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Susan B. Anthony Museum & House works with Mattel on new Barbie doll

The new Susan B. Anthony Barbie doll.
provided photo
The new Susan B. Anthony Barbie doll.

In a year commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the bicentennial of Susan B. Anthony’s birthday, the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House also consulted on a new Barbie doll honoring the suffragist leader.

The Susan B. Anthony doll is part of Mattel’s Inspiring Women line of Barbies. President and CEO of the musem, Deborah Hughes, said that she was delighted when Mattel’s designed team reached out to staff at the museum who served as historical consultants on the doll’s wardrobe.

“We also love that the dress looks pretty much like something like Susan B. Anthony would have worn. They have her hair and they chose to use her gray hair. It’s a fun depiction as we think about these heroes, who have changed the world and continue to change; inspiring youngsters who can be a part of that,” Hughes said.

To keep the price down, Mattel opted out of the museum’s suggestion to create a red shawl as well as a purse, a splash of color  that museum officials say Anthony was known for. However, the museum is offering the Anthony doll withthe complete look and accessories in exchange for a tax-deductible donation.

Hughes noted that the image of  the Barbie doll  was not a favorite among feminists in the past and the doll has come a long way.

“If she’s being used as a toy now Barbie can be an example of what you can be. And Susan B. Anthony represents an advocate for social rights. She also was a strong advocate for pay equity, for clothing reforms so there’s some interesting tie-ins with the Barbie with Susan B. Anthony,” Hughes noted.

The launch of  the Susan B. Anthony Inspiring Women Doll this year comes as the museum celebrates its 75th anniversary. And officials at the museum are pleased that packaging for the doll also mentions the Rochester-based Susan B. Anthony Museum & House.

April Franklin is an occasional local host of WXXI's Weekend Edition.