Rumors are circulating that the new American Girl historical doll in 2015 might be ‘Mary Ellen’ — potentially a 1950s era girl. For the back-story on this speculation, see Living a Doll’s Life.
My impatient, curious personality wants to know what elements her story might possibly contain, so I thought it might be fun to revisit 1950s history and culture.
- Nuclear bomb ends WWII at the end of the ’40s and oops, the Soviet Union has nuclear weapons too.
- Senator McCarthy creates fear of Communists living among Americans.
- United States enters Korean War
- Fear of nuclear war has Americans building bomb shelters and school children practice “duck and cover” drills (note: in event of nuclear bomb, duck and cover irrelevant)
- Cold War begins
- Brown vs Board of Education says segregated schools are unconstitutional
- Polio epidemic affects American children; vaccine introduced at end of 1950s. (The book “Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio” is a wonderful read with your kids grade 3 and up).
- Communism close to home – Fidel Castro in Cuba
- Rosa Parks, Montgomery Bus Boycott, MLK Jr
- Rock n roll, Elvis, American Bandstand
- The hula hoop is invented
- Car culture… big, fancy, colorful cars (look out Julie with the little VW!) Drive in restaurants and movies
- “I Like Ike” – Dwight Eisenhower, a popular president who didn’t ruffle a lot of feathers
- Saddle shoes and poodle skirts
- Television in homes more common “The Golden Age of Television” – I Love Lucy, Cowboy shows, Walt Disney programs
- Passenger air travel more available, but only for the wealthy
- Suburbs are created for all the baby boomers being born, housing boom
Jen speculates: The Cold War and nuclear fallout shelters are too heavy duty for AG. How about a girl who experiences integration in her school and we get two dolls, Mary Ellen and an African-American friend! AG has a family building a new house in the suburbs and Dad is a WWII veteran and now working as a PanAm pilot (or did we already check that box with Saige…?)
Brianna thinks: I think that Mary Ellen might have two friends [like Chrissa.] One of them would be African – American and the other could be a victim of Polio. Like my mom, I think Mary Ellen’s dad could possibly be a WWll veteran, or if Mary Ellen had an older brother, her older brother could possibly get drafted.
What do you think? What would be your ideal 1950s American Girl storyline?