As one of the original three dolls, Kirsten has my heart! She was released in 1986 along with Samantha and Molly. Over the years she has undergone many changes. I have multiples of almost every historical doll, but I currently have nine Kirsten dolls. I have had more through the years, but have let some go. Each one is different. Not all of my Kirsten dolls are displayable as some are waiting for restoration.
The original dolls started with white, muslin cloth bodies. In 1991, it was changed to tan for the release of Felicity. Felicity’s colonial fashions needed a lower neckline and the bright white body would show. For more information on Felicity visit Felicity Through the Years. Dolls around 1990-1991 are often referred to as “transitional”.
The earliest Kirstens that I own are from 1988. My completely original ‘88 is stunningly beautiful. Her eyes have a deep richness to them. My other ‘88 had to be re-wigged with a ‘92 Kirsten’s wig. Her hair had been chopped off by her previous owner, but I couldn’t resist those chubby cheeks. 😉 Both dolls still have their original face color. The hair on my original ‘88 wig is finer and slightly thinner than the ‘92 wig. The ‘88 bangs are “wispy” vs blunt. I call these two my “best girls” because I take them everywhere and they are very photogenic.
In 1986-87, Pleasant Rowland, the founder of Pleasant Company signed 2,500 of each of the three dolls. I dream of owning a signed ‘86, maybe one day. (sigh 😉) My white body Kirstens include two 1988’s and two 1989’s. White bodies have very flat neck strings, where tan bodies slowly became more cord like.
After the transition to tan bodies in the early 90’s, Kirsten had a full face and slightly lighter blue eyes. My 1992 Kirsten has a very innocent look and very pink coloring. She also has the “Do Not Cut” tag on her neck strings, this was used for a limited time in the early ‘90s. Neck strings hold the dolls head on and if cut it makes it harder to tighten or remove the head for repair. (I sometimes have to replace these during restoration, as some have worn out or been cut.) My 1995 Kirsten has a very thick body and quite the caboose! 😉 Her tan body is darker and has slowly been acquiring age spots that my earlier dolls have not been getting.
After Mattel bought Pleasant Company in 1998, things started to slowly change. Over the years the dolls became much thinner and acquired body tags. Their neck stamp changed from Pleasant Company to American Girl.
As the years went on, their faces slimmed and they were given a slight hour-glass figure. My 2009 Kirsten has two body tags and is notably smaller than her earlier Mattel version. My early PC girls are too chubby to fit into some of the newer American Girl outfits.
Sadly, American Girl announced Kirsten’s archival on October 1, 2009. Her collection was officially retired on January 1, 2010. Kirsten changed in different ways over the years, but no matter the differences she has always been adorable and a prized part of my collection.