Remember this cute baby looking like an angel on many products marked Gerber in the markets? Yes, that Gerber baby is a legend, because it turned 90 just last year, on November 23, 2016. She was only 4 months old when they captured her face in a simple sketch that we’ve been seeing for decades. She’s Ann Taylor Cook. The sketch was done by a family friend, Dorothy Hope Smith. Cook’s picture became the company’s official trademark in 1931.
This is her story. In 1927, Dorothy Hope Smith sketched a rough charcoal portrait of Ann Turner Cook, the infant daughter of a family friend. The following year, the baby food brand launched a contest to find a face for the company. With the entry, Smith included a note saying that if it were chosen, she would finish the sketch. However, the contest judges chose it as the winner, and they liked it just as it was! And the baby became history! Her blue eyes and blond curls became world-famous.
Cook waited over two decades to get paid for her iconic face. In 1931, Gerber trademarked the picture, and in the early 1950s the company paid her a lump sum – ‘enough to make a down payment on a modest house and to buy a first car,’ she says – for her role in the company, according to CBS news.
Cook became a mother of four and taught literature and writing in Tampa, Florida, for 26 years. She retired in 1989, but is also a mystery novelist.
In 2012, she paid a visit to the TODAY plaza.
The Gerber company has yearly contests for babies, who get an ad and a prize of $50,000. And we can’t wait to see other babies making to their 90th birthdays!