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03 January
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Alaska

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Alaska becomes a state on this day in 1959.  President Eisenhower signed the official declaration which made Alaska the 49th state on this day.

New Flag Unveiled; 7 Staggered Rows Have 7 Stars Each – New York Times

On March 30, 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward signed an agreement with Baron Edouard Stoeckl, the Russian Minister to the United States.  Widely referred to as “Seward’s Folly”, it ceded possession of the vast territory of Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million. Few citizens of the U. S. could fathom what possible use or interest the 586,000 square miles of land would have for their country. In a speech given at Sitka (the capital until 1906, when it was moved to Juneau) on August 12, 1868, however.

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0103.html#article

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska#Statehood

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~cap/bartlett/49state.html

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09 March
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Barbie Introduced to the World

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The company Mattel was founded in 1945 by Elliot Handler and Harold “Matt” Matson. The company name was a combination of the too names Matt and El from Elliot. Which of course is Mattel. Before Mattel was Mattel, it was a small picture frame shop, that Harold and his wife Ruth Handler owned. They started to create toy furniture in the 1940’s. When the toy furniture became a better seller than the picture frames, they changed the company to a toy company. In the 1950’s after Mattel had already been founded Ruth was in Switerland and happened to purchase a German doll called Lilli. Lillit was the inspiration for Barbie. Why call it Barbie? Ruth’s daughter’s name was Barbra and her son’s? One guess…yep, Kenneth. So, there you have the history of the names at least.

Happy Birthday Barbie!

Barbie (the doll) was first shown at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. This date is also the date of Barbie’s birthday. Making her 52 years old today! And she still looks great. There were 350,000 Barbie dolls sold in that first year. Barbie even has a full fictional biography in case you were wondering her full name is, Barbra Millicent Roberts. Her parent’s names are George and Margret and she lives in Willows, Wisconsin (not a real place).

Barbie and Ken

colette-barbie-and-ken


She has had an on-again-off-again relationship with her boyfriend Ken Carson, who she met in 1961. On Valentine’s Day 2004, the couple broke it off, but recently they got back together. Mattel staged a huge transmedia campaign at barbieandken.com.

You can follow Barbie on Twitter at @BarbieStyle and Ken at @OfficialKen. They also have Facebook pages (Barbie, Ken), because even at 52 and 50, they are still hip.


 

Further Learning:

Text sources: http://www.dolls4play.com/barbiehistory.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbie

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