I think the American Girl Mini dolls are adorable and have collected almost all of them. (I’m missing three. 😉) The one thing I hear from Dandridge House visitors upon seeing my mini collection is their surprise at just how many versions there are! That’s what we are going to discuss.
In 1995, Pleasant Company created a new line of dolls named Girl of Today. These dolls were to represent the modern girl and came with six blank books so you could create her story yourself. Also, released in the Girl of Today line were five miniature historical dolls with miniature books. They were created to be an American Girl doll for your modern doll. These dolls were six-inch versions of the historical doll line.
The little historical dolls have cloth bodies, vinyl limbs and glass eyes. They have little neck strings, tiny wigs and their clothes are exactly like their larger versions. The mini doll’s original price was $20 each or all five for $90. Mini Josefina became available in 1997 after the release of the full-size doll.
Mattel bought Pleasant Company in 1998 and the mini dolls were changed. Their glass eyes were replaced with painted decals and their wigs were replaced with rooted hair. They also became taller. Below is a mini Kirsten I found that had been chewed on, I took her apart so you can see her parts. The mini Samantha is one that I bought directly from AG at the end of 1998. Most collector sites claim that the wig/eye change took place in 2000, but mine came with the changes before 2000. I was surprised and confused when she arrived, because the catalog was still showing glass eyed dolls.
Since the first series of Minis were considered part of the Girl of Today line, the dolls came in a tiny doll box inside of a Girl of Today box. The boxes shown are from the Felicity mini doll I ordered in 1996.
As the dolls changed, so did the boxes. When the 18” doll boxes added a window, so did the mini boxes. The price stayed at $20 until 2007, and rose to $22 in 2008. In 2012 they sold for $24 and now are $24.99. Here are all of the Felicity boxes over the years from 1996 to present.
As American Girl brought out new historical and best-friend dolls, they also released them in mini version. The mini dolls were no longer marketed only as a doll for your doll, but as their own line. In 2005, Felicity’s Meet Outfit was changed. Here is my collection of mini historical and best-friends after the original six. Over the years, the clothing became more form-fitting and things like real buttons became embroidered.
In 2011, American Girl celebrated their 25th year and released 12 special edition mini dolls, one each month. Each historical doll was brought out wearing their Christmas outfits with the exception of Kaya and Kirsten. Kaya was dressed in her Adorned Deerskin Dress and Kirsten was wearing her Winter Outfit. (I’m guessing that tiny St. Lucia wreath wouldn’t have been easy to make, but it sure would’ve been cute! 😉) Best-friend dolls weren’t included in the special editions. Each doll was released with a mini version of their Christmas book except Kaya, Marie-Grace and Cécile. Kaya was released with her book Kaya’s Hero. Marie-Grace and Cécile were released with their Meet Books. Each doll came with a sticker that had their name on it. A special display shelf was sold to showcase the 12 dolls and came with twelve mini doll stands. There are twelve silver ovals on the shelf to put the doll’s name sticker on. When these were released, I already had several mini dolls and wanted to display all of them on a shelf, so I bought six shelves. All but one is filled.
Saige was the first Girl of the Year to get a mini doll in 2013. Since then, there has been a mini Girl of the Year each year. She comes dressed in her Meet outfit. Lea had two mini dolls, the regular version and a special edition that was only sold in stores (not online). The special edition Lea is dressed in her hiking outfit and came with a rainforest display stand. I do not yet own mini Girl of the Year 2018 Luciana. Out of American Girl’s modern doll collection of Tenney, Logan and Z Yang, only Tenney was given a mini doll. As of now, no boys have been made mini.
In 2015, the biggest change that came to the mini dolls was hard vinyl bodies. The dolls are thinner and are more mature looking in the face. The historical line was re-named BeForever and all the 18″ dolls and minis were given a new Meet outfit. The BeForever mini Molly has been released and her spot on the shelf is waiting for her. Her stock photo is shown in Molly Through the Years. American Girl sells a mini Kirsten in her original Meet outfit even though they haven’t sold the 18″ doll in years. She is the third mini I don’t yet have.
In 2016, American Girl again released a special edition series of minis. At this time there were only eight historical dolls. Caroline had been retired and Melody hadn’t been released yet. Each mini came with a doll stand that placed them in a walking position and a small version of their My Journey Book. They were sold for $28 and were dressed in a special outfit.
I display my five mini doll shelves across the top of an eight foot long dollhouse. I also like to place minis in dollhouse rooms to be dolls for my Truly Me dolls like in Emma’s Bedroom. Mini dolls are a great way to have multiple characters without a lot of space. When I wasn’t able to purchase 18″ dolls for lack of funds and space, I still enjoyed getting the newest doll in mini version. Hubby always puts a mini under the Christmas tree and the little girl inside of me can’t wait to add her to the shelf!