Today is Samantha Parkington’s 121st birthday…though she will forever be the 10 year old star of a classic American Girl Dolls series.
I met my Samantha doll when I was in 1st Grade. A girl from Nebraska collected the American Girl Dolls and introduced me to the then five doll franchise. Of course, being the History Buff and Doll Lover I was and still am, I was hooked. Back then the Pleasant Company only offered five dolls for children to choose from, Felicity from the 1770s, Kirsten from the 1850s, Addy from 1860s, Samantha from the 1900s, and Molly from the 1940s. My mom’s favorite was Molly McIntire, I liked her too, she was spunky and lived during one of my favorite moments in history, WWII. But back then I was more into looks and unfortunately for Molly, I don’t wear glasses 😛 But seriously, I always gravitated towards the brunettes in TV shows or Films. Samantha was my favorite, she had the same color hair has me, back then I had bangs, she was an only child and to boot her Grandmother’s name was Mary, same as mine 😛
As it turns out, Samantha was not part of the original five as I used to believe. She part of the original three! That’s right, in 1986, the Pleasant Company introduced their first three American Girl Dolls. Kirsten, Samantha and Molly. (Which tickles me, because Kirsten happened to be my cousin, Derby’s favorite (both blondes after all 😉 )) Felicity was introduced in 1991 followed by Addy in 1993. Fun Fact: the cloth bodies of each doll were originally white, but was changed to a flesh color once Felicity was introduced, since the fashions during the 1770s would reveal a bit of the bodice.
I absolutely loved American Girl Dolls. One of my favorite things growing up was receiving their magazines in the mail. Reading their tips, contests and short stories from the magazine or just flipping through the catalog. How magical to imagine anything could be ordered and played with. Some of my favorite memories centers around American Girl, one of my favorite being hours spent reading the books with my Mom. When I was in middle school, that same friend from Nebraska asked me to be in a shadow box play with her. Where we put on plays behind a giant screen, acting out the motions of different American Girl stories through shadows. One year my parents even took me and my Aunt to the American Girl Place in Chicago for my birthday. It was absolutely perfect. Samantha (or Sam as I called her) and I wore matching dresses.
Sometimes when I’m home and can’t sleep, I’ll pull out one of my Samantha books and pretend to be nine years old again.
I hope you enjoyed this special Birthday post.
Thank you for Reading.
Here are some other people who share Samantha’s Birthday
Helena Bonham Carter
Kyle Broflovski from South Park
and if today happens to be your special day,
a very Happy Birthday to you
*I’ll leave you with this little piece of trivia. Originally, Samantha was considered to be set during the Victorian Era when in fact, Samantha is closer to the Edwardian or better yet the “Progressive Era.” It can be argued either way, since Grandmary can be seen as more Victorian. But just to make it easier, American Girl now refers to it as the “Turn of the Twentieth Century” and/or “America’s New Century.”