When I was around ten years old I was introduced to the American Girl books by my mom. At the time only Felicity, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, and Molly were available and after I finished those books I wanted more. I can’t quite remember but I think a librarian introduced me to the Magic Attic series. I fell in love with them and checked out a whole bunch from the library. Then, I did a terrible thing. You know how at the end of every AG book there’s a paper postcard to send in to request a catalog? Well, it was the same for the Magic Attic books. And I wanted a catalog so badly that I ripped it out of one of the library books. I remember walking to the mailbox feeling like a criminal, but it was worth it. A catalog arrived at my house right away!
Since you readers have all enjoyed my posts about old AG catalogs I thought I’d do one on the Magic Attic Club too. For even more information, and pictures, and history of this brand visit Just Magic Dolls. Like AG, the history of Magic Attic started before I got interested so visit the above link for more.
I’m going to feature the catalogs starting in 1997, the catalog I received by my criminal act. The pages of that catalog have been turned so many times by my sister and I especially when we were kids, it’s amazing it is in such good shape!
In case you’re not familiar with the Magic Attic club, it’s about a group of local friends who find a new friend, an adult piano teacher, who has an attic that’s full of magic. Anytime one of the girls puts on clothes from the trunk or the closet and looks in the mirror, they will find themselves transported to another place and sometimes another time depending on the costume they’re wearing.
The first page of the catalog opens up to the newest adventure all of the girls took at the same time called Trapped Beyond the Magic Attic. It is a Christmas story, so they are wearing holiday dresses.
Close up of Alison and Keisha:
And Heather and Rose:
I would say almost every Magic Attic outfit I’ve ever put on my dolls (and that’s a lot of outfits) is right on par with AG being very high quality. Alison’s coat is real velvet. There is gorgeous detailed lace on Rose’s dress. And what’s even better about these clothes compared to AG is that I would say about 85% of them have snaps instead of Velcro!
The next page features Rose first, because she was the newest doll at the time.
If you zoom on the little picture on the bottom left corner, you can see her accessories include a really neat watch.
Rose’s Native American outfit is not nearly as wonderful as Kaya’s in terms of quality. Her magicians outfit includes a skirt along with the pants in case she wants to be more girly.
I don’t think AG makes enough long, foofy princess dresses like Rose’s. Her thick flannel nightgown has pretty lace and working buttons.
Alison isn’t really a pink girl, so I’m glad there’s more blue in her meet outfit than pink. Her pink shirt underneath her jacket is long sleeves which is good for mix and match potential but tricky to not have the sleeves bunch up while you try to put the jacket over it.
Magic Attic sells girl size backpacks that look just like Alison’s in her accessories. There is even two straps (on the girl size one) to hold your doll.
I’ve used her Arabian outfit so many times especially on Halloween, but Alison herself never gets to wear it! It usually goes on Rose or some other darker skinned doll.
Her tightrope outfit has so many pieces; she looks great in just the leotard, and you can add the little skirt for extra pizzazz, and her cloak is reversible.
A very recent Lea post showcases Alison in her hiking outfit. I can never get the laces of the shoes to look like the ones in the catalog.
Hello AG, my slim dolls have so many princess dresses and my AG girls have zero from you!
Her skating outfit is not a big favorite of mine. Do real skaters wear those weird arm warmers? I actually use them underneath dresses I know stain doll vinyl.
Alison’s nightgown is very pretty (reminds me a little of Samantha’s old one), but it has Velcro and it kind of needs a shift underneath to cover the holes in the eyelet lace.
Keisha has thinner hair than Addy but I would say it is the same texture. Addy’s strands of hair might be a little thicker.
I LOVE Keisha’s croquet dress. All my slim dolls fight over who gets to wear it as an Easter dress. Wearing a petticoat under it really helps to fluff it up.
I have multiples of these bathing suits and each of them is unique as far as the pattern and colors go. The shoes are tricky to get on the doll because they are so tight. Two of mine ended up ripping.
I noticed the postcard was blocking the snow princess page so here’s another one where the sleigh is visible.
The only AG cheerleader outfit I own is from 1996 and it’s much thicker than Keisha’s.
