Anna Harrison was celebrated for her popularity in 1908 and has become its longest-serving celebrity
Anna Harrison, who held the title of Gerber Baby for more than a century, has celebrated her 95th birthday.
The star has become one of the brand’s most famous icons, alongside The Little Mermaid’s Ariel and baby Joe at the end of TV’s Oh, What a Lovely War.
Harrison first appeared at the beginning of the century, when her photograph appeared on baby food packaging. Her sister, Elizabeth Taylor, was second on the list and baby Annette in the third spot.
In 1908, Harrison received 600 letters a week from baby gourmets as the brand advertised on a new station wagon. Her grandparents in the US would mail her four bottles of Gerber Baby Food every week for her birthday, and she followed in their footsteps in 1922. Harrison received more than a million letters over the course of her career, which ended after the brand’s request in 1967.
Ira Gerber, who founded the company, announced the brand’s name in 1932. He made headlines in 2015 when he offered to buy out the 350-year-old company from Kraft Heinz, which ended up selling it to Nestlé in 2015.
Gerber, who died in 1967, revealed in an interview with New York magazine in 2013 that his grandfather was originally going to name the infant formula its namesake, but by the time he secured enough local permission, the name changed. It was also decided that if the formula was called Gerber’s (as it was until 1932), it would have to carry the initials GLC, because other brands were already using similar names.
Harrison said she had fond memories of the role. She said she also celebrated her birthday by taking the rest of the baby section of one of the supermarkets, where she lined up for over an hour with other Gerber fans.
She married her husband, Arthur, in 1932, and they had two children. She died in 1988.