Who Made That?

The Barbie Doll

How It Started

In 1951, Ruth Handler and her family took a trip to Europe. There, with her young daughter, she saw dolls that looked more like adult women than baby dolls. In the United States where she lived, however, most little girls had baby dolls that they played with. After this experience, she wondered why American girls didn’t play with dolls that looked like adult women, since most of them dreamed of growing up and pretended to be grown up. This is the idea that inspired Ruth Handler to create the Barbie doll.

Starting a Company

Ruth Handler, inventor of the Barbie doll, was born in 1916 in Denver, Colorado to parents who were Polish Jewish immigrants. She married her high school boyfriend, Elliot Handler and they moved to Los Angeles to open a plastics company.

Barbie Over the Years

Barbie finally changed with the times and came out with black and Hispanic Barbies in 1968. After that, Barbie and friends was introduced in the 1980s. In 2010, Mattel shocked many Barbie fans by announcing that Barbie and Ken were "breaking up." Finally, in the 2000s, customers were able to design their own Barbie using the MyBarbie website.

Joanna Imm

I'm a teacher at Henry Sibley High School in West St. Paul, MN