Josefina, The Doll that Started it All

Josefina getting out for some summer photos

Jen here – the other night when I was lying awake until 1:30 am, my mind wondered on to the subject of ‘how many dolls we we have anyway?’ and ‘when and where did some of them even come from?’ You can see that these sorts of questions don’t really help you fall asleep, but at least they are easier to contemplate that all that is going on in the world. Brianna and I thought it would be fun for us to recount where each doll came from and take an opportunity to get that doll out of the box and out for some current photos. So, let’s talk about Josefina, the doll that launched . . . a whole lot of other doll purchases!

1st day with Josefina

Hey, it’s Brianna! Starting in 1st grade, my mom would read me the original American Girl historical books and my favourite series was Josefina. For Halloween in 1st grade, my grandma and my mom collaborated and made me a Josefina dress and for my character fashion show in 2nd grade, I wore the same dress once again. I never had specifically wanted the doll but less than a month after the character talent show, I received the Josefina doll from my aunt in March 2013.

Grinding corn in Santa Fe wearing the homemade Josefina dress

My aunt got a Pleasant Company Josefina from the Madison American Girl Benefit Sale for her daughter, but she never became interested in the historical dolls. We bought Josefina from her for $50 (family discount).

We surprisingly don’t have a lot of Josefina’s collection. We have some of her books (I counted 3) including one of the mystery books, Secrets in the Hills, which I think I started but never finished because it was kind of scary for a 3rd grader.

We have Josefina’s accessories which we purchased after we got the doll as well as her sheepskin and blanket which my Grandma bought at the AG Outlet in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I got the horno, or Adobe Oven as a hand-me-down from my mom’s old boss and the outfit pictured above is her summer riding outfit and hat which my mom gave to me when we went to Santa Fe (near where Josefina was from) back in Summer 2013. I believe we also purchased her Holiday Outfit, which is gorgeous, in more recent years, as well.

To this day, I probably cherish Josefina the most out of all the dolls because, well, she was the doll that started all of this! Without her, I don’t think my mom or I would have become so obsessed with the brand.

Stay tuned for doll #2!
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8 thoughts on “Josefina, The Doll that Started it All

    1. Gr8flgramma

      Hi,
      It is always nice to hear the background on how and why a particular American Girl doll was chosen. Unfortunately, I have not read any of Josefina’s books. When my daughter was younger, we read all of the Samantha, Molly, Kirsten, Felicity and Addy books. I need to find someone to read those to so that I can enjoy them with a young child. Thanks for taking the time to share! Have a blessed day!

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      1. Jen Post author

        Reading those books with your child is such a special memory, though I have admitted to Brianna that when she was in 1st grade I skipped over some details. Kids today read a lot earlier than even 10 years ago and I have to admit I would have missed all of the reading I did with her on the couch.
        You don’t have to wait for a friend to read Josefina’s books! I am reading Cecile and Marie Grace right now! I highly HIGHLY recommend Mary Ellen’s books too! You can read the books on African American characters/by AA authors for free on the AG website currently.
        Thanks for commenting Gr8fl.

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    2. Jen Post author

      It’s was kind of meant to be with Brianna’s Aunt having Josefina, and that happening to be her favorite AG story. She is special as well because she is a Pleasant Company era doll.

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  1. Gr8flgramma

    Hi,

    Thanks for the advice. I know that I could read them alone but it is kinda like watching a movie alone or dining alone to me. I would just really ENJOY sharing the historical information with a child and expounding on how it was then in comparison to now.

    I read Rebecca’s books to a lady with premature early onset dementia. She would smile and try to tell me all about those books. She had been an elementary teacher and had read those stories to her students. She was in her late 40’s, so very sad! I believe that I looked forward to the next day when I would come and we would read together more than she did.

    I need to make it a point to get back to reading those again. I have a little neighbor girl down the road that I just need to invite over. I can share my love for these dolls and their stories with her. Covid will hold that back a while yet but she is still young. We, my daughter and granddaughters, really only ever got into the historical dolls (of course that was with my leading) as their stories is what these dolls were all about to me. Not just an expensive doll but someone who had a personality, etc.

    Thanks for the tip on the reading site. I am kinda old fashioned as I still enjoy holding a book. I know numerous people who have the different sets including my family. We just have to dig them out.

    Thanks again!

    Gloria

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    1. Jen Post author

      I agree, I have always connected to a doll through the book… I love way Valerie Tripp in particular makes her characters so relatable.

      What an amazing thing to do…sharing a book with someone experiencing early dementia. Far, far too young. You were very thoughtful to try to connect with her by reading books she had read to her students. 💗

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    1. Jen Post author

      Thank you! Brianna broke her phone before school closed, and I have to admit the iPhone 11 she bought herself takes amazing photos!

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