Betty and Barbie

Have you seen the new “Barbie” movie yet?  We took a look through our collections and were surprised to learn that Mrs. Ford celebrated Barbie’s 16th birthday with the doll’s creator, Ruth Handler, in 1974!

Ruth Handler and Betty Ford cut into a cake celebrating Barbie’s Sweet Sixteen birthday at the Hospital for Sick Children on April 10, 1974.
White House Social Office, Subject Files: FL13; September 11, 1974; Barbie 16th Bday
Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

At the time of the Sweet Sixteen party, Mrs. Ford was serving as Second Lady of the United States.  Just a few months later, after her husband assumed the presidency, Handler sent the following letter to the now First Lady, which garnered a response from Mrs. Ford shortly thereafter.

Subscribe and stay tuned for another post down-the-line about Ruth Handler and another connection to Betty Ford through one of her creations!

Authors: Brooke Clement and Dr. Richard Weld