Keisha’s nightgown has artificial buttons, it velcros in the back.
I’m sure you can tell by now, each doll has their own favorite color. Megan’s is very yellow!
The cowgirl outfit is so well made with a heavy fabric but the hat is kind of weird because it’s felt. It looses its shape if you don’t put tissue paper in it.
Megan’s skis are thicker and bigger than any AG ski I own. I also am pretty sure they’re made of wood. Her boots are annoying. There is a tiny rubber square that is attached to the heel and toe so the boot can attach to the skis. The squares aren’t long enough on my boots so Megan’s skis keep sliding off every time I touch her. Her fuzzy boots are really cute and very eskimo-like but they are very hard to get on and she almost has to wear shorts because the boots are so tall and there is no way you can stuff pants in them once they’re on.
Her medieval outfit is so beautiful and shiny. That hat makes her so tall. Unfortunately, this is one of the rare occasions where the dress has Velcro and is very prone to snagging.
Does Heather’s Hollywood display remind you of Rebecca’s movie sets? Especially the settee? I would say Heather’s is far more glamorous.
Her gypsy shawl is beautiful, heavy lace. I don’t like her very hot pink vest. It just doesn’t fit the outfit and it is much more hot pink than in the catalog.
My dolls use these two outfits a lot. Her ballgown princess dress with the cloak creates a totally different look than when it’s not on.
Even though they’re all sold separately, I love how Heather’s Ballerina page kind of has 3 different outfits, the performance set, the practice leotard and the jacket. Her bag keeps a lot of items.
Heather’s horseback riding outfit is 5 pieces; the velvet boots, thick riding pants that slim down the leg making it really easy to tuck into the boots, a white sleeveless blouse (I’ve used this for mix and matching many times), a thick red riding jacket and a kind of flimsy hat (what’s with Magic Attic making the flimsy hats? At least everyone’s hat that goes with their meet outfit is wonderful in terms of looks and quality).
I don’t own any of the bedroom sets but if Magic Attic were in business today I would get Heather’s. I love canopy beds and Heather’s looks so princess (girly sigh). Her nightgown is thick flannel like Rose’s but it velcros in the back.
This page shows the wardrobe, trunk, and mirror that you can buy. You can buy the mirror on ebay for far less than retail (I got mine brand new for $14). Up on the top right side of this photo shows what looks like paper dolls of the Magic Attic girls, but I think they’re felt? They’re called magicloth dolls. I’m not really sure. The rest of the page shows girl clothing and the backpack I mentioned before, plus replacement items!
The last page of the catalog shows what’s new: Rose and her adventures, and each of the older dolls get one new adventure. Below is a close up of the executive directors comments:
Catalog from 1998:
I LOVE the cover of this catalog because it is a display of the very first Magic Attic book, where Alison (in the blue coat holding up the key) finds a key on the ground (or does the key find her?) and they ask the owner of the house behind them if it belongs to her, and she tells them it’s the key to her magic attic and they can use it whenever they like. There is just one thing wrong with this photo. The dolls should not be in the holiday dresses because they discover those dresses in the second book, long after their discovery of the key. They should be in their meet outfits. Oh well, they do look nice in their party outfits.
This year, just like the year before, each of the dolls get a new book and adventure set. Alison gets her totally awesome river raft. If you are looking for a kayak for your dolls this would be my first choice because it’s smaller than Jess’s and it’s a blow up, which also makes it much easier to store than Lea’s (although Lea’s really isn’t that big, it’s also smaller than Jess’s). I’ve also heard that Jess’s kayak is likely to tip over in the water but Alison’s is tried and tested by me and will not tip over unless there are waves. Mine didn’t come with the paddles or helmet so I use mini spatulas instead.
Her life jacket is made of thick foam with a strong zipper. I think it looks more like a life jacket than anything AG has made. Her blue sleeved jacket is windbreaker material and snaps in the back (it looks like it might snap in the front, but it looks really dumb that way). Her shorts are bike rider shorts and her sandals are really cute and easy to get on.
The cooler is a mini replica of cloth coolers I’ve owned and contains orange soda and an orange, both very well made (the soda can is heavy).
