American Girl Heaven
Pleasant T. Rowland Biography

I was lurking around the AG pages in the Internet archive, specifically the page made around 1999, and it turns out there’s a decent biography for Pleasant T. Rowland, the creator of the American Girl line! 

Check out both her ‘message to parents’ and biography text under the cut!

I began Pleasant Company more than a decade ago to provide girls with beautiful books, dolls, and pastimes that celebrate the experience of growing up as an American girl. As an educator, I wanted to give girls an understanding of America’s past and a sense of pride in the traditions they share with girls of yesterday. Out of this desire, The American Girls Collection was born.  
The American Girls Collection and its contemporary counterpart, American Girl Today, were created especially for girls ages 7 to 12—girls who are old enough to read and still love to play with dolls. For younger girls we offer Bitty Baby, a line of soft, huggable baby dolls, board books, and accessories that encourage creative play and nurturing behavior.  
At Pleasant Company, we are committed—as you are—to providing your American girl with rich, age-appropriate play experiences. By choosing the right books and toys for your daughter at the right age and stage of her growth, you protect her development, nourish her spirit, and give her imagination wing.  

Pleasant T. Rowland, founder and president of Pleasant Company and creator of American Girl, has devoted her career to helping children learn in new and exciting ways. After graduating from Wells College in New York in 1962, she became an elementary school teacher. Dismayed by the lack of creativity in the textbooks she was given to use, she began to develop her own materials, focusing particularly on the integration of reading with other language arts.  
Rowland’s innovative teaching materials soon attracted attention from an educational publishing company that saw she was on to something: that learning can be fun for children. She has held fast to that belief throughout her career, creating numerous educational programs, books, dolls, and toys that integrate learning and play experiences and emphasize important traditional values.  
Career highlights:

  • Elementary school teacher (Massachusetts, California, Georgia, and New Jersey), 1962-1968.
  • Television news reporter and anchor, KGO-TV, San Francisco, 1968-1971.
  • Vice president, Boston Educational Research Company, 1971-1978.
  • Creator, Beginning to Read, Write & Listen, 1978.
  • Publisher, Children’s Magazine Guide, 1981-1989.
  • Creator, The American Girls Collection, 1985.
  • Founder, Pleasant Company, 1986.
  • Vice Chairman, Mattel Inc., 1998.

Other honors:    

  • Honored as one of the 12 outstanding entrepreneurs in the United States by the Institute of American Entrepreneurs, 1990. Appointed to institute’s board of directors, 1992.
  • Advertising Age’s Marketing 100, 1993.
  • One of America’s Top 50 Women Business Owners, 1993-1998.

Rowland lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband, Jerry Frautschi.

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