Ann Turner Cook, the original Gerber baby, was just an infant when she became famous, but "America's Best-Known Baby" is quite capable of taking care of herself these days as a mother, grandmother, and retired teacher.
For nearly 70 years, parents have seen her face on all Gerber Company product labels and advertisements after it became the official trademark in 1931. Mrs. Cook is quick to point out that her popularity was due to the talent of Dorothy Smith, the trademark's artist. But this spring, grocers will stock Gerber products that show an updated version.
Cook did not have to rely on her face for her fortune. Born Ann Turner, she earned a bachelor's degree in English education, and later became chair of the English department at Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Fla. She married James E. Cook, raised four children, and has 10 grandchildren.
The retired teacher says the best part of having the distinction is "being associated with a company that has done so much for babies," though she did receive some negative attention from students when she first started her career.
Her four children enjoyed being the offspring of the Gerber baby. "They told their friends ... and strangers in the grocery store," she says.