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Barbie Photographs

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: GU
Date: 31 Oct 2022

Biographical History

The first Barbie was released in 1959 by Mattel, Inc., the first ever mass-produced doll in the United States with adult features. She mimicked the glamour of 1950s movie stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, yet since then she has been constantly reinvented with new fashions and an adapted image.

The 1960s came with widespread social change across the United States, which gave rise to a new subculture of youth: the Mods (from modern). The Mods were affluent teenagers who used fashion to express independence, tolerance, and everything progressive and modern. Mattel responded to rapidly changing shifts in fashion associated with the Mods by giving Barbie a new look.

In 1967, Mattel introduced the Twist 'n' Turn Barbie and Francie dolls, the first Barbie dolls with the ability to bend at the waist. They also gave the dolls a more youthful face, a less proper look, and outfits incorporating bright colors and geometric patterns that were more relevant to Mod beauty standards. The new doll Francie was released in 1966, marketed as "Barbie's MODern cousin." She was released as a test doll before Barbie's modern makeover in 1967.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Barbie Photographs contains color photographs of Barbie dolls in various outfits. Most show a single blonde "flip hair" (a hairstyle that turns up at the end) Twist 'n' Turn Barbie doll. There are two that show blonde Twist 'n' Turn Francie dolls.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is arranged by doll name, and within that chronologically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advance notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Mattel, Inc. -- Barbie Doll Division


Barbie dolls -- 1970-1980.
Girls in popular culture -- United States.
Mod culture (Subculture)
Toy industry -- United States.
Toys -- Design and construction.
Women in popular culture -- United States.

Genres and Forms


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Barbie Photographs,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2022.

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