It’s been a while since I’ve posted any photos of dolls, creepy or otherwise. Here’s the Historiann Barbie family lineup, from left to right, according to the copyrights stamped on their bums: Barbie 1958 (the original!), Barbie 1962, Barbie ca. 1977, and Malibu Barbie 1966. (They’re not in chronological order, because Malibu Barbie is missing a leg and had to be propped up against the window frame. Malibu B. has other health problems–like the creeping melanomas that she’ll surely suffer now that she’s in her 40s and still sporting that kind of a tan.) Barbie 1958′s skin has become discolored by the copper posts of the real earrings she’s worn for 50 years now, and her hair has to be worn on top of her head because she looks rather bald otherwise. (Note her resemblance to Dare Wright and Wright’s creation, Edith, in The Lonely Doll.) Barbie 1962 is holding up better than all of them–she’s a survivor.
Something that we girls of the 1970s and 1980s missed out on was the quality, high-fashion Barbie clothing that was the doll’s signature from her introduction in the U.S. in 1959 until the late 1960s. These Barbies are wearing items from a hand-knitted couture collection from the early 1960s, courtesy of a co-worker of Historiann’s grandmother, whose name is lost to history but whose remarkably detailed handiwork has survived nearly 50 years of children tugging and pulling the garments on and off. (She must have used Barbie-scale knitting needles! And these items are less than a fifth of the entire collection, which includes a bathing suit, an ice-skating outfit, a peignoir, a caftan, and multiple skirts and tops.) Of course, as a child I thought these clothes were dorky and old-fashioned compared to the sleazy, poorly manufactured but more contemporary fashions that Barbie ca. 1977 and Malibu Barbie came with, but then, I used to think Sean Cassidy and Leif Garrett were pretty great, too.