Welcome to Staatsburgh State Historic Site's blog! Learn more about the Gilded Age home of Ruth and Ogden Mills!

Friday, September 25, 2020

How Samantha Parkington Taught Me About the Past

Do the names Kirsten, Samantha and Molly ring a bell?  If they do, it is likely that you are a child of the 1980s and early 1990s...like me.  Beginning in 1986, Pleasant Company introduced these three young women who made up the American Girls Collection. Kirsten Larsen (1854) was a Swedish immigrant living on the frontier, Samantha Parkington (1904) was an orphan being raised by her grandmother, and Molly McIntire was living through World War II.  Each girl was represented by a doll, but the collection was much more than just a doll.  The story of each girl was told in a series of books which included a book about school, Christmas, her birthday, summer, and change.  Each doll had different outfits and accessories which all related to the content and illustrations in the books.  This clever marketing helped transform Pleasant Company into a multi-million dollar company re-branded American Girl after it was purchased by Mattel for $700 million in 1998.    

The original American Girls Collection released in 1986