American Girl, also known as The American Girls Collection, is a children's lifestyle brand released in 1986 by Pleasant Company. Originally focusing on dolls portraying characters from different periods of American history, the company expanded its line into accessories, clothing and dolls from contemporary life. A variety of related clothing and accessories is also available. Pleasant Company was founded in 1986 by Pleasant Rowland, and its products were originally purchasable by mail order only. In 1998, Pleasant Company became a subsidiary of Mattel. The company has been awarded the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award eight times.
The original dolls were a spinoff from the 18-inch dolls made by Götz in Germany during the late 1980s to the 1990s. Mattel now oversees manufacturing of the toys as the company was acquired by the toy giant in 1998.