|Blogger: Amber Schamel|
|Photo by RoadsidePictures (Flickr)|
Today we start with one of the most iconic baby faces in the United States, the Gerber Baby.
In 1928, the Fremont Canning Company was preparing to launch a line of baby food products. Their advertising campaign needed a baby face to represent the line, so the company decided that instead of simply hiring a model, they would launch a contest to find the face of what would come to be known as "Gerber Strained Foods", named after the owner, Dan Gerber.
One of the contestants who entered the contest was Dorothy Hope Smith from Connecticut. She created a charcoal drawing of a cherub-faced baby with chubby cheeks and an open-mouthed expression. Smith perfectly captured the bright eyes of the child, and the result was an endearing and adorable depiction of a baby. She intended to finish the sketch in oil paint if she won.
|1930's Gerber Truck|
The judges fell in love with the simple sketch, and Smith was selected as the winner, however the sketch was so well done, that they wanted to use it as-is, instead of coloring it. Soon, this image of a healthy, happy baby became the face of the new brand, and became loved and known across the globe. Moms everywhere compared the looks of their adorable tot to the iconic "Gerber baby".
The baby's image was first used in a Good Housekeeping magazine ad. Within sixty days, the icon received national recognition.
Because of its growing popularity, Gerber officially adopted the image as its trademark in 1931. The Gerber baby has appeared on every product and advertisement since.
Despite the popularity of the image, no one knew the identity of the Gerber baby for over 40 years. People speculated that the sweet face belonged to celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart, or Senator Bob Dole. But no one knew for sure.
|Gerber Foods Factory in Freemont, Michigan|
Wystan from Ann Arbor, CC BY-SA 2.0
It wasn't until years later that the true model opened herself up for interviews. Ann Turner Cook was a neighbor of Smith's, and the artist had sketched her likeness. Ann grew up to be a mystery novelist and English teacher. After over 90 years, Ann still possesses the same brilliant eyes we grew up knowing from Gerber products.
She lives in Colorado Springs near her favorite mountain, in a small “castle” with her prince charming. Between enjoying life as a new mom, and spinning stories out of soap bubbles, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples.