American Girls

American Girls

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The series you loved, book by book. Join Allison Horrocks and Mary Mahoney as they explore the wild world of American Girl fandom. In each episode, Allison and Mary will dive into an American Girl book from their (and perhaps your) childhood. Using their knowledge as professional historians and finely tuned instincts as amateur pop culture critics, they’ll take you back to a very different time—the 1990s.


Classy, Bougie, Ringlets: Samantha Learns a Lesson
Jul 6 • 72 min
In the second Samantha book, we find her well established in a private academy, and just learning about class. Tasked with coming up with a speech on progress, Samantha summons her inner Elon Musk and preps for her big moment —while also finding the time…
Living in a Material World: Meet Samantha
Jun 22 • 73 min
With this episode, we go back to one of the original American Girl stories: Meet Samantha. Published in the age of Reaganomics, this AG asks a lot of questions from a place of tremendous privilege — and we are along for the ride. Though she has every…
Material Girls: An Interview with Caroline Moss
Jun 8 • 76 min
Girl grows up longing for a Bitty Baby and her accoutrement. Girl writes several books and launches a hilarious podcast. Fast forward to 2020: girl agrees to a shopping challenge and Beanie Baby market speculation on our show. Dear listeners - meet…
Addy Add On: The Syllabus
May 29 • 44 min
A lot has changed since the “Peek into the Past” chapters were written in the Addy books more than twenty years ago. In that time, the web has gone from a slow novelty to something we carry with us. More importantly, we now also have a new cultural form -…
Addy Add On: Origins
May 25 • 63 min
Who are the real people who became the basis for the Addy story? What happened to black women who liberated themselves, only to find a life of restricted freedoms in the north in the 19th century? Join us for this conversation with public historian Vera…
Addy & Lacey & Mary & Allison
May 11 • 70 min
For our first bonus episode on Addy, we spoke to Lacey Wilson, a public historian based out of Georgia. Lacey talked with us about growing up with Addy and her trajectory into a career in museums. Lacey also divulged details about the best college paper…
Philadelphia Freedom: Changes for Addy
Apr 27 • 69 min
As a British Knight once taught us, some people choose to live alone; some people choose the city. In the final book of the Addy canon, the search for baby Esther, Aunt Lula, and Uncle Solomon continues. When the family is reunited, it does not feel so…
No Strings Attached: Addy Saves the Day
Apr 13 • 69 min
In book five, Addy Walker gardens in the sun and learns to empathize with Harriet despite the shade. While fundraising for refugees, Addy and her family tend to a garden plot while dealing with Harriet’s snark and classism. Addy defies Harriet and pulls…
Pocket -Sized Pod: Pandemic Edition
Apr 6 • 36 min
In our last episode, we took some of your most pressing questions and left out content related to histories of medicine & disease. In this smaller mailbag pod, we talk about social distancing in the Kirsten era, Samantha’s experience with the 1918 flu…
Will You Accept this Mailbag Episode?
