American Girl is famous for its detailed, well-made, and yes, expensive dolls. American Girl prides itself on the educational value of its dolls. There are dolls representing many different eras of life in America. However, the historical lessons taught by American Girl dolls will be decreasing as the company recently announced the retirement its Colonial era dolls, Felicity and Elizabeth.
During Christmas season 2008, American Girl retired its best-selling doll, Samantha. During Christmas 2009, they said farewell to pioneer girl Kirsten. And now, Elizabeth and Felicity.
It’s fair to ask, why?
Why Does American Girl Retire its Best Dolls?
There are several theories as to why American Girl seems bent on retiring the dolls that define its original intent: to produce high quality dolls with an educational value.
One idea is that retiring a doll makes her more popular. In fact, just a day after receiving an email from American Girl announcing Felicity and Elizabeth’s retirement, several of their outfits and accessories are already backordered. Retiring a doll is a great way for American Girl to drum up business.
Another theory looks at American Girl’s current goals. They have introduced a new “girl of the year” doll for the past several years. These dolls are not historical, but are based on current girls and their interests. Perhaps these modern dolls sell better than the historical ones. After all, American Girl is a company, and the ultimate goal of a business must be to turn a profit. If the modern dolls sell better, we can probably look for another historical doll to retire next Christmas.
An email from American Girl does state “we do so knowing their departure will make it possible to introduce new characters and time periods for our customers to enjoy.” It’s interesting to note that most of the latest “time periods” represented have been modern (to be fair, American Girl did introduce a new historical doll as well in 2009; Rebecca Rubin, a Jewish girl of the early 20th century).
Goodbye, Felicity and Elizabeth!
At our house, we’ll be saying goodbye to Felicity and Elizabeth in a personal way. We don’t have a Felicity doll, but a year ago my daughter saved up her money for months to buy an Elizabeth. I still remember the excitement when the doll arrived! My daughter took such good care of her (she was especially worried about the staying power of the delicate ringlets framing her face).
I have read many of the American Girl books to my girls. We particularly enjoyed Felicity’s stories. Many involved horses – a popular topic for many girls. I can still do a mean imitation of Jiggy Nye, the evil first owner of Felicity’s horse, Penny.
Goodbye, Felicity and Elizabeth! We have enjoyed your stay.
American Girl: Felicity and Elizabeth