American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Magazine Monthly: 1992 Premiere Issue

Magazine Monthly.
Here I go, adding new segments to my blog! Well, it's still a new blog, even if it's about two months old. So bit by bit. To the topic.

A couple months ago, I won a chunk of e-Bay auctions that got me every American Girl Magazine from the 1992 premiere issue to Nov/Dec 1999 for a fairly cheap cost--by the time they all lumped together, it was about $2.50 an issue, not counting the shipping. I never had a subscription as a child, myself, ever--but I really like the older issues. And there's a lot of things in these magazines that are pretty nifty--the first years tended to be historically driven and not care so much about the modern life here and there. So I felt like giving some data out about these is a good thing. I'll do probably one a month, because twice a month would rip through them fast and once every other month is too slow. Hence, Magazine Monthy--a look back at past issues of American Girl, and the nifty things therein.

Take into account the following.
  • I don't have most of the paper dolls in the magazines. The person I purchased them from was likely a former kid who wanted to clip and cut out the paper dolls, and they were not included. So none of them are there. I do have over half of the paper dolls but those are going to be their own segment. And if I do happen to have a paper doll from a magazine, I'll talk about it. I also don't have any mini magazines or removals. If it got taken out the magazine, I probably don't got it. Though it looks like things like plays might still be on my pages.
  • I prefer to focus on the articles and stories about historicals/the collection, and less on the "from kids your own age" thing, because I'm now an adult.
  • These are being photographed instead of scanned, and there will be only a few pics of the things I find fascinating. I'm avoiding copyright violations as much as possible. It is hard to get back issues, but I can't justify a full upload of the magazine.
  • This is not a page by page detailing of the magazines and never will be. It's snippets that I think stand out. 
  • If there's something I can actually research up on the nets, I will link to it. 
 To the magazine!

The first issue of American Girl came out in 1992, likely November/December or a little before that. So a year or so post-Felicity. At a cost of 4 bucks cover price (or $20 for a yearly subscription--that's 20% off the cover price), it was average magazine costs for the early '90s. AG Magazine has no outside ads--and still doesn't, from what I can tell from the free issue I got some months back when the computers crashed at AG Seattle. These first magazines had no ads at all. It was later that AG put in ads for its own things, which technically doesn't count. AG Magazine was and still is targeted to girls ages 8-12, and instead of focusing on boy heartthrobs and fashion advice, focuses on the lives and activities of girls in that range. Also, in these early days, they blended in data about history and historical characters, since that was the only line out other than Our New Baby.

The first page discusses that the magazine is all about the American Girl of today and is filled with "Your sparkle and spirit." Hey, that's been around for years. I guess I have to let it slide some. It also talks about how there will be stories about the Historical girls, and girls from all kinds of times. Because you're a part of history too. (I suspect this was a precusor to the moddies in a way). There's also details on the cover model, Mary Blakemore. She loves dancing to her boom box and playing with Night Train, her cat. Heh. Boombox. I had one of those.

Into the magazine. First thing's a pointless timeline, mostly focusing on AG characters and the girl they made a paper doll of. Next is Girls Express--a bunch of micro articles:
  • a mock interview with Carmen Sandiego
  • sewing things onto your socks, because we did crazy shit like that in the 90s
  • girls rapping about veggies
  • article about Sarah Chang, a young violinist (website here)
  • survey of crap kids did before internets, like watching TV
  • how to drive yourself nuts with a group of toddlers by holding a Tot Olympics (hell no)
  • Buzzword--basically, increasing vocabulary. Never a bad thing. This month's word is "persnickety."
Clubhouse is basically a bunch of stuff from girls writing in about stuff like movies that made them cry, poems, and books. I'm not sure a 12 year old should have been watching Ghost  or Dances with Wolves.
"Molly and the Movie Star."
I didn't take any pictures until I got to something that wasn't boring. And that was "Molly and the Movie Star." The short stories that later got published in their own mini-volumes and then collections? Started out in the magazine. There's tiny tweaks from the originals, in some cases--in this case, the story is actually longer in the magazine with a few more sentences and details. If anything ever gets scanned in by me from these mags, this would be one of the things--the original historical short stories, because they have little details than the books don't--and in the case of one story, a complete change in some details.

Details about movies in the past.
There's a bit about movies in the 1940s--ten cents for a movie, newsreel, cartoon, short films, serials, and ushers. Nowadays it's 8 bucks a head and I just get previews and quizzes. >.> Granted, I can get my news from the internet. Cartoons too. Ah, Youtube.