Megan sure looks different in this picture doesn’t she? That’s because you could buy hair extensions. You stuff the plastic part on the ends of her curls into her hair (I usually make a bun with her real hair before doing this) and the braids have snaps on the ends. The braids are not so great. You have to store them carefully if you don’t want little hairs coming out and making it messy and they’re too short to make a headband. I hardly ever use them.
In the middle of this catalog is a postcard to join the magic attic club and receive their newsletter.
If you join, you get a big white envelope in the mail,
which contains a letter of welcome and your official Magic Attic membership card and another card with the logo.
I thought I’d take another picture of the backpack so you can see it better, doesn’t it look just like Alison’s? I’ve seen both of them sold together on ebay.
A message from Robert Tonner who created the dolls themselves. At this time Knickerbocker (the company of Magic Attic) was already going through financial difficulties, and later in 2001 they offered to sell the brand to Tonner himself but he said he was not interested.
Before we knew Melody was going to be a 60s girl, I was really hoping for a 20s doll. I love Keisha in this outfit and her story is great! Again, wonderful snaps with this outfit, no velcro.
I do not own Maryellen’s sock hop outfit but I do have the Halloween sock hop outfit AG came out with in 1999 and it is much better quality than Heather’s. Heather’s skirt is stiff felt and her shoes look like they’ll fall apart. Her sweater is very nice and the petticoat REALLY fluffs out any dress. I’ve even used it on AG dolls without snapping it.
I love Rose’s beach set. AG makes 2 in 1 bathing suits but Rose has a 3 in 1 bathing suit that mix and match with themselves! Underneath her shoddy hula skirt is her bikini top and shorts. Or you can dress her in a one piece blue bathing suit and have that just plain, or dress it up with the shorts from the bikini or the sarong that has two snaps. Her sandals are stiff foam and fall off all the time. Her flower lei and anklet even fit AG dolls.
I only have a couple of outfits from this camping set but they are very cool. Keisha’s sweatshirt is very warm and thick. The pajamas (down at the bottom) button up with little heart shaped buttons. The sleeping bag is really thin and velcros instead of zippers. I wish I had the volleyball net. It looks super cool but I’ve never seen it on ebay.
Things begin to change with the 1999 catalog:
Only two new things for this year, a new group adventure, and Rose gets a new book and outfit but none of the other dolls do. You can already see how Knickerbocker is hurting for money. I love, love, love these sea cruise party dresses. I use Rose’s the most as a Christmas, St. Patrick’s day, and Easter dress. The ribbon belt is removable, making it look less spring-like without it. Megan’s is my favorite. The eyelet lace and embroidered flowers are So pretty. Keisha’s is nice too although since her dress is longer you can’t see the petticoat peek out. All of these dresses come with cute petticoats that work for every Magic Attic dress ever made. Alison wears hers for Easter and 4th of July. Take a look at her hat. It is so cool because 5 ribbons come with it, so you can interchange the ribbons on the hat and they can all share it! How cool is that!? Heather’s dress is also pretty. I love the gathering of flowers at the waist. Her shoes are tricky to get on while wearing socks.
The little table next to Rose is like a wooden tv tray because it can fold. It can also break if you drop it from a high up display area which I did, and I had to glue all of the legs back together again!
The only Magic Attic book I have not read is the Jewel of the Sea Cruise. No libraries around me have it, so I guess I’ll have to see if I can buy it.
Rose’s adventure. She is a huge soccer fan and her jersey and jacket match the quality of the AG soccer outfit from 1996 that I own.
Things really change in the 2000 catalog because there are no more new adventures for anyone and no new books. Instead, there are just new fashion outfits.
Alison’s outfit is my favorite. The catalog pic is really different than real life. The outfit I have is light blue denim, not the dark blue you see in the picture. Megan’s and Rose’s t-shirts are exactly the same just different colors. The bottom part looks like embroidered dancing girls forming a circle around the shirt with their hands held wearing colorful skirts that is actually a fringe. It’s really hard to see in the catalog, so if you want to see it up close, comment below and I’ll try to take a pic of the real thing.
A new Magic Attic message:
More extras. The dress and outfits Alison and Megan are wearing are patterns you can buy. You cannot buy those outfits.
