On March 29, 1959, at the American International Toy Fair, Barbie, a new doll produced by Mattel, was introduced to the world. According to the Antique Trader, since that day, Barbie has been marketed in more than 150 countries for sales of over one billion dolls.
This year celebrates Barbie’s 50th birthday. Through the years she has taken on a personality all her own. She's palled around with little sister, Skipper; "dumped" her boyfriend, Ken, who's tried to win her back; and changed careers as often as her costumes.
The story of Ruth Handler, Barbie’s creator, is examined in Robin Gerber’s Barbie & Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll & the Woman Who Created Her. This book, based largely on interviews and previously unexamined materials, focuses especially on Handler’s personal and business life. As a breast cancer survivor and a humanitarian, Handler’s story is fascinating.
Further Reading and Viewing
Collector’s Encyclopedia of Barbie Doll Collector’s Edition (2008) : The photos in this book can help to identify your doll and as a browsing book, it's great fun.
The July 8, 2009 issue of Antique Trader : America’s Antiques & Collectibles Marketplace features the cover story, “You go, girl! At 50, Barbie Still Shines Brightest.”
Barbie Nation : an Unauthorized Tour (DVD documentary) examines the Barbie obsession from the perspective of both fans and foes. The DVD contains adult content and is not recommended for kids or Barbie purists.