Gerber Baby and Santa Kisses Mom

1931 Gerber BabyWe noticed a blog post today discussing the famous 1931 Gerber baby, an image which represented the company for more than 50 years and one that is familiar to many of us. The post, by Amber James, gave the baby’s name – Ann Turner Cook – a closely held secret for more than fifty years.

The reason for the secrecy – Gerber did not want “publicity, because if the baby was identified as a girl, the little boys would feel like they didn’t have representation,” Cook told Oprah: Where are They Now?

According to the Gerber site, the company held a contest in 1928 to find a face to represent a baby food advertising campaign. The artist Dorothy Hope Smith entered the charcoal sketch of the baby and it became so popular that ever since then Gerber has added it to all its packaging and advertising. The identity of the child, however, remained secret until 1978.

Perry Barlow - 1939 New Yorker coverAnd, proving that reader comments sometimes provide wonderful information, a Christopher Decatur, wrote in that Dorothy Hope Smith’s husband, Perry Barlow, was the New Yorker cartoonist who drew the image of a father dressed as Santa Claus kissing his wife while holding his son. More than a decade later, Saks Fifth Avenue used the cover for their annual Christmas card and commissioned a song to promote it. That song was “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus.”

OK. Now, we’re definitely in a nostalgic mood.