- "Samantha" redirects here. For the doll, see Samantha Parkington (doll).
Samantha Parkington is one of the first three Historical Characters, representing the Progressive Era/Early 20th Century in America. Samantha was first released in 1986 at the launch of Pleasant Company along with Kirsten Larson and Molly McIntire.
In October 2008, American Girl announced that they would archive Samantha's entire collection; she, Nellie O'Malley, and their collections would become unavailable for purchase. The Samantha doll initially sold out on Feb 3, 2009, and official archiving was on May 31, 2009. Samantha's books, the movie, and the two Mini Dolls remained available for purchase.
On February 17th, 2014, American Girl's Facebook page stated that Samantha would be rereleased in Fall 2014 ; she was rereleased with the launch of BeForever and the first character to be rereleased from the archives. She is also part of the 35th Anniversary Special Edition Rerelease.
Personality and Facts
Samantha (occasionally nicknamed Sam) is an orphan who, at the start of the series, is living with her old-fashioned Grandmary. Samantha only remembers her parents faintly; they died the summer after she turned five. She seeks the approval of Grandmary and does not want to disappoint her or worry her. She has been partially raised by her Uncle Gardner who is the major father figure in her life; she wants to please him and does not want to be left out of his life even after his marriage.
Samantha is curious which leads to her asking a lot of questions from the people around her and thus questioning the status quo. She can be very defiant when she feels she has been wronged. She is very interested in her parents and their lives, as they died in a boating accident when she was five years old and is compared in looks to her mother. She has a rough side such as climbing trees and feels it is very hard to be a young lady. She often thinks fancifully, such as when she believes Jessie has left to be an actress and that her uncle may be a spy. Samantha is rather bold and mischievous and playful, generally going places she should not, sneaking off, and even standing up to her mocking neighbor, Eddie Ryland. Samantha is beguiling and bursting with ideas, and is very imaginative.
Samantha is fun and loves to laugh. She is loyal, giving, and helpful. Her friends consider her a life saver because she's all heart and ready to help others.
Samantha likes progress, new inventions, and is interested in how things are changing in all ways at the turn of the century, though it's hard for her to adjust to changes within her family, as Samantha initially felt Cornelia changed her plans in Samantha's Surprise. At times she comes off as very naive due to her sheltered life; Nellie's more difficult life originally served as contrast to Samantha's well-to-do life. She is also very giving, having given up her doll to Nellie soon after receiving it to be a companion to her as well as giving her time to help her become better at school upon her return. She does not think this is merely helping a poorer person (noblesse oblige) and sees her as an actual friend.
She loves to read and her favorite book is The Wizard of Oz. Samantha can play the piano, although she does not think she has much musical skill. She loves to paint and someday wishes that she could be as good of an artist as her mother Lydia Parkington was. Samantha is not extremely skilled at embroidery but does good work; in her first book she completes a sampler, and in Samantha's Ocean Liner Adventure she embroiders a handkerchief. She either wants to be a painter like Mary Cassatt or the first female US President. Samantha is very good at public speaking and knows how to bring attention and persuade people of her ideas easily. She gives a speech in Samantha Learns a Lesson which helps her realize she's good at public speaking. She realizes that she is a great leader in Samantha's Special Talent.
American Girl characterizes her as compassionate and kind. She was also characterized at the American Girl Publishing site as "bright" and "generous."
Family and Friends
- Mary Edwards: Samantha's grandmother, Grandmary.
- Gardner Edwards: Mary Edwards' son, and Samantha's uncle.
- Cornelia Edwards: Samantha's aunt and Gardner's wife.
- Lydia Parkington: Samantha's late mother.
- Agnes and Agatha Pitt: Cornelia's younger twin sisters.
Friends and Minor Characters
- Nellie O'Malley: Samantha's best friend.
- Bridget O'Malley: Nellie's little sister.
- Jenny O'Malley: Nellie's little sister.
- Eddie Ryland: A troublesome neighbor in Mount Bedford
- Jessie: Grandmary's seamstress.
- Archibald Beemis: A friend to Grandmary.
- Elsa: The maid.
- Mrs. Hawkins: the cook.
- Hawkins: the butler and driver.
- Mike O'Malley: Nellie's uncle.
- Ida Dean: Samantha's friend from school.
- Samantha: An American Girl Holiday: The Complete Telescript of Samantha's Movie
- Lights, Camera, Samantha!
- Main article: Samantha Parkington (doll)
- While Samantha was initially marketed by Pleasant Company (and later American Girl) as from the Victorian Era, Queen Victoria died in 1901 and the series starts in 1904. There is always a slight overlap and blending of eras in history; however, the attitudes, social airs, issues, technology, and fashions of the stories place Samantha more properly as Edwardian by British metrics or, more accurately, the American Progressive Era. This is especially seen in the blurring of class issues seen through Samantha and Nellie. In the full Victorian Era, it was considered in very poor taste and unrefined for the wealthy to interact or befriend those beneath their station (such as their servants) or consider them equals, or consider the needs of the poor and working class beyond pity and disconnected philanthropic donations. For example, Nellie and her sisters would have most likely not have been adopted by another rich family, but Gardner and Cornelia are considered very progressive for their time and do not care about their daughters' previous class level in both supportive and personally ignorant ways. The series can be perceived as Victorian due to Grandmary, who is very traditional in mindset; however, she does change her mind and opinions quite often throughout the series, showing a shift in attitude from Victorian to Edwardian if classifying American eras by British terms. The more accurate for the United States would be a change from Gilded Age mentalities to Progressive Era. American Girl now accurately refers to the time period as "Turn of the Twentieth Century" or "America's New Century," though they occasionally refer to the era erroneously as Victorian.
- Along with Addy Walker, Samantha's original Central Series illustrations were replaced in 1998 as part of the Mattel deal. They and Molly McIntire are the only historical characters to have full image reillustrations done before post-BeForever formats. (Molly's illustrations changed hands twice with the last illustrator completing the changes by 1989.)
References and Footnotes
- 'Clue in the Castle Tower, pg. 146: [Samantha] loved to look at the yellowed parchment paper where her whole name, Samantha Mary Parkington [...]
- Mount Bedford is a fictional town. It was however based on Mount Kisco, New York; a house in 81 West Main Street served as the basis for Samantha's residence. A similarly-named town does exist, though.
- This is in most books after Changes for Samantha.
- Facebook Statement
- Samantha's Special Talent, pg.187: "I'm grateful for the money raised, and I'm impressed by Samantha's talents as a leader," Mr. Hardy said.
- American Girl Publishing - Samantha
|American Girl Historical Characters|
Caroline Abbott ♦ ★
Samantha Parkington ♦
Molly McIntire ♦ ★
|★ Archived / ♦ Part of the BeForever Collection|
|BeForever-Revised and Released Historical Characters|
Samantha Parkington ♦
Molly McIntire ♦ ★
|★ Archived | ♦ Re-released for BeForever | ♥ First Released in BeForever|