Pleasant Rowland Elected to Toy Industry Hall of Fame
Pleasant Rowland, the founder of American Girl, has been elected to the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.
In a statement, the Toy Hall of Fame wrote about Rowland (edited for accuracy by me):
"Rowland founded American Girl in 1986 after a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, when she combined her love of American history and her commitment to high-quality educational products to create The American Girls Collection, a line of historically accurate books, dolls, and accessories representing pivotal times in America's past. As a trailblazer in creating purposeful play, Pleasant expanded her vision with the launch of a contemporary line, now called Truly Me, that celebrates girls' individuality with dolls featuring a diverse array of face shapes, skin tones, eye colors, and hairstyles, Bitty Baby, a nurturing line of diverse baby dolls, as well as a line of advice books, Smart Girl's Guide, which has sold 12 million copies. Her company went on to create the Girl of the Year line, featuring contemporary characters who experience modern-day issues. Mattel acquired the brand in 1998 and shortly thereafter, Rowland fulfilled her dream of opening an experiential retail store, American Girl Place-Chicago, where fans could shop the product in person and immerse themselves in unique dining, theatre, and salon experiences with their dolls. To date, American Girl has welcomed 100+ million visitors to its popular stores and has been recognized as a premier model for experiential retail."
2021, when the virtual ceremony honoring Pleasant and other Toy Hall of Fame inductees will be, will mark 35 years since the first dolls in the American Girls Collection were released. While it shouldn't have taken the Toy Hall of Fame that long to recognize American Girl, I'm glad they finally did!