In 1992 American Girl published their first magazine of the same name. Among stories and other features, this issue included the debut of their first Real American Girl paper doll.
I began collecting Real American Girl paper dolls in December 2009 after learning about them. My first four were purchased from the same seller: paper dolls 7, 15, 23, and 28. I was hooked. I needed to own all the dark-skinned real girls who had traced their family history as far back as the late-1700s and shared their research with American Girl, who then published their paper dolls with historical and contemporary punch-out fashions based on the girls' research and their current interests. As seen here, I found Kara Kirby #38 in January 2011. In February 2011, Brittney Biggett #22 was found. Others followed until I was missing only one dark-skinned Real American Girl in paper doll form.
|Real American Girl paper doll #1, Courtney Price, traced her family history back to 1792.|
Courtney Price, the first Real American Girl paper doll, was recently found after a four-year search. All others were found without the magazine in which they appeared. Courtney's paper doll remains intact inside the premier issue of American Girl magazine.
|A head shot of Courtney and thumbnails of the fashions included with her paper doll are shown above.|
At the time of the magazine's publication, the aspiring actress, Courtney Price was 9 years old and lived in Detroit, Michigan. She was able to trace her roots back to her great-great-great-great-grandmother, who was born in West Africa in 1792. An outfit that a girl Courtney's age would have worn during the late 1700s is included with the paper doll fashions. Other outfits include an 1880s dress that her great-grandmother would have worn, a dress representing a style that her grandmother wore as a girl in 1932, a 1954 majorette outfit like the one her mother wore, and a figure skating costume (seen next) that Courtney wore in her figure skating club's 1992 spring show.
|Courtney dressed as a cowgirl in her spring 1992 figure skating show. Her mother and her aunts were majorettes in 1954 and wore outfits like the one next to the figure skating costume.|
There is a punch-out paper stock booklet to create which tells the story of the remarkable females in Courtney's family. Each page includes an image or illustration of the family member the page discusses. What a novel idea American Girl!
|Three pages and the cover of Courtney's seven-page paper doll booklet|
On the page that follows Courtney's paper doll and fashions, American Girl urged girls to "Be a Doll." Young readers were instructed to talk to their parents about their family history and gather as much information for as far back in time as they could go. Then write and tell American Girl about their research and send photocopies of associated photographs.
Courtney Price and the other young genealogists, who ultimately had paper dolls printed in subsequent American Girl magazines through at least the year 2000, did remarkable research.
Head shots of Real American Girl paper dolls numbers 1 through 46 are archived here. This unofficial archive ends with the May/June 2000 issue of American Girl. It is unknown if additional paper dolls beyond #47 were created.