It's perhaps the most recognized baby face in the world—that happy, wide-eyed Gerber baby looking up from the labels of Gerber baby food. For millions of people around the world, that famous face is immediately associated with a wide range of Gerber products. But, who is the Gerber baby?
The best way to tell the Gerber baby biography is to begin with a little Gerber history. In the summer of 1927, Dorothy Gerber was tediously hand-straining solid food to feed to her seven-month-old daughter, Sally. Dorothy suggested to her husband, Daniel, that perhaps the task could be handled more easily at the Fremont Canning Factory, where the Gerber family business produced canned fruits and vegetables.
After extensive research and testing, the first Gerber baby food batch was ready for distribution in late 1928. To help attract the interest of grocers and introduce mothers of young children to the convenience and nutritional benefits of commercially–available baby food, the Gerber’s advertised extensively and issued Gerber baby food coupons. The ads and coupons featured the angelic face of the Gerber baby and were extremely successful. Within six months, Gerber baby food was being distributed nationally, and 590,000 cans were sold in the first year. Thousands of mothers nationwide were proud to be raising their own "Gerber babies."
As the Gerber’s were getting ready to launch their new line of baby food, they invited artists to submit different renditions of Gerber babies to be considered for use in the company's advertising campaign. Some artists submitted elaborate oil paintings, but one artist, Dorothy Hope Smith, an artist who specialized in children's portraits, submitted a simple charcoal sketch and offered to elaborate on it if it was accepted. The executives at Gerber couldn't resist the adorable baby face and selected the classic drawing as-is.
So, who is the Gerber Baby? There has been much speculation over the years, ranging from Humphrey Bogart to Elizabeth Taylor. But the Gerber baby is actually Ann Turner Cook. At the time the sketch was drawn, she was a four-month-old baby living in the same Connecticut neighborhood as artist Dorothy Hope Smith. Ann Turner Cook grew up to become an English teacher and later a mystery novelist.
The irresistible Gerber baby began appearing on Gerber products in 1928 and became the company's official trademark in 1931. Even as Gerber expanded its business to include skin care, clothing and other baby-focused products, the original Gerber baby has remained the same throughout Gerber history.
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