Dorothy Hope Smith

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Dorothy Hope Smith (October 1, 1895 – December 16, 1955) was an American artist and painter, best known as the artist who drew the Gerber Baby.[1]

Dorothy Hope Smith
Born(1895-10-01)October 1, 1895
DiedDecember 16, 1955(1955-12-16) (aged 60)
Burial placeWillowbrook Cemetery
Westport, Connecticut, U.S.
41°09′17″N 73°21′43″W
EducationThe School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Known forDrawing of the Original Gerber Baby
StyleCharcoal Drawing
Perry Barlow
(m. 1922)

Early life[edit]

Dorothy Hope Smith was born in Hyattsville, Maryland to Lincoln B. and Mary L. Smith. She had 2 sisters, Edith and Clare, of which Dorothy was in the middle. In the early 1910s, Dorothy's family relocated to Chicago, where she spent her adolescence.[citation needed]

A picture of a Gerber Oatmeal box, with Smith's drawing on the front.

Smith studied illustration at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she met Perry Barlow. They were married February 22, 1922 in Manhattan, New York City, and honeymooned in France.[2]

They moved to New York City after they wed to pursue separate illustration careers. Eventually, the couple worked out of their Westport, Connecticut home.[citation needed]


Smith was a commercial illustrator specializing in babies and children. She was one of the "Ivory Soap Baby" illustrations for Procter & Gamble, illustrating children's books for Putnam and several magazine covers.[3]

Gerber baby[edit]

Smith's famous Gerber Baby drawing came about through a contest. In 1928, Gerber invited artists to submit drawings of babies for a contest.[1] Dorothy submitted a preliminary charcoal sketch. The sketch was created from a snapshot of Ann Turner, the child of a family friend.[4] 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.[5] Dorothy intended to finish the sketch if accepted.[3] The Gerber Company judges, however, preferred the simplicity of the illustration when compared to other more elaborate entries.[1] Smith won $300 in the contest, selling the rights of her drawing to Gerber.[6] Due to its popularity, Gerber officially trademarked the drawing in 1931.[7]

Smith worked regularly from the 1920s until her death in 1955, serving as a successful commercial illustrator for many products.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Smith's husband, Perry Barlow, whom she married on February 22, 1922, was a cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine, drawing 135 covers over the years in addition to many cartoons. He also contributed work to Collier's, The Saturday Evening Post and others. Because Perry was partially colorblind, Smith helped with the color process of his work. Smith and Perry had two sons, Collins and Peter. Peter's child is Smith's only granddaughter. Dorrie carries her namesake, Dorothy "Dorrie" Barlow Thomas.[2] After Dorothy's death in 1955, their son Peter continued the color treatments to Perry's work.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c "Who Is the Gerber Baby? - Gerber Life Insurance Company". Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  2. ^ a b "Glen Jasper Barlow, Sally F. Thurmon, and Emma C. Collins". Archived from the original on 2016-04-29. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  3. ^ a b "Artist, Fine Art Prices, Auction Records for". Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  4. ^ "Novelist, 77, enjoys notoriety of being the Gerber Baby". Associated Press. 2004-02-21. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  5. ^ Heim, Michael, Exploring America's Highways, Exploring America's Highway (2004), ISBN 0-9744358-2-1
  6. ^ snopes. "Humphrey Bogart Gerber Baby". Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  7. ^ "Meet the Gerber Baby". Archived from the original on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2016-03-31.