The 1960s era for dolls is marked by several unique historical factors. First, the dolls were, for the first time, broadly advertised on television directly to children. Second, vinyl plastic dolls became the norm for play dolls. Finally, doll manufacturing in the United States shifted to other companies, including Japan and Hong Kong, after many decades of American dollmaking being the king. The dolls from this era are also near and dear to my heart, since these were the dolls of my childhood; as a child, I personally owned six of the dolls on this list! Here are the best of the dolls of the 1960s.
1. Barbie DollsI need to obviously start this list with the queen of dolls…the doll that changed dolls forever. Barbie was introduced in mid-1959, and with an aggressive advertising campaign and a fairly new concept (hand-sized doll to dress with multitudes of dolls and accessories, sort of like a three-dimensional paper doll), Mattel had a huge hit on their hands. Barbie was not without controversy of course, due to her womanly figure, however both girls and moms loved Barbie and made her the hit she remains to this day. The 1960s era of Barbie dolls is the one most eagerly collected by vintage doll collectors today; the earliest 1960s Barbie dolls were an interesting mix of girl-next-door and glamour; by the end of the 1960s, Barbie was the embodiment of groovy!
Liddle Kiddles produced in the 1960s by Mattel were placed in a line, they would reach to the moon! I don’t know if that is true or not, but it gives a great visual image to the ubiquity of Liddle Kiddles in the 1960s. First on the shelves in 1966, Liddle Kiddles derived their popularity from their tiny size. They were inexpensive, and adorable, and little girls couldn’t resist collecting them (if you are an antique doll collector, a bit like tiny all-bisque dolls were collected in the late 1800s and early 1900s!). They also each had a story and accessories, such as Alice Wonderliddle , and Alice in Wonderland Kiddle who was sold with a white rabbit and illustrated storybook, from 1968.
Tammy and Friends were made by Ideal, and they were made to be a direct competitor of Barbie. Tammy was also a teenage doll with a lovely variety of separately sold outfits and accessories to purchase, but Tammy was more flat-chested and appealed to mothers who found Barbie’s curvy shape scandalous. Tammy also had a little sister Tammy, and a mom and dad and cousins; an entire family of dolls to play with. Tammy was only on the market from 1962 through 1966.