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American Girl was started 20 years ago by Pleasant Rowland, an elementary school teacher and children's textbook author. She wanted to create something for girls that would encourage their love of reading and teach them American history in a fun and engaging way.
She began creating characters from different time periods that any girl could relate to. Every American Girl doll comes with a storybook full of details about her life, her family and the era in which she lives. "We have 10 characters that represent pivotal periods in American historyeverything from Samantha, our Victorian girl from 1904, to Addy. She's our character from the Civil War from 1864 and her story is really about freedom and the importance and responsibility that comes along with it," says Julia Prohaska, senior director of marketing.