The Barbie Doll
The Barbie Doll

On the eve of her 60th birthday, a look at. America's most primped, perfect and polarizing plaything.

Robert Klara

In the weeks leading up to the national bicentennial of July 4, 1976, communities across America joined in the craze for shoving time capsules into the ground. Among them was the town of Lima, Ohio. But while Lima buried the usual payload of comic books and bumper stickers, local officials tossed in another item to signify local cultural life in 1976: a Barbie doll.

Barbie dolls were, and remain, common items to seal into time capsules, and why not? There are few toys—and certainly no single doll—as famous and enduringly influential as Barbie, who, incidentally, is turning 60 on March 9.

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February 25, 2019