Before they launched their baby food line, they held a contest to choose an image of a baby to use in their advertising campaign. Many artists entered the contests and submitted a wide variety of artwork.
The winning artwork was submitted by Dorothy Hope Smith. At the time of the sketch, the baby was 4 months old. She offered to elaborate on the sketch if the company chose it, but they decided they liked the sketch as is.
The baby in the sketch was Ann Turner Cook. Cook says that when she was a child, her mother told her that she was the baby in the advertising campaign.
Smith was neighbors with Cook’s family. Cook became an English teacher and then a mystery novelist in Florida.
In 1998, Cook told The Associated Press, “If you’re going to be a symbol for something, what could be more pleasant than a symbol for baby food?”
Cook recently passed away. She was 95 years old. Gerber announced the news on Instagram by posting a picture of Cook and writing, “Many years before becoming an extraordinary mother, teacher and writer, her smile and expressive curiosity captured hearts everywhere and will continue to live on as a symbol for all babies. We extend our deepest sympathies to Ann’s family and to anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her.”
Several of Cook’s students commented on the post. One wrote, “I was one of the extremely fortunate kids who had Mrs. Cook as my English teacher. This breaks my heart. She was an amazing woman.”
Another comment reads, “Mrs. Cook… the OG! She was a wonderful teacher at HHS… The Big Red Terriers are mourning her loss….”
Yet another former student wrote, “Sending my deepest condolences to all her family, friends and loved ones!!! She was one of the sweetest kindest people ever!!! She was one of our teachers in High School!!!”
There is a video about Cook’s life and death.