Pleasant Rowland Net Worth (2024)
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Pleasant Rowland Net Worth

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Pleasant Rowland Net Worth, Biography & Lifestyle: Pleasant Rowland is an American educator, entrepreneur, reporter, writer, and philanthropist. She is widely recognized for founding the American Girl brand through her Pleasant Company and also for her efforts to restore historic properties in Aurora, New York, in collaboration with her alma mater, Wells College.

Pleasant Rowland has a net worth of $310 million.  

After a long research, we’re delighted to bring you the details of Pleasant Rowland net worth, and also:

  • Pleasant Rowland’s early life, childhood, and education;
  • The inspiration for the American Girl dolls;
  • Her philanthropic work;
  • Her personal life and relationship;
  • And many more…

It’s undoubtedly an admirable life and career; we laud Miss Rowland for her efforts in making history interesting for young children and preserving historic properties, as well as for her philanthropy.

Ready to get to know the great lady behind the famous American Girl dolls?

Let’s begin!

Who would’ve thought that a love of history could turn into an immensely successful doll-making business?

Well, that was the case with Pleasant Rowland.

After graduating from college, Pleasant Rowland spent years jumping from one career to another until one visit at a historical site inspired her to start her own company, the American girl brand that produces well-made and historically accurate dolls. It eventually became a success as the company found a niche. 

Pleasant Rowland also founded the Rowland Reading Foundation and has been active in restoring historic properties. For her efforts, she has been awarded the American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award in 1999, the Jane Bradley Pettit Award for Distinction in Philanthropy in 2009, the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame in 2010, the Wisconsin Governor’s Award, and the Association of Educational Publishers’ Hall of Fame.

Read on for more of Pleasant Rowland’s empowering story.

Who Is Pleasant Rowland?

Pleasant Quick Overview

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Pleasant Rowland Net Worth: $310 million
Source of Wealth: Business ventures, writing career
Spouse/ Relationship: Jerome Frautschi (m. 1977 – present)
Date of Birth: March 8, 1941
Place of Birth/Nationality: Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, United States / American
Children: None

Pleasant Williams Thiele Rowland was born on March 8, 1941, in County Cook, Chicago, Illinois. She was raised with her three siblings, including future Chicago Horticultural Society president Barbara Whitney Carr, in Bannockburn, Chicago. Her father was the Chicago-based advertising executive Edward M. Thiele, who would later become the Leo Burnett ad agency President.

Pleasant Rowland attended Wells College and graduated there in 1962. Soon afterward, she entered various careers.


Pleasant Rowland started as an elementary school teacher in the early 60s, which lasted for six years, and in 1968, she jumped ship and became a television news reporter.

One day, Rowland met a Boston Educational Research representative while she was on duty. The impressed representative lured her away from her television news reporter job and hired her in their company, giving her the position of the director of product development.

While working there, she created and wrote reading textbooks for children, which were widely used in schools all over the country. Additionally, she also developed a comprehensive language arts program called “Beginning to Read, Write, and Listen.” She worked at the company until 1978.

Pleasant Rowland founded Superkids in 1978 with the goal of improving reading education for young students. Even today, the Superkids Reading Program, a phonics-based program that combines writing, reading, grammar, and spelling while adhering to Common Core state standards, is still utilized in schools across the US.

In 1981, Pleasant Rowland was able to purchase the Children’s Magazine Guide, a library resource geared at elementary school children, with royalties from her textbooks. She increased the publication’s  circulation before selling it in 1989. 

While visiting Colonial Williamsburg in the early 80s, an idea occurred to Pleasant Rowland…

Disappointed at the lack of books for children at the gift shop there, she took it upon herself to write a Williamsburg guide for children. She pitched the idea to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, which commissioned her to create an illustrated family guidebook.

As Rowland has always loved history, she became enthused about the idea of teaching young girls history. While thinking of new and exciting ways to do that, she suddenly thought of dolls.

Her resolve to create historical dolls increased when she found that most of the choices for children’s dolls are either glamorous types of Barbie dolls or bland Cabbage Patch dolls— that time was the perfect time to introduce something unique, which was a historically accurate, finely made historical doll that will surely be a great way to teach history to children.

Using the royalties she received as a textbook author, Rowland founded the Pleasant Company in 1986. The company immediately started manufacturing American Girl dolls. Intensive research has been done at the Smithsonian Institution and New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology in the process of designing the first three American Girl Dolls.

Each American Girl doll has its own stories that are set in various historical time periods. Under the brand American Girl, the company also produced audiocassettes, accessories, clothes, and books that are specifically designed for each doll. The expensive price of the dolls didn’t stop customers from buying them, as they are of premium quality and were made painstakingly.

The American Girl doll company soon expanded quickly, adding books, girls’ apparel, and a slew of additional accessories, including dollhouses and children’s furniture. By the end of the decade, the company’s sales had dramatically increased to $30 million, and the staff had also grown. The company would later grow into a $300-million business.

For $700 million, Pleasant Rowland sold the Pleasant Company (now American Girl) to Mattel in 1998. As of 2008, it’s only second to the Barbie doll in terms of US sales. 


Pleasant Rowland bought the New York-based bankrupt retailer, MacKenzie-Childs, in 2001. It soon became profitable again after the restructuring of the company’s management team under Rowland. However, eventually, Rowland sold it to the Twin Lakes Capital business partners Howard Cohen and Lee Feldman in 2008.

Aside from her business ventures, Pleasant Rowland is also known for her philanthropy and her efforts to restore historic properties.

The former educator established the Rowland Reading Foundation in 2003, a non-profit organization that aims to promote the Rowland Reading Program, which includes the Superkids Reading Program and the reading readiness program Happily Ever After, as well as to assist early reading instruction research. It also provides educational materials and assistance in training teachers. 

Pleasant Rowland has restored more than ten historic properties around Aurora, New York, where her alma mater, Wells College, is located, since 2001.

Personal life

Pleasant Rowland

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Pleasant Rowland married Madison-based businessman and fellow philanthropist Jerome Frautschi in 1977. They have been happily married since then. The charitable couple has given significant contributions to Madison, including a $250 million gift for the establishment of the performing arts center and museum, Overture Center for the Arts.

How Old Is Pleasant Rowland

Pleasant Rowland is 80 years old, born in Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, United States.

Pleasant Rowland  Height & Weight  

Pleasant Rowland is 5 feet and 4 inches or 1.64 meters (164 cm) tall.

Other Quick Facts:

  • Eye Color: Blue
  • Hair Color: Brown
  • Zodiac Sign: Pisces
  • Smoking / Drinking: No
  • Tattoos: None

How Much Is Pleasant Rowland Worth?

American entrepreneur and philanthropist Pleasant Rowland has a net worth of $310 million.

Pleasant Rowland Net Worth Year By Year

YearEarnings $
2016$305.9 million
2017$306.3 million
2018$307 million
2019$308.2 million
2020$309.5 million
⭐⭐Pleasant Rowland Net Worth & Biography⭐⭐ Height Age Weight ✔ Merchandise✔ Background, Family, Relationships✔ Career Highlights✔ Lot More

Pleasant Rowland Merchandise

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Happily Ever After

A Pleasant Rowland reading readiness program set of tape cassettes

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American Girl 35th Anniversary Collection – 18-inch Original Kirsten Doll with Accessories and Book

The anniversary edition of one of American Girl’s first original dolls

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Beginning to Read, Write, and Listen

A set of useful educational materials, including letter books and pop-out cards, developed by Pleasant Rowland

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