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American Girl Samantha is an 18” doll that was one of the first three dolls introduced in 1986 by the founder of American Girl, Pleasant Rowland. The American Girl company produces a line of dolls and accessories depicting young, pre-teen girls from historic periods. The doll’s full name is Samantha Parkington. She is a 10-year-old historical character from 1904 and was developed to provide a young child’s perspective of events from this important period in American history.
Samantha has dark brown hair with fair skin and light brown eyes. Samantha was orphaned at five years of age and grows up in the Edwardian period. She is raised by her wealthy Victorian era grandmother in Mount Bedford, a fictional town in New York.
Samantha’s friend Nellie O’Malley is a poor servant girl. In the story about American Girl Samantha, she is adopted by her aunt and uncle along with Nellie and her two young sisters. Samantha’s story focuses on women’s suffrage, the class system and child labour as reflected in the work done by Nellie.
The doll’s character was brought to life in a made for TV drama entitled “Samantha: An American Girl Holiday” which starred 10 year old AnnaSophia Robb in the lead role and Mia Farrow as her screen grandmother. The movie was released in November 2004.
The American Girl Samantha doll and accessories was completely archived in May 2009. Only her books and DVD’s are currently available from the American Girl website. Samantha books range from mysteries to stories about her life. The doll may be purchased on the secondary market but is no longer carried in the company’s stores.
Origins of the Name Samantha
Samantha means ‘listener’ in Aramaic. The name Samantha was largely believed to be a feminine form of the male name Samuel which means ‘heard by God’ in Hebrew. Originating in 18th century America, Samantha was uncommon as a girl’s name until 1964 when the main character on the television show ‘Bewitched’ made the name popular.
American Girl Samantha is an attractive doll that is currently discontinued by the company. Her story teaches young girls about child labour and how to be strong in the face of changes and new dilemmas.