The catalog layout has changed with the pictures being much smaller.
And very sadly, the bedroom sets have disappeared and so have Megan and Heather’s yellow and pink teddy bears. Why did they discontinue those but keep Alison, Rose, and Keisha’s?
Pictures of the different layout. Nothing new.
Outfits all crammed together. They don’t get their own page anymore.
WAIT! Oh my gosh, I forgot! Megan gets special treatment with a new adventure! I love this set and her outfit. The belt buckle is metal and the hat I have looks nothing like the one in the catalog pic. (see my post, January Jungle to see Megan in this outfit).
Accessories and a contest.
The contest: I think this was a pretty cool idea but I never entered.
The Christmas catalog of the same year features GORGEOUS new Christmas/party dresses.
They ALL look SO much better in real life. They all come with a mesh petticoat that really fluffs the dresses up. Megan’s is the most sophisticated (hence the title of the outfit) with the silver belt and black velvet trim. Heather’s is the thinnest dress but it’s supposed to be that way. It almost looks like it’s two pieces but they’re attached in the back. Rose’s is all velvet making it a veeery heavy dress. Keisha’s is so pretty. I need to use it more often.
Again, let me know if you want to see better pics of them than in this catalog by letting me know in the comments.
MagicAtticClub.com becomes available. I never visited the site so I can’t say anything about it.
The nightgowns for each doll you’ve seen previously have been replaced by this: They are still really nice modern pjs. The pants have a tie waist and the top front buttons really work. The terry cloth robe is longer than any of the AG ones and the slippers are adorable. The sleeping bag matches the pjs and is thick until you wash it in a washer that rips a hole in it and eats it up. Yes, that happened to me. grrr.
Magic Attic copies the Bitty Babies by introducing a new doll line:
They’re cute, but their mouths make too much of an O shape which I don’t like. I will always think my Jonathan (my very first baby doll, I have no clue what brand he is or where he came from) and the Bitty Babies are the cutest baby dolls ever.
This is a teeny weeny spring catalog. It’s less than half the size of the regular catalogs which are the same size as the older AG catalogs.
Nothing new of course so I only took a photo of one page:
Last page: Original nightgowns sold for the last time.
The 2001 catalog is similar to the 2000 catalog with only fashion clothes that are new.
Lots of cheetah prints. Rose’s outfit is very shiny and silver. Her jacket has Velcro and no hood which is a bummer.
For a last gasp, Magic Attic introduced a new doll (and a catalog exists but I don’t own it) but no book or anything else. And since I don’t have a catalog showing Chloe, I do have a poster. Here she is along with everyone else and their brand new meet outfits.
I don’t like Chloe’s meet outfit. The sleeveless shirt with the crocheted flower is great but her jacket does not close and the decorated buttons fall off all the time. Her capris are too short and her sandals are too big! Chloe the doll is really cute although I believe she was a disappointment to many magic attic fans when she came out. People were hoping for an Asian doll but when a blond blue eyed Rose face mold doll came out, not many bought her and she is very rare on ebay. I’ve seen people try to sell her for $300.
I really like these meet outfits, they’re all mix and matchable with other outfits. Rose has a skirt, a striped halter top and jacket that’s lined with the print of the skirt. Heather’s is a pretty dress with a sweater that buttons and matching underwear, Megan has a thick sweatshirt, halter top and adorable shorts with pockets. I don’t own Keisha’s, and Alison has a long sleeve yellow shirt and blue pull over with a butterfly in the corner.
In 2003, everything changed (see the link above for the details). The dolls got new meet outfits again and there were no more catalogs. Instead, you got a little pamphlet that would come with whatever you bought:
Megan gets a new face mold. (My Sara is really a Megan with this face mold and her hair cut very short). Heather gets a very fluffy hot pink outfit.
Keisha’s hair gets changed.
And now, you can just buy these fashion outfits.
Here’s the back of one of the fashion boxes showing all the outfits available.
Magic Attic is tossed from company to company for many years and none can make it successful, so sadly, in 2007 Magic Attic closes and will probably never revive again. I love these dolls and their books (hence why I have such a large collection) and I’m grateful for how long they did survive.