March 9 ~  Barbie Doll Ultimate Barbie Doll Book: Identification and Price Guide

"I thought the Barbie doll would always be successful." ~ Ruth Handler


Happy Birthday, Barbie...

The most famous doll in the world made her debut on this day in 1959. The 11 1/2-inch, flesh-toned vinylplastic doll, named Barbara Millicent Roberts, was introduced by the Mattel Company at the American Toy Fair in New York City and revolutionized the toy industry.

Ruth Mosko Handler (1931-2002) invented the doll that "girls could play out their dreams" and named it after her daughter, Barbara. (Ken was named after Handler's son.)

The doll's physical appearance was modeled after a voluptuous, three-dimensional German doll, Lilli. The original doll was made in Tokyo, Japan, and fashion designer Charlotte Johnson created Barbie's wardrobe. The first Barbie had a ponytail and was dressed in a black and white striped swimsuit with sunglasses and high-heels. She sold for $3.00.

In a 1977 New York Times interview, Handler said, "Every little girl needed a doll through which to project herself into her dream of her future."

Building childhood dreams, Barbie's rise to cultural icon status has caused controversy. Critics said the doll gives girls unrealistic career and physical goals. Yet others point out that the indpendent, successful doll was way ahead of her time.

Ignoring critics, Handler said, "The consumer wanting that doll is more important than the theories of some adults who have their own negative feelings."

And the consumer has spoken... Loudly. In 2007, sales exceed $1.6 billion.

Make a good product at a fair price--then tell the world.