A White-Bodied Doll is a term that refers to dolls that have white cloth torsos instead of flesh-toned ones that more closely match the limbs. A white cloth torso indicates that this is one of the earliest dolls produced by American Girl from 1986 to 1991.
Only three dolls have been or can ever be white-bodied: Samantha, Kirsten, and Molly. At the time, all the clothing offered for the dolls fully covered the body with collars up to the neck and so did not spoil the realistic visual look of the dolls when they were dressed.
The white cloth bodies were changed to a flesh tone with Felicity in 1991 because of the low-cut necklines of colonial fashions. While there are rumors of white-bodied Felicity dolls, they have never been proven true.
There are some slight differences between these and later Pre-Mattel Dolls. These dolls were made in West Germany and often have clothing tags that indicate this. Early dolls have variations in eye placement, hair type, and expression, and some collectors document the differences and specifically look for dolls with certain shades of eyes or types of hair.
Some of the white-bodied dolls have numbered autographs from Pleasant Rowland on their torsos. While she also autographed some Felicity and Addy dolls, she signed many more of the original three characters, and these dolls are more easily found on the secondary market.