There was always a speculation about who the face of the Gerber baby is. Some people still think that it’s Humprey Bogart, Elizabeth Taylor or Ernest Borgnine as an infant. Well, bad news for them because none of the above mentioned famous people’s face appears on the Gerber baby food jars. But who is it then? Who is the mysterious little child?
The story goes back to the year 1928 when the Gerber Products Company – previously Fermont Canning Company owned and operated by Frank Daniel Gerber and his son Daniel Frank Gerber – started to produce Gerber baby food. They wanted to find baby face that would represent their company and organized a contest in the same year.
As expected they received hundreds of painting, drawings and sketches. Surprise, surprise – back then they didn’t have digital cameras. The winner was Dorothy Hope Smith from New England who sent in an unfinished charcoal drawing – or better said a sketch of a baby who had messy hair, big blue eyes and round lips. She said to the judges that if her sketch wins the competition she will finish it professionally. There was no need for that because the judges liked it as it was. It was exactly they have been looking for; a healthy and gorgeous baby face.
And who was the baby? Well, her name is Ann Turner (Cook) and she was a five-month-old baby back then. She is the world’s best known baby because in a very short time – about in 60 days – the Gerber baby symbol had achieved national recognition; bit later international as well. Since 1928 her face appeared on every single Gerber product and in advertisement and in 1931 it became of the company’s official trademark.
By the way she is a retired English teacher and lives in Florida. She raised four kids and became a mystery novelist. Her books include Trace Their Shadows, Shadow over Cedar Key and Homosassa Shadows. She received a one-time cash settlement from the company ($5000) in 1951 and Dorothy Hope Smith got $300 for the rights to her drawing but neither of them were paid royalties of the famous image.
So this is the story of the Gerber baby face!