Mattel's Growin' Hair Barbie (1971)
Mattel’s Growin’ Hair Barbie (1971)

By A. Glenn Mandeville

Q: This version of Mattel’s Barbie doll really spoke to me on eBay. I had not heard of this doll and was very happy to have won her. I took her out of the box eventually, because the hair play factor was too hard to resist! I am sure as usual you have more information to tell me.

A: Yes! When Barbie first came out in 1959, it was all about the clothes. Many children (including myself) were horrified to find out the doll was bald when one took the ponytail down. Hair play was never a factor on the dolls. Even the change in 1965 to the American Girl pageboy with bangs was not fully rooted. Actually, the Color Magic Barbie in 1966 was the first doll with hair that could be styled.

The Ideal Toy Corporation had huge success with many dolls, including the Crissy/Velvet line of dolls that had a “growing” strand of hair at the top of the head. In fact, American Character in 1963 offered Tressy, who also had a long hair strand that added to the fun. Mattel, never one to take a back seat to current trends, thought that hair play was needed in the Barbie doll line.

Thus, your doll in the gorgeous pink dress came with two additional hairpieces as well as a styling book. The stock number was #1144 and the doll was available everyplace. Today they are hard to find mint in box because it was so tempting to play with the hair! Please use extreme caution when removing the doll from the box as she can be extremely fragile, especially in the area where her limbs attach to her torso. Her value is about $150 in mint-in-box condition. This Barbie doll was so successful that a similar doll was issued in 1972, dressed in a long granny gown with additional hair pieces. This is a great doll and I am glad that you are enjoying her!

A. Glenn Mandeville is the author of numerous books on dolls and doll collecting and writes his Curious Collector column for each issue of DOLLS magazine. Send your queries about vintage and modern dolls, with photos, to Curious Collector.

Read the rest of Glenn’s Curious Collector column in DOLLS May/June 2020 issue.

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