Come On Barbie, Let's Go Party

History Day in the Park Will Highlight Sarasota's Fascinating Connection to Barbie

The Edson Keith Mansion's last owner was Mae Hansen Prodie, a successful traveling toy salesperson who developed her own line of dolls.

By Staff March 22, 2023

The Edson Keith mansion at Phillippi Estate Park

On Saturday, March 25, Phillippi Estate Park will host "History Day in the Park," an event that will highlight Saraota's fascinating history for residents and visitors—and one of the topics will be Barbie. Yep, that Barbie.

That's because the second—and last—owner of the Edson Keith Mansion, which is located at Phillippi Estate Park, was Mae Hansen Prodie. Prodie bought the home and its land from Nettie Keith, Edson Keith’s widow, in the late 1930s.

Prodie was a successful traveling toy salesperson, and even developed her own line of dolls. (She also developed other branded doll lines for retailers like Woolworth’s.) Prodie's company, Marie Mae, Inc., was known for making shoes, roller skates and other items for dolls—and although Prodie bragged that she supplied Mattel with Barbie's wardrobe, in actuality, her company may only have provided small accessories. 

In celebration of Prodie and her Marie Mae dolls, Marl Davidson of Marl & B—a Bradenton-based Barbie expert and author of several reference books on the doll—will be on-site at History Day in the Park with dolls from her Barbie collection, as well as accessories, Barbie equipment and more. 

In addition to Barbies, attendees can expect raffles, food trucks, music from the Sarasota Concert Band, an appearance by Chuck-O the Clown, historical displays, speakers and more. Proceeds from History Day in the Park will go toward a fundraising campaign to create a museum in the Keith Farmhouse to exhibit artificats and items originally used on the estate.

History Day in the Park will take place on Saturday, March 25, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Phillippi Estate Park. For more information, click here.

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