Mar 30 • 75 min
Your date card has arrived, and we can’t wait to share what’s on our hearts. Join us for a very brief detour out of 1864 Philadelphia and into our mailbag. On this episode, we answer your questions on favorite historical sites, the books we’ve read this…
An Armistice Aries: Happy Birthday Addy
Mar 16 • 72 min
In the fourth book of the Addy series, our young hero learns that sometimes you do get to have your ice cream and eat it, too. The spring of 1865 finds the Walker family in new circumstances. Poppa has come north, the family has moved out of the garret,…
A Philadelphia Story, A Surprise for Addy
Mar 2 • 72 min
In this third Connie Porter joint, we find Addy Walker longing for reunion and bracing for a lonely Christmas in Philadelphia. While this book has all the hallmarks of a typical AG “Surprise” book (a holiday! a doll! a father/daughter moment! moms…
Queen Bees and Spelling Bees: Addy Learns a Lesson
Feb 17 • 70 min
Newly arrived in Philadelphia, Addy and her mother set out to build a new life. Addy begins attending school and quickly learns the value of good friends (we see you Sarah) and the lure of the mean girl (not cool, Harriet). On Wednesdays, Addy wears pink,…
Connie Porter’s Inferno: Meet Addy
Feb 3 • 74 min
Book one of Addy Walker’s story opens in a hot and hellish plantation cabin. By the end of her first story, Addy and her mother have taken their freedom, escaping bondage together. In this episode, Mary and Allison examine the corporate origins of Addy’s…
Three’s Company
Jan 30 • 2 min
What costs three dollars a month and will change your life? https://www.patreon.com/americangirlspodcast
Living History: The Kirsten Project
Jan 20 • 76 min
Fan fiction can take many forms. With that in mind, this episode goes off book and dives feet first into the world of historic textiles. After responding to our invite via Pony Express, Jessica Quirk, founder of The Kirsten Project, agreed to talk about…
How the West Was Fun: Changes for Kirsten
Jan 6 • 96 min
Riffing on Janet Shaw, the wise songstress Sheryl Crow once said: “a change would do you good.” As we read the sixth Kirsten book, we heeded these wise words and phoned a friend. For our discussion of Changes for Kirsten, we are joined by NY Times…
A Peek Into the Past, A Peek Into the Pantry
Dec 23, 2019 • 66 min
In this very special episode, Mary and Allison meet up with historian and chef Gwen in an undisclosed location. Armed only with munchkins and sheer grit, they set out to make some Food Network magic. As the author and cooking genius behind the blog “A…
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Kirsten Saves the Day
Dec 9, 2019 • 69 min
Before Jessica Alba had a hip-hop dance career, few may recall that Kirsten Larson was also making gold from honey. In the fifth Kirsten book, we find our young hero has become an unbearably brave woman of the woods. Undaunted by wild bears, Kirsten…
How to Make a Swedish-American Quilt: Happy Birthday, Kirsten!
Nov 25, 2019 • 74 min
Snitches get stitches, but in this episode, we will see that secret-keepers like Kirsten get full hand-sewn quilts. Book four brings us straight into Gemini season, and plot twists and literal twisters abound. As the family makes plans for both a new barn…
I Love Lucia: A Surprise for Kirsten
Nov 11, 2019 • 62 min
We know that not all heroes wear capes. In this episode, we learn that some explore “secret” caves and wear crowns. In “A Surprise for Kirsten,” a poorly timed trek to get luggage results in a near disaster for our eponymous hero and her father.…
Little Schoolhouse on the Prairie: Kirsten Learns a Lesson
Oct 28, 2019 • 69 min
During this episode, Mary and Allison channel a young Kirsten Larson and immediately hit the books. Diving right into Kirsten’s second story, the hosts start by examining her jarring introduction to the American classroom and all that entails (spoiler:…
She’s on a Boat: Meet Kirsten
Oct 14, 2019 • 69 min
In this episode, we talk about the misadventures of not one, but three American girls who have found themselves in the Big Apple. After briefly recounting their experience at the American Girl Store in New York, NY, Mary and Allison launch into Kirsten’s…
Josefina’s Journeys II: The Care & Keeping of Grief
Sep 30, 2019 • 63 min
On this very special episode, Allison and Mary talk with Allison Marek, a psychotherapist specializing in working with people with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and trauma. After we Meet Allison, she teaches us about the enneagram and shares her…
Josefina Journeys Part 1
Sep 16, 2019 • 68 min
In this episode, the hosts examine fan fiction about Josefina Montoya. After quickly realizing that there was a comparative dearth of material about Josefina and the Montoyas, Allison and Mary got to work and commissioned their listeners. As we are now…
Winter of their Discontent: (Nothing) Changes for Josefina
Sep 2, 2019 • 75 min
In the last book in the Josefina canon, we find that it is not just comedies that end in weddings—sometimes tragedies do too. To bring the Montoyas’ story to a close, author Valerie Tripp arranges a marriage between Papa and Tia Dolores, who will now take…
Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe?
Aug 19, 2019 • 75 min
In Josefina Saves the Day, the Americans have arrived and things get (el Camino) Real for the Montoyas and everyone’s favorite interloper, Tia Dolores. For this summer story, the family visits grandpa’s compound just outside of Santa Fe for a big trade…
Mailbag!
