Early American Girl

by Lori Ann Achzet

Learning with Play

In 1986, the Pleasant Company introduced a line of historically contextualized dolls named American Girls which were sold with books that told their life stories. America’s toy industry shares an important bond with color lithography.

As toy manufacturers grew to be a major influence on children’s play and parents’ pocketbooks during the second half of the 19th century, lithographic printing matured almost simultaneously.

Each industry strengthened the other: full-color lithographed box tops, game pieces, and doll costumes helped to popularize and sell toys while creating a demand for more colorful images.  

Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens


Here is a link to the PDF for a historically contextualized paper doll Fanny Gray.