Black Barbie/Dolls History

By veelow
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    First manufactured dolls

    Produced in Germany and France, countries that dominated the porcelain and bisque doll industry. The occasional black dolls portrayed the “exotic beauty” of dancers or opera characters.
  • National Negro Doll Company

    R.H. Boyd started National Negro Doll Company where he imported elegant black porcelain dolls from European dollmakers and selling them in the US.
  • National Negro Doll Company goes out of business

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    Topsy Dolls Manufactured was inspired by the black slave child of the same name featured in Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

    From the early-to-mid 1900s, many doll companies chose the name, Topsy, for black dolls and incorporated a minimum of three braids or tufts of hair on the dolls' heads in an effort to portray the book's character. Ralph A. Freundlich, Inc.'s Goo-Goo Topsy (1937-1940s) with molded curls and Nancy Ann Storybook's (NASB) 1950s Topsy were both maids/servants/companions to the companies' white dolls, Eva and Eva, respectively.
  • Ruth Mosko and Elliot Handler meet and fall in love.

  • Ruth and Elliot marry. They begin to manufacture items.

    Ruth and Elliot marry. They also begin production in the first garage workshop where Elliot made lamps, picture frames, hand mirrors from Lucite. Ruth was sure she could sell them. Forced to stop working in the garage. Elliot found a tiny place in LA—3030 W. Olympic Blvd. This would become their first workshop. Harrold “Matt” Matson made the oven that Elliot needed to work and became a part of production.
  • Mattel is formed in late October

    Harrold "Matt" and Elliot come up with their name-- Matt + El = Mattel. They move their operation to 6058 Western Ave after their first $6000 big order.
  • New plastics developed during the war

    Suddenly, vinyl and hard plastic dolls were cheap and easy to churn out of the factory. But the mass-production of plastic dolls was so streamlined that, for manufacturers, making special molds of dolls with African American features seemed like an unnecessary cost. That's why most of the vinyl and hard plastic dolls were white. The black dolls that were sold by companies like Horsman or Terri Lee were most often white dolls painted brown or dipped in brown dye.
  • Ruth, Elliot, Matt launch a new company named Mattel out of a garage workshop in SoCal.

  • Mattel is incorporated with HQ in LA.

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    NASB Doll- manufacture Topsy, young slave girl in Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic book, Uncle Tom's Cabin.

    Black Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls' Historical Significance:
    Early 20th Century dolls manufactured by a female entrepreneur.
    Black and white dolls share the same molds.
    Black dolls' facial features are not stereotypical, unlike many early 20th Century black dolls that had exaggerated facial features.
    Black dolls are characteristically stereotypical, depicting blacks as subservient, which was the norm during the 1930s through 1950s.
  • Sara Lee Doll- first non-painted brown doll

    Sara Lee Creech took 500 photos of black children in order to make the first non-painted brown doll called the Sara Lee Doll.
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    Ideal Toy Company sells her vinyl doll

    First doll not painted brown or dipped in brown dye
  • Barbie released

    The most famous vinyl doll, Barbie is released on March 9th. Controversial because of her womanish figure.
  • Barbie Doll Makes Her Debut

    Barbie soon leads Mattel to the forefront of the toy industry
  • Mattel becomes publicly owned.

  • Ken Doll Joins Barbie and becomes her one and only boyfriend.

  • Mattell issues Francie doll as a black woman

    Mattel issued a Francie doll as a black woman, but she didn’t sell well
  • Christie- black fashion doll

    Mattel produced another black fashion doll, Christie, probably made from an altered mold of Barbie’s less-glamorous white friend, Midge, who was accepted as Barbie’s pal.
  • Mattel rolls out hot wheels and their first ethnic friends of Barbie. Christie who is Black. Theresa who is Latina. Kira who is Asian.

  • Julia-inspired by TV show "Julia"

    Mattel introduced the Julia, inspired by the TV show “Julia,” in which Diahann Carrol played a widowed black nurse.
  • Cara- ballerina

    Mattel released Cara a beautiful ballerina that came with a beautiful tiara and a pink tutu.
  • launch of official Black Barbie

    Mattel introduces the official Barbie with black skin—BLACK BARBIE. She came with a red business suit and to many, resembled Felicia Rashad, TV's then super mom, Claire Huxtable.  Since then, Black Barbie has stood beside her original in varying skin tones, facial features and hair styles to resemble and reflect African Americans.
  • Naomi Campbell Barbie

  • Brandy Barbie

  • TLC Barbie

  • Venus and Serena Williams Barbie

  • Ruth Handler dies on April 27th at the age of 85.

  • Diana Ross Barbie

  • Halle Berry Catwoman Barbie

  • Destiny's Child Barbie

  • Raven Symone "That's so Raven" Barbie

  • Kimora Lee Simmons Barbie

  • Halle Berry Die Another Day Barbie

  • Janet Jackson Barbie

  • Elliot Handler dies on July 21st at the age of 95.

  • Nicki Minaj (Self-Professed Barbie)

  • Jennifer Lopez Barbie Doll