When Pleasant founded American Girl in 1986, she believed that great stories with aspirational characters could inspire girls to make their own positive mark on the world—and she was right. Since then, we’ve been a trusted partner in empowering girls with confidence and character.
After an inspirational trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Pleasant combined her love of American history and her commitment to high-quality educational products to create our first-ever product line, The American Girls Collection. From there, she developed even more books, dolls, and toys that integrate learning and play experiences to emphasize important values. She also fulfilled her long-time dream of opening experiential retail stores, the first of which debuted in Chicago in 1998, where fans could see and shop the product in person and fully immerse themselves in the world of American Girl.
As American Girl grew in popularity, major toy companies took notice, and Mattel acquired the brand in 1998. Today, guided by Pleasant’s original vision, we’ve grown into one of the nation’s most beloved brands. Through powerful stories of courageous heroines, we’ve helped shape an entire generation of women of character—a brand truth we are immensely proud of and a testament to the spirit and ingenuity of our remarkable founder, Pleasant T. Rowland.