A specialist in painting children, she studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and later illustrated books for Putnam's in New York City as well as worked on advertising images for Lux and Ivory Snow.
Smith perhaps is best remembered by the baby portrait displayed on jars of Gerber baby food and in advertisements which she created in 1927. It was based on the image of Ann Turner Cook, a friend of the family. The name behind the face, however, has long been something of a mystery. People polled throughout the United States have guessed that the Gerber Baby grew up to be Humphrey Bogart, Elizabeth Taylor and even Bob Dole. But Ann Turner Cook, mystery novelist and retired English teacher, knows the real answer. She was the subject of a simple charcoal sketch by Dorothy Hope Smith.
In 1928, Gerber was seeking a baby face for the ad campaign introducing its newly developed baby food. Smith submitted her drawing amid elaborate oil paintings and said that she could finish the sketch if it was accepted. The Gerber executives were so taken with it that they claimed it as it was, and the Gerber Baby made her debut. The illustration soon became so popular that Gerber adopted it as its official trademark in 1931. Since then, the Gerber Baby has appeared on all Gerber packaging and in every Gerber advertisement, making her the world's best-known baby.
In December 1996, Ann Turner Cook herself was present at the unveiling of Gerber's first new label in more than 40 years. And while Gerber Baby Foods are sporting a new look, Mrs. Cook's young face is still a part of the Gerber image, a fact she finds "especially gratifying."
Dorothy Hope Smith was married to cartoonist Peter Barlow and lived in Westport, Connecticut from 1923 on. She died in 1955.
Community of Artist, 1966
Additional information courtesy of Irma Pedroza