Minnesota Historical Society

Toys of the '50s, '60s, and '70s

$ 24.95

Gumby. Barbie. Slinky. WHAM-O. Spirograph. Hot Wheels. Atari. 

Toys from the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s capture the joy of play and the pure fun of being a kid. But beneath those iconic names are rich veins of nostalgia, memory, and history. These toys—and the stories of the kids, parents, child-rearing experts, inventors, manufacturers, and advertisers they affected—reflect the dynamism of American life.

Lively sketches of forty-five memorable toys tell what was happening in the world when they came into being, how they were developed and launched, how they affected kids (and the larger community), and the ways they reflected social and cultural shifts. Adults who once revered these toys share evocative memories, records from the era show the intentions of creators, toy experts and collectors weigh in with opinions and assessments. Developed in conjunction with the national traveling exhibit of the same name, this book showcases toys that reflect the rhythms of American life.


  • By: Kate Roberts and Adam Scher
  • Format: Paper, 232 pages, 8 x 10, 115 color and b&w photos, index, bibliography
  • Publisher: MNHS Press (May 2014)
  • ISBN: 9780873519274

Kate Roberts is senior exhibit developer for the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) and author of the best-selling book Minnesota 150.

Adam Scher is a senior curator in the collections department at the MNHS.


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