Did anyone else get American Girl Magazine? I started getting it in the early 90s, and I’d saved the paper dolls all these years. Whoever had the idea to make these paper dolls was a genius – any girl could send in photographs and anecdotes about the women in her family, and every month, a new girl was featured. My favorites were the girls who could trace their heritage back to medieval France or Scotland, because they had the coolest dresses. Each doll came with a mini book, and every dress had an anecdote printed on the back. Some of the stories were appropriately lighthearted, like the girl whose grandmother got bored with her white cat and dyed it pink. Others told stories about weighty events we studied in detail later – the Japanese-American internment camps; the Armenian genocide; African-American slavery; and Native American assimilation.
I couldn’t really bring myself to throw them all away, so I went through and kept some of the dresses to use in collages and on cards. Some of the anecdotes are now living in my “inspirations” folder in my writing case.
And now I’m itching to take out the real American Girl dolls. They got moved into storage for safekeeping a year or so ago, but golly I would still like to play with them.