The Gerber Baby and the Illustrator Who Made her Famous

Dorothy Hope Smith, at work in her studio.

Who Illustrated the Gerber Baby?

The iconic Gerber baby illustration has been a familiar brand seen throughout the world. However, not much has been shown on the actual artist/illustrator who was inspired to create the sketch of original Gerber Baby, Ann Taylor Cook. Keep reading to learn about Dorothy Hope Smith.

Gerber Baby

Ann Taylor Cook: Then and now, 4 months to age 92 today!

In 1927 when she was about 4 months old, her image was sketched in charcoal by their neighbor and friend artist Dorothy Hope Smith. Dorothy submitted a preliminary charcoal sketch to a Gerber baby contest. The sketch was created from a snapshot of Ann Turner. Dorothy’s unfinished submission was intended more as an inquiry as to what the age of the baby should be and what the ad size would be. Dorothy intended to finish the sketch if accepted. The judges loved it. They preferred the simplicity of the illustration compared to more elaborate entries.

Dorothy won $300 in the contest, selling the rights of her drawing to Gerber.

The drawing wasn’t intended to become the brand ‘face’ for Gerber. It was actually for a marketing campaign, however the public loved it so much that they even wanted to purchase copies of the sketch. Gerber was on to something big and the sketch of Ann Cook by Dorothy Hope Smith became a trademark.

Who was Dorothy Hope Smith?

Although today many may not know her name, her creation is household knowledge.
Dorothy was born October 1st in 1895 and died in 1955 at age 60. She studied illustration at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was a talented commercial illustrator specializing in babies and children. She was one of the “Ivory Soap Baby” illustrators for Procter & Gamble, illustrating children’s books for Putnam and several magazine covers. She married and her husband was also an Illustrator.

Baby with Toy Duck, Ladies Home Journal Magazine Cover By Smith Dorothy Hope (1895-1955)

Her work represents an era of when advertising was mainly illustration based. She was also one of the few women Illustrators in a time when the industry was dominated by males.

Today you can find copies of the Gerber Baby prints (the same ones that were sold years ago) at auctions.

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