Have you ever wondered how Gerber chose the original Gerber baby? Back in 1928, before officially launching their new baby food, Gerber held a contest where artists could submit artwork of babies, and the company would pick their favorite submission to be featured on their new products.

According to the Gerber website, “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.”

Smith’s sketch was of her neighbor’s daughter, then 4-month-old Ann Turner Cook. The sketch of Cook as a baby became Gerber’s official trademark in 1931.

Cook is now getting ready to celebrate her 94th birthday. Watch the video below to see what Cook looks like today.

Now that you know what the real Gerber baby looks like and how she became the Gerber baby, you might be curious how Gerber came up with their baby food line. It all started in 1927. Dorothy Gerber was preparing baby food for her 7-month-old daughter Sally. It was a lot of work, and she thought there must be an easier way.

Gerber mentioned to her husband, Daniel Gerber, that perhaps baby food could be prepared and canned ahead of time. The Gerber family already canned fruits and vegetables at the Fremont Canning Factory, so they decided to create packaged food specifically for babies.

The new baby food line was ready for distribution in 1928, but the Gerber family wanted to find a way to make the food appealing to grocery stores and the mothers who shopped there. They decided to hold a contest, and as we already mentioned, the picture of Cook was chosen as the face of the brand.

The drawing of Cook as a 4-month-old baby was very appealing, and Gerber was able to sell 590,000 cans of baby food in the very first year of production. 

Do/did you serve Gerber baby food to your babies?