Barbie Dolls and Welfare Canneries: Efficiency vs. Value in Mormonism

Mattel’s Barbie doll made her first public appearance at a New York toy fair on March 9, 1959. I made my own debut a day later, somewhat west of New York and with a considerably less elaborate wardrobe and hairdo. My near-twin and I did not meet until Christmas morning of 1969, when a Talking Barbie (“Let’s go shopping!”) greeted me under the Christmas tree.

That Talking Barbie, with her sisters Living Barbie (whom I called “Babs”) and Growin’ Pretty Hair Barbie (anyone that glamorous could go by nothing less than “Barbara”), became the last dolls of my childhood, helping me transition from child to teenager in an era when 12 or 13 was not too sophisticated to play with dolls.

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