The very first Gerber baby is marking her 93rd birthday on Wednesday, Nov. 20, nine decades after she became the face of the iconic baby food brand.
In 1927, Ann Turner Cook was only four-months-old when family friend and artist Dorothy Hope Smith submitted a charcoal sketch of Cook's face to Gerber for an advertising campaign contest. Smith left it unfinished, but promised she'd do some refining to the sketch if the portrait was chosen.
But its judges fell in love with the portrait just as it was.
Gerber adopted it as its official trademark in 1931, and Cook's face soon became known around the globe as the brand ambassador, but her identity remained a secret until 1978.
My grandmother was the Gerber baby. It was a funny bit of trivia, never made her rich or got us free strained peas or anything. But last week she got to meet the company's newest spokesbaby, named Lucas. Pretty pretttty cute. pic.twitter.com/u7ddWaM1Ed— Chris Colin (@chriscolin3000) June 4, 2018
“I can’t think of anything nicer than being a symbol for babies and that’s what I think I became," Cook said in a 2014 interview with CBS News.
Now a widow in Tampa and a great-grandmother of three, the retired teacher and novelist is spending her time meeting other babies who have become the face of the brand.
Last summer, Cook posed with the 2018 Gerber baby, little Lucas Warren who made headlines after becoming the brand's first baby with Down syndrome. Unsurprisingly, the photo of the two quickly went viral and melted hearts around the globe.