Classic Toys 2000
Kirsten Doll with Book
Ages: 7 - 12 years
Year Introduced: 1986
Kirsten is a doll that comes with a series of six books. Kirsten Larson is a nine-year-old Swedish girl who settles on the American prairie in 1854. The books chronicle the story of Kirsten and her pioneer family, as they begin their new life in America.
Kirsten is dressed in a variety of outfits that reflect her culture, time, period and heritage. For winter she has a festival costume from Sweden. It includes a black skirt with floral braids at the waist, and bands of red and green at the hem, along with a sweater, hat, and mittens.
When Kirsten attends school she can wear her dress and shawl. She comes with a split log school bench. Her writing slate and slate pencil really work.
She has a trunk to put her special things in, as well as a washstand, a bed, and many other accessories.
The starter collection begins with the doll and accessories.
Kirsten is one of the first three characters in the American Girls Collection, introduced by Pleasant Company in 1986. Over the years Kirsten has become very popular.
Pleasant Rowland, founder of Pleasant Company and creator of American Girl, began as a teacher. Concerned about the lack of excitement in the textbooks she was using, she developed many materials.
After Pleasant left teaching she became a reporter, where she met an educational publisher who took an interest in her materials and asked her to develop reading textbooks. From 1971 to 1978 Pleasant served as the vice-president of the Boston Educational Research Company.
Pleasant became inspired in 1985 by a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, and began developing a line of books, dolls and accessories. In 1986 she founded the Pleasant Company to distribute the product line.
To bring the world of Kirsten Larson more alive, a program at the Gammelgarden Museum in Scandia, Minnesota shows what it was like to live in the American prairie in the mid-19th century.
This living history program, located one hour north of Minneapolis, includes a two-hour walking tour of an original Swedish immigrant settlement.
Visitors can explore the rustic log buildings, an immigrant house, a barn, and a church. They can also try their hands at crafts and have a pioneer lunch just like Kirsten.
The program is available in June, August and September. The program is three hours long and costs $20 a person.
Similar history programs are based in Williamsburg, Virginia; Ohio Village in Columbus, Ohio; the Heuich House Museum in Washington, D.C.; and the Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. More information is available by visiting the American Girl website at www.americangirl.com .