Barbie - The Early Years

Barbie Reproduction Dolls

The "Barbie" doll was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler. She came up with the idea while watching her young daughter Barbara play with fashion paper dolls representing adult women. At the time, most dolls represented either babies or young children. The "fashion" dolls of the late 1950's such as "Miss Revlon" or "Toni" were dressed in adult styled clothing, but their faces had a very young and childlike look. Mrs. Handler saw the opportunity to introduce a new and more sophisticated doll that a young girl could use to imagine a "grown up" world.

Ruth Handler Ruth Handler

(Photo on left from People Magazine. Photo on right from "Barbie the Visual Guide to the Ultimate Fashion Doll" by Dorling Kindersley)

Ruth Handler passed away on April 27, 2002. In memory of her and as a tribute to the early history of Barbie, I've put together the following pages. They highlight several of the reproduction dolls produced by Mattel over the past few years and represent Barbie from 1959 through the late 1960's. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Number 1 Ponytail - 1959 Barbie No.1 Ponytail

Bubblecut - 1961 Barbie Bubblecut

Swirl Ponytail - 1964 Barbie Swirl Ponytail

American Girl - 1965 Barbie American Girl

Barbie Twist 'n Turn - 1967 Barbie Twist 'n Turn

This page last modified 18-May-2002

Copyright 2002 - - all photos are property of this website and may not be used without permission

All dolls on this website are part of a personal collection and are not available for sale.

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