That pudgy face on the Gerber jar is Ann Turner Cook.
Last December, my wife and I successfully completed the adoption of a baby boy from an Eastern Bloc country. We have both decided that he is officially the cutest child in the entire world. In fact, he looks almost exactly like the Gerber baby. Last week I was boring some new acquaintances with stories of the adoption when someone mentioned that it was a little-known fact that the Gerber baby was actually Humphrey Bogart. According to the story, his mother was a commercial artist who used him as the model. Is any of this true? Will my child end up smoking cigarettes, wearing trench coats, and hanging around seedy characters? — Michael Taylor, Faxland
Fret no more, Mike. Your acquaintance’s “little-known fact” is just a widely believed fiction. The littlest Taylor will be no chain-smoking tough guy. He’ll be a schoolteacher, will marry a small-town deputy sheriff, and retire to Florida to write unpublished novels. Oh, and he’ll be a woman. That pudgy face on the Gerber jar is Ann Turner Cook, who, in 1928, lived next door to illustrator Dorothy Hope Smith. But it happens that Bogey does have a strained-carrots connection, just not the one most people think. His mother, Maude Humphrey, was an illustrator and used her baby as the model for many of her sketches. Bogey’s mug appeared on package labels and in ads for Mellin’s Baby Food beginning around 1900. Maybe that’s why Mellin’s is defunct and Gerber’s is still chugging along.