Saturday (November 20th), U.S. baby food brand Gerber took to Instagram to wish Ann Turner Cook, the original Gerber Baby, a special happy birthday.
“A very happy birthday to the original Gerber baby, Ann Turner Cook!” Gerber declared in the post. The company also stated that Turner Cook turned 95-years-old. “[She] has graced Gerber products since 1928. Her image has inspired parents everywhere to share their babies’ photos with Gerber.”
Gerber revealed on its website that held a contest for its official trademark in 1928. The company stated, “Artist Dorothy Hope Smith entered her simple charcoal sketch of a tousle-haired, bright-eyed cherub of a baby with endearing pursed lips. In her entry, Smith noted that she would finish the sketch if she won.”
The company also explained that Smith’s drawing competed with elaborate oil paints, but the contest’s judges fell completely in love with the baby’s face that Smith drew. She was selected as the winner. Although the baby’s face became the company’s official trademark in 1931, no one actually knew the identity of the baby.
It wasn’t until 1978, 40 years after the contest, that Turner Cook was discovered to be the Gerber Baby. Smith was notably a neighbor of the Turner family and had drawn the portrait of Turner Cook. “Mrs. Cook’s sparkling eyes and adorable, curious baby face still personify the Gerber brand, representing Gerber’s commitment to happy, healthy babies all over the world.”
Ann Turner Cook Spoke About Her ‘Gerber Baby’ Fame
During a 2014 interview with CBS News, Ann Turner Cook spoke about how the now-famous drawing changed her life. “I can’t think of anything nicer than to be a symbol for babies. And that’s what I think I became.”
While discussing how consumers have been able to identify with the sketch for so many years, Turner Cook said, “It reminds them of their own babies. Everybody says, my baby or my grandchild looks like the Gerber baby. And it doesn’t matter the ethnicity. And I say, ‘Yes, I’m sure they do!’”
Turner Cook then stated that the drawing was actually on point. “I always had that expression with my mouth hanging open. Kind of a quizzical expression!”
CEO of the company, Marilyn Knox also spoke that there is little doubt that Turner Cook’s face played an instrumental role in the company’s success. “You don’t even have to have the word Gerber on it. That face is honored as we’re doing the best for our children.”
Before even knowing she was actually the face on the company’s jars, Turner Cook recalled her other pointing out the jars and stating that was her picture. “And I thought it was quite a lovely thing. My own children would go to a grocery store and they would point at a jar and they’d say, ‘That’s my mother’s picture’ to whoever was walking by.”