As the director of academic services at Penn State Abington, Eva Klein plays a crucial role in the success of students. Her portfolio includes managing areas such as disability resources and academic advising.
When she isn’t supporting students, Klein pursues a lifelong interest in collecting dolls and accessories from the world of Barbie.
The runaway success of the “Barbie” movie this summer makes this administrator, who has amassed almost 500 dolls plus accessories, currently one of the hippest people on campus.
“For years people have said that Barbie gives girls unrealistic expectations of their bodies and of women. What people fail to realize was that before Barbie, little girls played with baby dolls and they could pretend to be mommies. Ruth Handler changed all of that by creating a blank canvas,” she said.
“For me, and for other little girls, Barbie was a blank slate. She could be and do anything. The only limit was my imagination,” Klein said.
“My value as a girl and then as a woman was directly impacted by my family and by my teachers. I was always told that I could be and do anything I set my mind to. This is the message I hope all children receive growing up and a message that resonated with me after watching the movie,” Klein, who went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry, said.
Klein and her husband — whose name is Ken — saw the movie the weekend it opened and rated it four out of five stars.
“As a vintage collector, I was disappointed that there weren’t more vintage dolls in the film,” said Klein. “The Midge in the film was from 2002. There were many Easter eggs in the film that for Barbie collectors were a lot of fun, so I plan to see it again.”
Klein’s Ken, who presented her with an exclusive bridal Barbie when they got married, and their son encourage her treasure hunts. Her son collects vintage PEZ dispensers so he also appreciates the thrill of the chase.
Although Klein kept her childhood dolls for sentimental reasons, she didn’t start acquiring new ones until 1996 when she came across a magazine for adult Barbie collectors. She was hooked, she said.
The rekindled interest in all things Barbie thrills Klein, but her hobby has brought her personal satisfaction as well.
Read more about the Penn State Abington administrator’s Barbie collection on Penn State Abington’s website.
More Barbie collectors from around the world show off their dolls.