The History of Barbie: A Timeline
- 1958: Ruth Handler develops the idea of Barbie.
- 1959: Barbie debuts. The vintage era of Barbie begins.
- 1960: Barbie dolls number 3 and 4 are released.
- 1961: Number 5 is released featuring different hair colors. Enchanted Evening
debuts. Barbie boyfriend Ken debuts.
- 1963: Fashion Queen Barbie debuts with three interchangeable wigs. Barbie
soon-to-be best friend, Midge, is introduced.
- 1964: Barbie is marketed in a pink swimsuit. Barbie doll eyes open and close.
Skipper, Barbie's little sister, is introduced.
- 1965: Barbie "American Girl" is introduced. Fashions inspired by the First Lady
Jacqueline Kennedy are marketed. More lifelike with legs that bend. Miss Astronaut is
- 1966: Color Magic Barbie debuts. Lunch on the Terrace, Pretty as a Picture, and
Shimmering Magic are marketed. Barbie’s cousin Francie introduced. Barbie’s little sister and
brother, twins Tutti and Todd, debuts.
- 1967: Twist ‘N Turn Barbie is introduced. Fashion Shiner and Braniff Boarding
Outfit are marketed.
- 1968: Barbie speaks for the first time (English and Spanish). Six different phrases
are said, including "I have a date tonight", "I love being a fashion model", and "Let's have a
- 1969: Ken is reintroduced with muscles and a new head, knees that bend, and the
ability to speak.
- 1970: Living Barbie is introduced. She has elbows, knees, and ankles that bend. Her
head, waist, arms, hands, and legs swivel.
- 1971: Malibu Barbie debuts. Growin’ Pretty Hair Barbie debuts. Barbie doll's demure
side-glancing eyes now look straight ahead.
- 1972: This is the year that the modern era of Barbie begins. Walk-Lively Barbie and
Talking Busy Barbie are introduced. Talking Busy Barbie can communicate. Talking Busy Barbie
has rotating wrists and hands can hold accessories.
- 1973: Quick Curl Barbie is introduced. Ken doll's hair comes with straight or curly
hair and a removable beard, sideburns and two moustaches.
- 1974: Barbie turns sixteen. A section of Times Square in New York City is renamed
Barbie Boulevard for a week.
- 1975: Barbie Olympic skier, gymnast and skater are marketed poseable with a "gold"
medal. Barbie Get-Ups 'N Go new careers as a doctor, surgical nurse, ballerina and a flight
attendant. Barbie Dream Boat is introduced.
- 1976: Ballerina Barbie debuts. Barbie of the Century for the bicentennial
celebration is dressed in a red, white, and blue dress. Her red skirt is decorated with the
American flag. A line of revolutionary soldiers in uniform are also supplied.
- 1977: SuperStar Barbie is introduced. Eighteen inches (457 mm) tall Super Size
- 1978: SuperStar Barbie gets the SuperStar Stage Show. Fashion Photo Barbie has
photo shoots posing on a modeling stand.
- 1979: Pretty Changes Barbie debuts.
- 1980: Black Barbie, Hispanic Barbie, and the International Collection are marketed.
The International Collection initially including Italian Barbie, Parisian Barbie, and Royal
U.K. Barbie. The first Barbie doll convention is held.
- 1981: Western Barbie doll goes country with Westward Ho and Classic Cowgirl.
Dallas, her palomino horse, debuts.
- 1982: Pink & Pretty Barbie debuts. Black Magic Curl Barbie debuts. Eskimo Barbie
and India Barbie are added to the International Collection.
- 1983: Twirly Curls Barbieis marketed. Dream Date Barbie dates Ken. Angel Face
Barbie has her own makeup line. Swedish Barbie and Spanish Barbie are added to the
- 1984: Barbie doll's 25th Anniversary. Barbie & Ken Day is declared by New York
Mayor Ed Koch. Tiffany's creates a sterling silver Barbie doll. The International Collection
becomes the Dolls of the World Collection. Swiss Barbie and Irish Barbie are introduced.
- 1985: Day-to-Night Barbie debuts. Andy Warhol releases his Barbie painting. Barbie
doll exhibition finishes its travels from France and nine U.S. cities.
- 1986: Barbie joins a band, The Rockers. Dream Glow Fashions that glow in the dark
is marketed. Blue Rhapsody Barbie is introduced. It is the first Limited Edition collector
Barbie doll. It is the first porcelain doll. Astronaut Barbie travels to space. Peruvian
Barbie and Greek Barbie debut.
- 1987: Barbie's wild Concert Tour fashions take a cue from pop star Madonna. The
World Collection adds Icelandic Barbie and German Barbie.
- 1988: The Happy Holidays Series debuts. Benefit Performance 1967 Barbie is added to
the Limited Edition porcelain dolls. Mardis Gras Barbie debuts. Canadian Barbie and Korean
Barbie are introduced.
