  2. Mount Bedford is a fictional town. It was however based on Mount Kisco, New York; a house in 81 West Main Street served as the basis for Samantha's residence. A similarly-named town does exist, though.
  3. This is in most books after Changes for Samantha.
  4. Facebook Statement
  5. Samantha's Special Talent, pg.187: "I'm grateful for the money raised, and I'm impressed by Samantha's talents as a leader," Mr. Hardy said.
  6. American Girl Publishing - Samantha

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