Robert Tonner’s Love for Barbie – Doll History, Collecting & Tonner Doll

Barbie Love, Collecting and Tonner Doll

We were all very moved by the pure love for Tonner Doll Darla showed as a long time Barbie collector who purchased her first Tonner Doll (video bottom below). So much so that Robert began reflecting upon his own early serious Barbie collecting and the place she had in his own design evolution, as well as in doll history. Above are his thoughts in somewhat in response to Darla, but also on Barbie in general, a rare look into the specialness of Barbie and her connection to his company. Just below is the first Barbie commercial from 1959 with the zipper up the back of the dress which Robert mentions in his talk.

Barbie’s ground breaking appearance, first aired on the Mickey Mouse Club in 1959. Robert notes how different she was from everything that preceded her, from proportions to exquisitely detailed clothing, a revolution in dolls.

And if you didn’t see it, this was the video from Darla opening her very first Tonner Doll after many years of Barbie collecting that got Robert thinking that there was an important Barbie story to tell. You can read her letter to us here, and even talk to her directly on Twitter at @darlatierney.

Tell Us Your Experience Too

What are your own experiences and history with Barbie? What role has she played in your own development of Tonner Doll love? How do you see her in doll history? We would love to know. If you’d like to write something about yourself to share with others  on our blog feel free to email, we’d love to here: Kevin at

Tyler Wentworth

Robert talks about how his early Tyler Wentworth was the first Barbie lineage creation taking up specific qualities from vintage Barbie. For the curious be sure to check out our present day Tyler line  as she evolved, as well as all our fashion lines.

Click to visit Tyler


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