Meeting My Dollppelganger: American Girl Mini Maryellen


“You’re returning from your blogging-hiatus-due-to-scholarly-pursuits by posting about a doll?” Well, you know, dear friends, that I am a girl of many facets.

I haven’t thought about American Girl dolls in approximately twelve years. In my youth, I was obsessed with the AG catalogue, but those historical (and historically expensive) beauties were always beyond the reach of my family’s limited doll-buying budget. Instead, I spent my formative doll-play years enacting all sorts of magical escapades with Stardust Classic Dolls, a fantasy-inspired 18″ doll alternative (now defunct) that fit our wallets and my imagination a little better.

It just so happened, though, that I stopped for dinner at a mall outside of Boston last week while returning home from the New England Aquarium…and what to my wondering eyes should appear but an American Girl store! Of course I, the girl who had never seen a real American Girl doll in the flesh (vinyl?) before, had to take a peek.

I recognized many familiar favorites from my childhood catalogue-perusing days: Josefina,  Addy, Samantha, and Kaya all still look great even in 2016. I was enchanted by the newest addition Melody Ellison, a stylish girl from the 1960s who loves to sing and has an entire recording studio playset. (If I were to invest $115 in an American Girl Doll today, Melody would probably be my top pick.)

But then I stopped dead in my tracks when I noticed another new-ish member of the American Girl family. This one, Maryellen, is from the 50s. She wears circle skirts and swing dresses and has ginger-orange hair with side bangs.

Which means–as you might have guessed by now–that she looks eerily like me. (Except she sweeps her bangs to the opposite side. I won’t judge.) So of course I had to acquire a mini Maryellen to do a proper  visual comparison!


I find the mini American Girl dolls way cuter than their larger counterparts, actually–though that might be just because I like tiny things with impeccable little details. And miniature Maryellen has those in spades!


Her dress and shrug are a pastel peppermint dream. What’s even more delightful is that I’m pretty sure I could knit her another shrug just like that in a different color if I put my mind to it! Now I just need to track down some teensy needles…


She’s wearing a retro hairstyle that I would definitely try if I were also a doll rather than a human who gets headaches from high ponytails. Those side-swept bangs, though, are pretty much an exact copy of my standard style (have you been spying on me, American Girl?).


Little (fake-leather, of course) shoes with little buckles! Too much.


Of course, I had to join in on the fun and dress up in a Mary-Ellen-inspired ensemble! I don’t have a cute dress quite like hers, but this striped top and aqua cardigan brought me rather close. You’re probably not surprised that I also happened to have an aqua ribbon lying around.

(A note: it’s fun for me to hang out with a cute redhead doll like Maryellen who could be my vinyl doppelgänger (it was hard to find ginger dolls who weren’t Raggedy Ann when I was a kid!), but I was disappointed to find that AG currently has, for example, no American girls of Asian descent featured in their line of historical dolls, and yet there are so many white dolls that it’s possible to find something as specific as a strawberry-blonde with side-bangs. Using “girls growing up in the U.S.A. at various time periods throughout the past 250+ years” is a framework that should offer countless opportunities to tell diverse stories, and I hope they will keep that in mind as future dolls are released.)


What was the one toy/random thing that you coveted the most as a child? I may have dreamed of American Girls for a time, but in the end, our lower-cost dolls and stuffed animals received just as much love, and I wouldn’t have traded them for anything!


  1. Oh wow this is so adorable! I’ve never heard of American Girl before. I have a doll, which I got for my 2nd birthday. I called it Tommy, because I thought that’s what it’s top said. It wasn’t until I could read like a grown up, that I realised it said Tummy Talks. (That made so much more sense, because when you pressed it’s tummy it would say, “Mama, hehehe”) My poor doll is now trapped up in the loft in a box with my other toys. I must rescue him!

    • Oh no, the trapped-in-the-attic fate! I’m slowly liberating some of my childhood toys from my parents’ house and bringing them to stay with me in my apartment–a challenge since I have to carry them across the ocean and across most of the US to do so!

      • I think that sounds like that start of a children’s book. I can imagine a vintage suitcase with a teddy bear and a doll half sticking out, as they travel across the land, sea and air. Oh man I wish I could draw the illustrations that I see in my head!

  2. Well, they say everyone has a twin somewhere out there in the world, yours just happens to be a doll xD
    by the way, I also think the mini dolls are cuter – or more accurately, the larger ones are creepy, definitely the bigger they get the more dolls look like they belong in horror movies 😀

    • It’s funny, I’m afraid of pretty much everything in the world except for creepy dolls…I’m not sure why, but I’ve never seen one that registered as creepy to me! Though there are certainly a lot of ugly early modern ones 😀 Of course, now that I’ve arrogantly announced this, you know a creepy doll is going to show up in my life and be like “you spoke too soooooon!”

      • Yes, now that you’ve mentioned not being creeped out by dolls, the creepiest doll is going to find you and haunt you (that’s probably a movie that’s been made xD)

  3. Super adorable!! I loved the American Girls catalogs growing up (even though I never had one either). Looking back, perhaps it’s stuck with me because the dreaming was what was important? I always loved Felicity best (of the originals at least).

    • I agree with you; I have very fond memories of yearning for those American Girls! Felicity was a favorite of mine as well–rumor has it that she will be “re-released” from the archives sometime soon (oh the joys of commercialism!)

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