In this 1945 ad for Carnation Milk, two grandmothers hover over a new baby, as if welcoming in the American baby boom generation. The women are a new edition of the Cheerful Granny, a staple of American advertising. In this version, the product being advertised is not depicted in the drawing, but of course it is an easy leap from babies to milk.
We know that the two women are grandmothers because of their gray or graying hair, wrinkles, and conservative clothes. The lace collar and cameo worn by the woman on the right are staples of an older woman’s look in the forties. The woman on the left is a little more up-to-date, but the color of her dress and pearls are elements commonly recommended for the older crowd.
What caught my eye here are the new elements of the cheerful granny look. Their figures are neither extremely thin nor chest heavy, the most common body types for the cheerful granny. And while their hairstyles are more thirties than forties, neither wears her hair in a severe bun, as did the earlier incarnations of this stereotype. In short, these are thoroughly modern grannies.