Diverse Historical Dolls

  • 01 of 10

    Step into the Past

    Getty Images/Imgorthand

    For most tweens and teens, time is an elusive concept. When they are doing a chore that they dread, time crawls along at a snail's pace. When they are whiling away the afternoon on social media, it speeds by quicker than a blazing comet. So, time doesn't mean much to young people, but when they take the time to study the past, they are always impressed with what they've learned. They become determined to put some of that long-ago admirable behavior into modern-day practice. That's...MORE the brilliance behind many historical doll lines: past lifestyle challenges provide present-day life lessons.

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  • 02 of 10

    American Girl Dolls Turn 30

    Courtesy of American Girl/Mattel

     Forget that old warning from the 1960s--"Never trust anyone over 30"--because America's favorite 18-inch dolls turn 30 in September 2016. In 1986, American Girl issued its first catalog and introduced its first three historic dolls. These were Samantha Parkington, who represented a well-to-do, compassionate girl growing up in 1904 New York; Molly McIntire, a patriotic girl with a can-do attitude who was dealing with life on the home front during World War II; and Kirsten Larson, a...MORE Swedish immigrant who headed west across the American Plains in Pioneer Days. These three debut creations blazed the trail for the very important doll-and-book combos that have followed. These dolls proved that strength of character, belief in one's self and willingness to try new experiences can help girls rise above daily challenges and family crises. 

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  • 03 of 10

    Be Strong, Be Educated, Be Forever

    Courtesy of American Girl/Mattel

    The BeForever line of American Girls encourages children to play and then read about the doll's era in the accompanying storybook. Today's girls are encouraged to "shine together through storied times"! The American Girl creative team understands that these heroines demonstrate personality traits that never go out of fashion. These dolls exemplify "courage, smarts and spirit." The BeForever lineup runs the gamut from pre-Revolutionary War Native American Kaya (who is...MORE dressed in an authentic 1764 Nez Perce outfit) to hippie flower child Julie (she is garbed in groovy 1974 bell-bottoms and a peace sign T-shirt). Dressed to mirror their particular century or decade, these dolls teach girls that some obstacles are worth fighting for and striving against. The depictions of the young girls drive home the point that no one is ever too young to make a difference.

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  • 04 of 10

    How Fabulous Were the Fabulous Fifties?

    Courtesy American Girl/Mattel

     A very popular BeForever duo is the pairing of the Maryellen Larkin heroine and her book series, which is set in Daytona Beach, Florida, of the 1950s. American Girl author Valerie Tripp has created a protagonist who is optimistic and boasts a sunny personality. In her novels, Maryellen learns that there is a price to be paid for popularity. This doll embodies the difference between following peer pressure and being true to one's self. Maryellen follows her heart and not the crowd--a very...MORE impressive lesson for the American girl in your life to learn. 

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  • 05 of 10

    The Sounds of the Sixties

    Courtesy of American Girl/Mattel

     Melody Ellison is the Summer 2016 BeForever debut doll. She represents a 9-year-old girl growing up in Detroit, Michigan, in the 1960s. Blessed with a powerful vocal range, the aspiring singer hears and sees racial discrimination that is hurled against her and her relatives. The young heroine decides to add her voice to the increasing cries for justice and civil rights. The African-American doll embodies a well-dressed young lady from the American sixties. Her thick black hair flips up at the...MORE ends, and her dress, shoes and hair bow are all color coordinated. Melody teaches today's children to speak up when they see a friend or a peer being bullied or berated because of a difference. She definitely inspires young girls to be brave and bold

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  • 06 of 10

    Finding Harmony Amid Turbulent Times

    Courtesy of American Girl/Mattel

     No Ordinary Sound is the first volume in Melody Ellison's biographical series. The premiere novel is written by Denise Lewis Patrick, who hopes that its young readers will be impacted in a positive and motivated way: "A message that I hope readers take away from Melody's story is to think about themselves in terms of their community--and what they can do to help--to change--their community for the better." An advisory board comprised of African-American business leaders,...MORE politicians, educators and civil rights crusaders helped to tailor the Melody Ellison storyline. Melody's background shows that children of any era can find unrest and unfairness in their community, and in nearby neighborhoods, but they can work together to bring harmony across divided lines. 

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  • 07 of 10

    Pioneer Spirit Is Alive and Well

    Courtesy of The Queen's Treasures

     The Queen's Treasures, which has offered accessories, costumes and furniture for 18-inch dolls (like American Girls), is leading a charge to empower and encourage today's young girls. Their costumes and gear that honor the life and times of primate researcher Jane Goodall have earned high praise from the toy industry. Continuing their salute of "women who changed the world," the Queen's Treasures created its first-ever doll rather than just the accoutrements that go with it....MORE Company founder Joann Cartiglia selected Laura Ingalls Wilder  as their initial 18-inch doll: "I want little girls to think about things other than phones, computers and all the electronic trappings of today's society. Laura Ingalls Wilder can encourage today's girls to use 'human' power to change the world for the better.

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  • 08 of 10

    Little House with Large Lessons

    Courtesy of The Queen's Treasures

    The half-pint Laura Ingalls Wilder doll (and matching real-life costume) is a throwback to the beloved character that appeared on the popular family TV drama. But even before she was portrayed by actress Melissa Gilbert, Laura was the central character in a series of books that Wilder penned. Growing up in the 1860s, young Laura was alert and made note of everything she saw. She wrote her Little House series of books in the 1930s when she was in her 60s. Laura's life proved that age is not a...MORE barrier for success. She held her first teaching position at just 16 years of age; she became a novelist at 65. Laura Ingalls Wilder inspires girls to welcome new challenges, to try their hand at the unknown and to respect their family members.

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  • 09 of 10

    Setting the Scene

    Courtesy of The Queen's Treasures

     Wilder's historical-fiction novels were based upon the pioneer life that she and her family led as they pushed west in a covered wagon, which is meticulously re-created here. Raised in a settler family, Laura headed from the Big Woods of Wisconsin through Missouri and into Kansas, with further departures to Minnesota. The Ingalls family's cooking utensils, hardware, rustic necessities and plush versions of their livestock are all available from the Queen's Treasures. Your children...MORE will learn two distinct lessons: to appreciate what they currently have and also to admire the ability to unplug and unwind.

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  • 10 of 10

    Old Times Can Mean Good Times

    Getty Images/Doug Menuez

     Your children will be inspired to dig within themselves to unearth their best traits. Playing with historical dolls and reading the books that chronicle the dolls' lives will open their eyes to different eras and cultures. It will influence your children to learn more, research more, read more and be more!