A Brief Look at the History of Barbie Dolls

Barbie Doll HistoryIf you were a little girl growing up in the 1970s chances are you or a girl you knew had a Malibu Barbie doll. “Sunset Malibu Barbie” pretty much defined Barbie throughout the 1970s. The beach blonde California girl with a twist ‘n turn waist came with an aqua blue nylon one-piece swimsuit, round lavender sunglasses and a yellow beach towel. With her aqua blue centered eyes, brown eyebrows, peach lips and a hint of blush, this pretty Barbie doll sold millions through 1977.

Barbie dolls actually got their start in 1959, as the first Barbie doll went on display at the American Toy Fair in New York City. Did you know that this eleven-inch-tall, blonde-haired Barbie doll was the first mass-produced toy doll with adult features in the United States?

Ruth Handler was a mom who saw her daughter tire of playing with “baby” dolls, instead opting for paper “adult” dolls made of paper. She thought to herself, “What if girls had “adult” dolls to help them imagine their futures?” Handler, who co-founded Mattel, Inc., made her idea a reality, naming the new doll after her own daughter, Barbara.

Mattel utilized TV to promote Barbie. Commercials for her helped sell a whole lot of dolls to a whole lot of young girls in the 1960s. In 1961, Mattel gave Barbie a boyfriend, the infamous “Ken” doll– named after Handler’s son. Later on, Midge the best friend was introduced followed by Skipper, the little sister.

During the 1960s, 70s, 80s, etc., the Barbie universe has expanded to include cars, “dream houses,” other characters, and, of course, plenty of “job outfits,” from astronaut to doctor and then some. More than 800 million Barbie dolls exist nowadays, and Barbie has become a global icon, like Mickey Mouse, Hello Kitty, or Ronald McDonald.

Gigi’s Dolls has Barbie clothing for sale as well as a handy guide book covering vintage Barbie dolls. Check here for actual vintage Barbie dolls.

As one of the most popular and beloved dolls of all time, it’s no surprise that Gigi’s Dolls has Barbie represented in its for sale offerings.

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