Aug 5, 2019 • 58 min
Why do fools fall in love? Why is the earth round? What is the meaning of life? Does Mary have a seltzer preference? We answer some of these questions, and many more, in this very special episode. During this brief detour from Josefina’s summertime…
Cake, Rattle (snake), and Roll - Happy Birthday, Josefina!
Jul 22, 2019 • 71 min
Josefina: you know her, you love her, and at this point, you wish she could just catch a break. In book four, we find Josefina learning healing practices, both losing and then gaining a goat, and getting shortchanged on her first double -digit birthday.…
Christmas in July & Other Surprises for Josefina
Jul 8, 2019 • 68 min
Surprise! We are three books into the Josefina series and everyone in the Montoya household is still super sad. As Mary and Allison continue their exploration of Josefina’s colonial world, they find her Christmas story to be both deeply moving and riddled…
Josefina Learns a Lesson …or Did She?
Jun 24, 2019 • 69 min
In Episode 10, we explore Josefina Learns a Lesson, the second book in the Josefina series. One lesson we learn right away is never to judge a book by its (beautifully illustrated) cover. Though this book promises a school story, what it delivers is a…
Meet Josefina, Mourn for Selena
Jun 10, 2019 • 72 min
In episode nine, we turn our gaze to the American Southwest & the youthful, plucky Josefina Montoya. Our analysis of Josefina’s books begins with two powerful questions—first, given the place and time, is this the story of a colonial girl? Second, just…
Felicity Futures Part II- The Film
May 27, 2019 • 63 min
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it at least a dozen times: if Felicity was good enough to launch Shailene Woodley’s career, it is more than enough for this podcast. In episode eight, we consider Woodley’s turn as a spunky colonial frenemy in Felicity:…
Felicity Futures Part I - Fan Fiction
May 13, 2019 • 53 min
Upon completing the six canon Felicity books, Mary and Allison turn to fan fiction. In addition to reading some fans’ stories that fall within the Valerie Tripp timeline, they investigate alternative narratives, including a Men in Black II crossover.…
You Say You Want a Revolution-Changes for Felicity
Apr 29, 2019 • 0 min
If times are a changin, why does so little happen in this book? During this final Felicity saga, friendships are tested, grandfathers and town frenemies fall ill, and a foal is born. While reflecting on this journey we’ve taken with Williamsburg’s fave…
Looking for a Hero: Felicity Saves the Day
Apr 15, 2019 • 64 min
In book five, it’s the summer of 1775 but the spirit of 1776 is heating up along with the temperatures in colonial Virginia. Mrs. Merriman is pregnant, Mr. Merriman is having financial troubles, and Felicity is her usual spirited self - so the family of…
Felicity, Sweet Birthday Babyyy
Mar 31, 2019 • 68 min
Typically the magazines we talk about are Us Weekly and People but in this episode, Mary and Allison get into the Williamsburg gunpowder plot of 1775. Book four features Felicity’s birthday and the knowledge that as she enters her double digit years,…
A Surprise Party in the (Not Yet) U.S.A.
Mar 17, 2019 • 67 min
There’s a governor’s ball and Felicity WILL dance (and cry along the way) if she wants to in Felicity’s Surprise. In unpacking this third installment, Mary and Allison discuss the extent to which the title character’s surprise is not just a new dress or…
Felicity Learns a Lesson—Will We?
Feb 28, 2019 • 64 min
Loose lips may sink ships, and in Felicity Learns a Lesson, we learn how loose tea and teeth can bring down an empire…or just a bratty imperialist. In this episode, Mary and Allison question Felicity’s bonafides as a friend, whether Ben Franklin was an…
Meet Felicity, Meet Us
Feb 28, 2019 • 56 min
In their very first episode, Mary and Allison talk about their origin story, attending American Girl Live! as thirty-somethings, and Valerie Tripp’s masterwork Meet Felicity. While exploring the world set out in the Felicity books (1770s colonial…
Trailer
Feb 23, 2019 • 2 min
Join historians and friends Allison Horrocks and Mary Mahoney as they relive the American Girls series one book at a time. New episodes every other week. Debuts March 1st. —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.…