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Dan Gerber

AKA Daniel Frank Gerber, Jr.

Born: 6-May-1898
Birthplace: Fremont, MI
Died: 16-Mar-1974
Location of death: Fremont, MI
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Christian Science
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Baby food magnate

Military service: US Army (WWI)

Dan Gerber's father was co-founder of the Fremont Canning Company in Fremont, Michigan in 1901, and for a few decades the business had modest but unspectacular success selling packaged vegetables, beans, and fruits. Young Gerber fought in World War I and briefly attended college before joining the company at the age of 24. In 1927 he and his wife Dorothy had their first child, a daughter named Sally. At some point during Sally's infancy, frustrated by the ever-present chore of cooking, chopping, mashing and straining solid food into a form that their toddler could eat, Dorothy Gerber suggested to her husband that there might be money to be made in mass-producing baby food.

Gerber then sought advice from pediatricians and nutritional experts, and spent several months taste-testing baby food with his daughter and the children of other company employees, before introducing Gerber's Strained Foods in 1928. It was the first pre-packaged baby food to be sold in grocery stores. Backed with an extensive advertising campaign in Good Housekeeping and similar publications, it caught on immediately. Gerber's Baby Food was nationally distributed in several flavors by 1930, and by 1941 baby food accounted for most of the company's sales. The business was then renamed Gerber Products Company, and in 1943 Gerber stopped making canned foods for grown-ups.

The iconic baby on the Gerber's label is a sketch of a baby named Ann Turner Cook, drawn by artist Dorothy Hope Smith Barlow (1895-1955). Cook, born in 1926, became an English teacher and mystery novelist.

Father: Daniel Frank Gerber (owner of Fremont Canning Co., b. 12-Jan-1873, d. 7-Oct-1952)
Mother: Dora Pauline Platt Gerber (b. circa 1875, m. 29-Apr-1896)
Wife: Dorothy Marion Scott (m. 1923, d. 11-Sep-1988, five children)
Daughter: Sally Gerber Phinny (Gerber executive, b. 1927)
Daughter: Paula Gerber Warm
Daughter: Gay Gerber Cummings
Daughter: Dorothy Gerber Scott Merrill
Son: Daniel Gerber III (author)

    High School: St. John's Military Academy, Delafield, WI (1916)
    University: Babson College (attended 1919-20)

    Gerber Products Company President (1952-71)
    Gerber Products Company GM (1941-52)
    Fremont Canning Company (1922-41)
    Canadian Ancestry (paternal)

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