Monday, August 24, 2015

American Girl Doll Caroline

I got my American Girl Samantha doll in the mid-1990s. I loved her clothes, accessories, and time period. I never got the opportunity to pick up many of her accessories, since that was also when we were starting our family. And Samantha has been the only 18" girl doll that I have owned ever since. However, I found myself attracted to Caroline Abbott, who was released in 2012. After only three years, she's being archived, so I had to buy her now, if I was going to. And so Samantha finally got a friend.
One of the things that I liked about Caroline was her curly hair. The curls are not stiffly gelled, and so there's some frizzing of individual hairs not part of a curl. Stiff hair can be annoying, but I imagine this hair would not fare well with rough play.
When I part her hair, the back of the wig looks matted. I haven't investigated this too much yet, because I don't want to mess up her hairstyle. I could have sworn that I bought an AG wire hair brush at some point, but I can't find it. I know I need to get a proper wire wig brush to care for her  hair.
Here are Caroline and Samantha together. Caroline stands better than Samantha does, possibly because she does not have the overstuffed body of the Pleasant Company era. You have to balance the weight of Samantha's head against the weight of her torso, and balance both of those onto her legs, which weigh much less comparatively. Also, Caroline's limb joints seem stiffer. I don't know if that has to do with Samantha's age, or slightly different manufacturing. In any case, that also helps Caroline stand better.
A comparison of the new and older faces. The eyes look different to me. There is less white showing in Caroline's, which may account for it. Also, Samantha's eyebrows are solid lines, while Caroline's are feathered. Also, if you look at the picture below, you can see that there is a gap between Caroline's neck, and her stuffed body.
Samantha's neck and body come together much cleaner. Is this gap common with the newer AG dolls? If you have a newer AG doll, does she have this gap?
One of the things which drew me to Caroline specifically was her outfit. It's fairly true to her time period of 1812, and for some reason, it really appeals to me. Mini Caroline is also one of my favorite minis. Here is Caroline holding Mini Caroline.
One of the advantages that American Girl has in making clothes for the mini AGs, is that they have a factory where they can order things like a smaller scaled version of the ribbon sash around Caroline's waist. Looking closer, though, the eyelet embroidery on the hem of the girls' pantaloons looks to be the same size, although Caroline's is a lovely bright white. Poor Mini Caroline's fabric looks yellowed in comparison. And here's a short few paragraphs talking about the difference between pantaloons and pantalettes. I'm not sure if these specifics applied as far back as the Regency, but I'm using them here.
One of the things that I wish had been done differently with Caroline's story was having it take place somewhere besides New York state. This is not only because there are now three AG historicals who come from New York (the other two being Samantha and Rebecca), but because Lake Erie was home to an important naval battle during the War of 1812, that being the Battle of Lake Erie. If you are from the US, you may recognize a famous quote from this battle, by then master commandant Oliver Perry: "We have met the enemy and they are ours." Caroline's story does revolve around her father's shipyard, but there was also a great deal of important ship building in Erie, PA. I'm biased myself, because I love Lake Erie and its history, but really, AG, we did not need another doll from New York state. :)

In Cleveland, the War of 1812 and Commodore Perry are still remembered, in various ways. :)
Here's a question for you: if a historical doll's history was set in your home area, what notable period of time could she live in? Cleveland was important in the industrialization period of the mid to late 1800s, and many of these industrialists lived at various times on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. Known as Millionaire's Row, it was at one time called the most beautiful street in America. Our girl's story could focus on a specific industrial advancement, or even touch on monopolies. (!) Or maybe in the mid 1900s, an American Girl's father could be involved in medical advancements at the Cleveland Clinic. Tell me your story ideas!

15 comments:

  1. Hello from Spain: I really like your dolls. Your photos are great. Keep in touch.

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    1. I'm glad you like my dolls, and the photos!

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  2. Your Caroline is lovely and she really does have great hair! Personally I like that her stories involve Lake Ontario, although of course I tend to joke about her being the enemy doll since she's from the southern side! ;)

    On the neck gaps, I just looked at my Kaya and Cécile and their heads seem to be more flush with the bodies, so I don't think it's just the new standard - I think it might to do with how tightly the neck ties are tied and how much stuffing is in the body right under her head. If you tighten the strings, I think the neck will probably be more flush with the body.

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    1. Actually, Caroline's uncle and aunt live in Canada when the story starts; they moved there for farmland. They literally sneak out of Canada with nothing to escape being tried as traitors. So yeah, Caroline's and her family would be the enemy. :)

      Thanks for the tip about the strings. I'll try it.

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    2. I meant to say *Caroline* and her family would have been the enemy.

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    3. Heh, exactly! I'd have to have a Laura Secord doll made up to keep her in line! ;)

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  3. Hi Barb,
    Great insight about the time period for Caroline. The only reason I liked that her story took place around Lake Ontario is because I went to college at SUNY Oswego, which is right on that lake so I found that appealing. I completely agree with you, though that they should've picked a different location.
    I am from NY so I don't have any ideas of another story line here!
    I recently purchased Caroline as well and haven't done much with her hair. I'm keeping it away from my little girls because that hair would be a hot mess at the hands of a child! I just looked at my doll and she also has the same gap you are talking about.
    I love seeing the photos of your Samantha...there are clearly many differences between the older and new versions. Does your Samantha have softer eyelashes?

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    1. I'll double check, and get back to you about the eyelashes, Farrah Lily. I don't think I'm going to do very much with Caroline's hair at all, but I would like to have a brush. I've occasionally brushed Samantha's curls very carefully to keep them neat.

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  4. She's lovely, and the two dolls look great together. The eyes are indeed different, I like both faces very much!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. Samantha is glad she has someone to play with now.

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  5. Hi Barb, the dolls are so cute!
    I don't live in the US, but as an history buff I think that a backstory placing the doll as a daugher of a famous professor at Harvard at the beginning of the 20th century could be interesting. Or in the late 19th as the only heiress of a Boston Brahmin Family.

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  6. Hi,Barb.Both of your dolls are cute.I'm from Brazil and American Girls are not so common here.I really didn´t know that was an history for each doll..It's nice to know about that.

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    1. Hi Ana! There is a historical line of dolls, and then there is a line of modern dolls called Truly Me. The original company, that is now American Girl, was founded to help teach American girls about American history.

      Thank you for stopping by!

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