Elections stuff!
1992 was a presidential election year (Spoilers; CLINTON WON), so there's a bit about kids related to lower scale politicians. From left to right we've got:
  • Melissa Arnesen-Trunzo, the daughter of Deborah Arnie Arnesen.
  • Hasina Huntly-Cooper, the daughter of Frances Huntley-Cooper, the first and only African American mayor in Wisconsin when she was elected in 1991 as the mayor of Fitchburg
  • Chelsea Lantos-Swett, daughter of (if my searching is right) Richard Swett, who at the time was a New Hampshire Congressman
  • Susan Rossi, whose dad was campaigning for state representative.
  • Stephanie Valencia, whose dad was on the city council
  • Katie Gilchrest, daughter of Wayne Gilchrest, who was in congress
  • Nailah Jeffferson, daughter of William J. Jefferson, the first black congressman in Louisiana after Reconstruction.
I can't find anything on some people, but I wasn't digging past a Google search so there. There's also details about Amy Carter when she was in the White House (as well as other presidential stuff), Presidents in the time of the then-four AG girls (Felicity gets George Washington, not yet president) and data about the kids in the article. And a ballot for kids to mail in and vote about stuff that would be published later in magazines. 

90s clothes!
A fashion-clothes thing centered around Red, White, and Blue. I'm just dying at these 90s clothes, because that shit was FLY. 

Those pants.
That girl in the middle don't even care what you think, she is leaning on that wall. 

More 90s goodness.
That girl in the plaid overshirt, I'm down with her clothing choices like you would not believe. 

Somewhere I had overalls like that.

More 90s clothes. Suffer with me. 

 Another "story"--actually, it's a chopped up excerpt from Ribbons by Lawrence Yep. Which prompted me to check out the book. Thanks, magazine! I now have more things to read. There's also an after talk about bound feet in China and ballet shoes.

I skipped the article about soccer. Sports, whatever. Would have skipped the next but....

Pizza Clown wants your soul.
WHAT THE FUCK oh it's an article about making a new family tradition of Sunday dinner--but calling it Funday because sure why not.It also has a recipe for making your own pizza and 52 ideas for forced family togetherness. Next.

After this was two pages of math problems disguised as decoding a puzzle. I'm on to you, math. Then a page of mad libs, and a page of jokes--and a logic puzzle. Still on to you mag.

Pierced Ears. Mal and Jess need this. (BSC Joke!)
An article on what happened when girls asked for pierced ears from their parents. I will admit I died laughing at the kids feeling like they had to beg and whine for pierced ears because I got my second holes when I was thirteen and my first when I was about a year old. So the struggle never was real for me.

One girl was like "my dad said I have to be 21 to get my ears pierced, he's from the 50s, I said I'd stop talking to them but they said no still" I'd like to think she grew up and got as many holes as possible in every part she could. Fuck you, Daddy, I have a septum piercing.

Bonus Historical Story! With Kirsten!
 This issue--maybe because it was the first--came with a bonus short story--"Looking for Indians", or what became Kirsten on the Trail. Note that Kirsten's not in the Checked Dress and Apron. Because it hadn't been created yet. Other than that, there are no major changes between the book and the mag, except additional illustrations. The historical follow up is about quill work.

"Imagine" is a part I actually find interesting: It looks on old paintings with girls in them, and discusses the paintings and the details about the painting itself. This one is "The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit" by John Singer Sargent. I'm an artist, of course I like art!

Next time on Magazine Monthly.
Next time on Magazine Monthly: Braids! Brides! Valentines! And motherfucking peppermint trees.



  1. Hey wow, that is really neat! Can you post the other scans of illustrations from the Kirsten story since she has a different outfit?

    1. I'm likely to end up scanning the whole short story in at a later time, since the short stories in mags are different than in the book form.

    2. Awesome, can't wait to see the images. I'd like to recreate that striped dress of Kirsten's. ;)

    3. A prelim scan is here:


  2. I need to see the American Girl Magazine - November/December 1999 issue. please

    1. Well I guess you can wait til I get to it.

  3. My daughter Jennifer{Jenny}Carmack was in a issue dont remember the year. I have lost the magazine probably from moving. American Girl article was about her jumping rope on a team with South Lebanon Elematary school or Kings.Jennifer is going to be 30 this year I would love to have a copy of that part of magazine. Thank You


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