At the age of 41, Barbie is one of the longest living toys in America. While she may not be the face of America, she has a well-known American face that not only created the doll industry but also set the standard. Her many faces, hairstyles, careers, and even wardrobe luxuries are seen nearly everywhere you go. Barbara Millicent Roberts, better known as Barbie, made her debut at the America Toy Fair in New York City in the winter of 1959. Barbie has continued to evolve with the changing times. She is an American icon that young girls everywhere idolize. Nearly five decades later, Barbie is not only for young girls any longer, adults everywhere collect the different Barbie dolls, and her accessories. While she may not be loved by everyone, no one can deny that she is the best selling doll of all time. Born November 4, 1916, Ruth Handler grew up to be a mother, and an American business woman. Ruth Handler, her husband Elliott Handler, and their business partner, Harold Matson, formed Mattel Inc. Elliott was a crafty designer and had started the business making picture frames, this eventually grew into doll-house furniture from the left over plastic and wood scrap’s. As the business grew, the Handler’s were also enjoying sales success from plastic ukuleles, toy pianos and music boxes. However, that was only a fraction of what the company was destined to become. Ruth Handler had observed her daughter Barbara playing with two-dimensional paper dolls and acting out her life as an adult. She thought it would be great if young girls like Barbara and her friends had a real doll with real clothes to play and interact with, so she took the idea to Mattel. The all male committee rejected the idea saying that it would be to expensive and would not withstand the times. Ruth was discouraged but had not given up all hope. While vacationing with her family in Europe in 1956, Ruth stumbled upon the doll that would change everything. Bild Lilli, often
References: Conrad, C. (Spring 2005). Barbie: A Cultural Icon in America. Retrieved October 21, 2008, from http://www.accd.edu/sac/honors/main/papers%2005/Cathlena%20Conrad.htm
Halcik, B., Turner, A., Fonseca, J., & Timmons, J. (Comps.). (n.d.). History: How Barbie Came to Be. Retrieved October 21, 2008, from http://iron.lcc.gatech.edu/~gtg818w/history.htm
Hall, D. & Hall, S. (Ed.). (2006) American Icons: An Encyclopedia of the People, Places, and Things that Have Shaped Our Culture. (pp. 51-57). Greenwood Publishing Group.