Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
July 2, 2022
american-girl-doll

COURTESY OF ELLIE ROSE MATTOON

As a child, Mattoon owned her very own Josefina doll.

I would say I owe a lot to the American Girl doll books. 

For those of y’all who had a sad childhood, The American Girl Collection is a set of book series that follow girls through different periods of American history, from 1770s Virginia to 1970s San Francisco. Each character was also available as a doll with additional furniture and clothing for purchase.

While receiving a Josefina doll under the Christmas tree one year is a special memory, learning each doll’s story was even more valuable to me. Reading books about Kit, a girl growing up during the Great Depression, helped me connect with my grandma and talk about her experience growing up during that time. Likewise, you know I aced all my tests about the pioneer era thanks to Kirsten’s stories. And of course, meeting someone who also grew up reading these books is an instant way to make a friend!

When I first got my Josefina doll, I was 7 and she was 9. Now I’m 19, but Josefina remains perpetually the same age. I thought it would be interesting to imagine what some of these ladies would be like if they ended up following me to Hopkins!


Josefina

  • Major: pre-med Public Health
  • Study spot: Mudd Atrium
  • Brody Learning Commons (BLC) Café order: hot chocolate with cinnamon

In my opinion, Josefina’s books hit a bit too deep. Her series begins with the death of her mother and the destruction of her family’s sheep herd on a Mexican rancho. However, over time Josefina becomes a healer’s apprentice and begins to see her family stitch itself back together. Josefina has just the right amount of family trauma to guilt herself into studying 24/7, although I hope she takes a break every once in a while to chill with her goat Sombrita on the beach. 


Kirsten

  • Major: Neuroscience
  • Study spot: the Beach
  • BLC order: Dirty Chai

Kirsten’s books have cottagecore pioneer vibes, no doubt — but there’s more to her than covered wagons and flower fields. Kirsten immigrates to Minnesota from Sweden with her family, and one of her biggest challenges is learning how to communicate with both English speakers and a local Native American tribe. In college, Kirsten always tops the Duolingo leaderboard and landed a research coordinator position studying language acquisition in the Neuroscience Department.


Samantha

  • Major: Economics and Women, Gender and Sexuality
  • Study spot: Gilman Atrium
  • BLC order: London Fog latte

Samantha grew up during the women’s suffrage movement and is always down to talk about feminism. She also comes from old money and knows that women’s rights come through control of their pocketbooks. Samantha often misses the dark academia aesthetic of her Grandmary’s estate in Mount Bedford, but hopefully with enough visits to Hampden and swipes of Grandmary’s credit card, she can decorate her apartment to feel just like home. 


Rebecca

  • Major: English with a Theatre Arts minor
  • Study spot: Merrick Barn
  • BLC order: mocha

Rebecca is excited to be an actress one day, and it’s clear that life in a crowded New York City apartment is not enough for this starlet. Instead, she was born for luxury. Catch her signing up for every Barnstormers production and telling anyone who will listen about the time she spotted John Waters at the Rotunda.


Kit

  • Major: Writing Seminars with a Social Policy minor
  • Study spot: the Gatehouse
  • BLC order: black coffee

Behold, the character every News-Letter editor aspires to be, our journalist icon Kit! Kit’s books chronicle the 9-year-old reporting on the Great Depression from her attic bedroom as her family takes in boarders to make ends meet. Kit realized at Hopkins that she could take her advocacy skills to the next level by learning about inequities  in the Baltimore community. Don’t you dare complain about the gas prices to Kit, or you will learn about how in her days she had to wear dresses made from chicken feed sacks. 


Julie

  • Major: Environmental Engineering
  • Study spot: Rec Center
  • BLC order: iced matcha with oat milk and honey

Julie comes all the way from San Francisco, and she’s definitely a bit of a hippie. Her time nursing rescued eagles back to health wasn’t lost on her, and she’s hoping to use her degree to shape climate change policy. However, Julie’s day has lots of breaks for keeping her basketball skills in shape; she’s captain of the intramural team and is ready to crush the next match!

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