- 1989: Barbie doll's 30th Anniversary. 1200 Pink Jubilee Barbie are given to
invitation-only attendees. Army Barbie is marketed.
- 1990: Sophisticated Lady Barbie is added to the Limited Edition Porcelain
Collection. Bob Mackie Gold Barbie is introduced with over 5,000 golden sequins and beads. It
is Dolls magazine's "1990 Award of Excellence" and Doll Reader magazine's "Doty Doll of the
Year Award." Air Force Barbie debuts. Nigerian Barbie and Brazilian Barbie join the Dolls of
- 1991: Starlight Splendor Barbie and Platinum Barbie are added to the long line.
Navy Barbie doll is introduced. Gay Parisienne Barbie doll is marketed. Czechoslovakian Barbie
- 1992: Stacie is introduced. Marine Corps Barbie debuts. Barbie store opens at FAO
Schwarz in New York. Crystal Rhapsody Barbie debuts is the first mail-order Barbie doll. It is
part of the Presidential Porcelain Barbie Collection. Neptune Fantasy Barbie and Empress Bride
Barbie are marketed. Benefit Ball Barbie of the Classique Collection is introduced.
- 1993: 1920s Flapper Barbie and Gibson Girl Barbie of the Great Eras Collection are
introduced. The First Edition Native American Barbie debuts and is added to the World
Collection. The Masquerade Ball Barbie debuts.
- 1994: Barbie doll’s 35th Anniversary. Mattel reproduces the original number 1
Barbie. Limited Edition Jubilee Barbie is introduced and only 5,000 were made for domestic
distribution. Kenyan Barbie and Chinese Barbie join Dolls of the World. Hollywood Legends
Collection begins with as Scarlet O' Hara Barbie. Queen of Hearts Barbie is marketed.
- 1995: Mattel’s 50th Anniversary. Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Barbie is
released. Kelly is introduced. The second doll in the Hollywood Legends Collection with
Dorothy Barbie from The Wizard of Oz is introduced. Goddess of the Sun Barbie debuts. Rapunzel
Barbie debuts as part of the new Children’s Collector Series.
- 1996: Barbie web site is available. Moon Goddess Barbie debuts. Barbie Millicent
Roberts Collection debuts. Limited Edition Vintage Reproduction Poodle Parade Barbie is
introduced. Hollywood Legends Collection features Barbie as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.
- 1997: Harley-Davidson Barbie, a Toys 'R Us and Harley-Davidson dealership
exclusive, debuts. Official Barbie Collector’s Club debuts. Marilyn Barbie is added to the
Hollywood Legends Collection. Grand Premier Barbie doll, the first doll for club members only
is marketed. Limelight Barbie is introduced. Billions of Dreams Barbie debuts. Classic Ballet
Series with Sugar Plum Fairy Barbie.
- 1998: Sunflower Barbie, second in the Artist Series, is marketed. Happy Holidays
Barbie doll series ends. Timeless Sentiments Collection is introduced with the Angel of Joy
Barbie. Nolan Miller's Sheer Illusion Barbie and Vera Wang's bridal gown Barbie debut.
Harley-Davidson Barbie #2 is released.
- 1999: Silken Flame Barbie doll selected as a 1960s lifestyle for the U.S. Postal
Service's Celebrate the Century™ stamp series. Le Papillon™ Barbie and Crystal Jubilee Barbie
debuts. Barbie doll's 40th Anniversary. New face sculpting is used on Coca-Cola Barbie, NASCAR
Official #94 Barbie, and Barbie in the Barbie and Kenny Country Duet Set. Collector Edition
40th Anniversary Barbie is released. Gala Edition 40th Anniversary Barbie has a very Limited
Edition of 20,000 dolls which are given to Toy Fair Gala attendees.
- 2000: Barbie for President debuts. Limited Edition dolls production is reduced to
quantities of 35,000 or less. Barbie celebrates the year 2000! Barbie 2000, Millennium
Wedding™, and Sydney 2000™ Olympic Pin Collector become part of the Most Collectible Doll In
The World series. Hollywood Movie Star™ Collection with Barbie as part of the Golden Age of
Hollywood is marketed. Barbie Fashion Model Collection debuts. Barbie Silkstone™ is introduced
- 2001: The Cher Barbie doll debuts. Jeannie Barbie From I Dream of Jeannie™ and The
Munsters™ Barbie Lily and Ken Herman Munster are introduced.
- 2003: Saudi Arabia's "Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of
Vice" (the muttawa or "religious police") declares that Barbie's provocative clothing is
offensive to Islam. The doll is already banned in the kingdom as a "Jewish" toy, but are
available as contraband. "Jewish Barbie dolls, with their revealing clothes and shameful
postures, accessories and tools are a symbol of decadence to the perverted West. Let us beware
of her dangers and be careful."
2004: Barbie and Ken's breakup is announced.
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