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Be Not Forever? How The Historical Dolls Got A Name Change... That Didn't Stick


At first, I was interested in making a blog post about this topic, but then I realized that the earliest time period this takes place in is 2014- five years ago, when this blog was in its infancy and I had 16 dolls, so I didn't think anyone would be interested. But then again, the target audience of nine year olds were four when BeForever started, so why not... and besides, I get to tell the story through my own experience, not through external sources since I was in the fandom at the time!

In 1986, Pleasant Company launched their first doll collection, The American Girls Collection, with three dolls- Samantha, Kirsten and Molly. But when Mattel bought Pleasant Company in 1998, they wanted to show more focus on the other doll lines, like American Girl of Today and Bitty Baby, so they were renamed Historical Characters around 2005. This name stuck for a while, until American Girl announced something in May of 2014.

They announced that the Historical Character line was getting a name change, to BeForever, that Samantha was rejoining the lineup and that the best friend dolls plus Cecile and Marie-Grace were retiring.

Around this time, there was also some changes to the dolls themselves. The packaging changed, some dolls got feathered eyebrows instead of lined, most dolls got new meet outfits and collection overhauls, and most notably, the book covers that were used for 10 years got replaced by new ones, the illustrations got cut and the series of 6 small books got cut down to 2 large volumes of the same stories and a new "My Journey With" book.

BeForever launched on August 28, 2014, to controversy in the fandom, most fans worrying about too much pink in the line, the illustrations being removed and the best friend dolls being retired. Early reception to casual consumers was positive, getting more sales to the Historical Character line, but something seemed to have changed. Maybe American Girl got more complaints, because American Girl seemed to slowly, but surely ax the BeForever name.

The first change took place in 2017, with Nanea's release. Instead of BeForever being the main word on her book cover, Nanea was in the spot where BeForever was. All dolls eventually got that cover update.

In late 2018, American Girl's shopping site seemed to stop referring to the BeForever dolls as BeForever and called them "Historical Characters" again. In the final months of 2018, the dolls also got new banners on their shopping sites with individual logos.

And finally, yesterday. The last straw for BeForever. These new book covers were unveiled in a YouTube video, and the word BeForever was nowhere in sight: just doll names and time periods.

So in conclusion, BeForever seemed to be a short term attempt to attract more girls to the historical line, which didn't work out in the end. Besides, you shouldn't fix things that aren't broken... and that's what AG did with the historical line back in 2014, only to reverse the changes here in 2019.

Are you happy it looks like the end for BeForever? To be honest, I'm happy because that name was really cheesy and calling them Historical Characters are better, in my opinion. But my blogging fingers aren't happy, because Historical Characters is a longer thing to type than BeForever!


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