Name: First Black Francie (a.k.a. “Colored” Francie)
Made by and When: Mattel, box date ©1965 (released in 1967)
Marks: (Inside head rim) ©1965 Mattel Inc; (body) ©1966/Mattel, Inc +/- Country/U.S. Patented/U.S. Pat. Pend/Made in Japan
Height: 11-1/2 inches
Hair/Eyes/Mouth: Red rooted, below-the-shoulder length hair with flipped ends and straight bangs/light brown painted eyes with rooted eyelashes/closed mouth (the 2nd issue of this doll had darker brown eyes, dark brown hair, and a darker complexion).
Clothes: Multicolored floral-print two-piece swimsuit with white mesh top attached at the hips and shoulders, wrist tag, includes clear X stand and eyelash brush.
Other: Black Francie was marketed as “Colored Francie.” The use of the term, “colored” as a racial identifier of people in America of African descent remained commonplace during the 1960s. The doll’s white counterpart had been released a year prior, referred to as Barbie’s “MODern” cousin. Black Francie was never given that familial relationship. Due to complaints from some parents (that a Black doll could be considered Barbie’s cousin), Black Francie was discontinued shortly after the 2nd version was released in 1968.
Francie dolls have a Twist ‘n’ Turn waist and bendable knees. This version was the first dark-skinned doll introduced into the Barbie line; however, the doll uses white Francie’s sculpt and not a dedicated African American facial sculpt.
Reproduction Dolls: In 1997, Mattel released Wild Bunch Francie as a reproduction of the first Black Francie wearing a reproduction of Francie’s Wild Bunch fashion (see slideshow image).
A Barbie Fan Club exclusive designed by Robert Best and released in August 2012, Fuchsia ‘n Fur Francie is the first African American Silkstone Francie. The doll wears a lovely pink and black ensemble. (See slideshow images.)
Reference (for head markings) Meillo, Marcie. The Ultimate Barbie Doll Book, page 131. 1996. Krause Publications.
Slideshow (#1 Black Francie’s photographs are courtesy of Sabrina Dooley. Use the right arrow to advance to the next image.)
Your comments are valued. Donations aid the initiative to preserve Black-doll history.
If you subscribe to DeeBeeGee’s Virtual Black Doll Museum™ by email, be sure to click the post title in the email, which links to the website to view all text and associated media. Please “like” and share this installation with your social media doll contacts. To subscribe, add your email address to the subscribe or sign-up field in the footer or right sidebar.