Seuss, Dr., 1904-1991

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Theodor Seuss Geisel (March 2, 1904 – September 24, 1991), beloved author and illustrator of children's books known as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts to Theodor Robert and Henrietta (Seuss) Geisel. His father, the son of German immigrant parents, managed the family brewery and later supervised (1931-1960) Springfield's public park system. Ted Geisel grew up in the midst of a German American community coping with growing anti-German war sentiment, attended Springfield's Central High School as an average student and entered Dartmouth College in the fall of 1921, where he studied English and edited (1924-1925) the college's humor magazine, Jack O'Lantern . After graduating from Dartmouth, he attended Lincoln College at Oxford University to study English literature, but soon abandoned the effort in favor of pursuing a career in illustration. While at Oxford, Geisel courted his future wife, Helen Marion Palmer.

Geisel returned to Springfield in 1926 and began a career as a freelance illustrator by sending humorous pieces and cartoons to newspapers and magazines. With the encouraging sale of a cartoon for twenty-five dollars to the Saturday Evening Post, Geisel moved to New York and soon landed a job as a writer and artist for the humor magazine Judge . On November 29, 1927, he married Helen Palmer and a year later they made their first visit to La Jolla, California. In 1928, Geisel began what developed into a seventeen year advertising campaign for "Flit" insecticide, a product of Standard Oil of New Jersey. The "Flit" account provided financial security and time for the Geisels to travel abroad. Other advertising accounts included Essolube motor oil and Essomarine products (both for Standard Oil of New Jersey), the Ford Motor Company, the National Broadcasting Company, Holly Sugar, and Narragansett Lager and Ale.

In 1931, Ted Geisel illustrated his first book, entitled Boners, a collection of children's sayings, which generated enough interest to warrant a second volume, More Boners . But the beginning of Geisel's career as the author and illustrator of children's books came with the publication of And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (1937), a work that combined rhyme and illustration. Geisel published four more books before the outbreak of the Second World War, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (1938), The Seven Lady Godivas (1939), The King's Stilts (1939) and Horton Hatches The Egg (1940). Although his first two books were published by Vanguard Press, Geisel soon switched to Random House as a result of the efforts of Bennett Cerf, editor and chief executive officer.

Between 1941 and 1943, Geisel regularly contributed incisive, humorous cartoons critical of American isolationist foreign policy to the daily, PM Newspaper . On December 31, 1942, he was commissioned as a captain in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, Information and Education Division and was assigned to the Special Services Division in Hollywood. Rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, Geisel's projects included illustrations for educational publications and a film entitled Your Job In Germany . He received the Legion of Merit award, and after the war, moved to a house in La Jolla, California, dubbed "The Tower."

Geisel went on to become one of the most prolific children’s authors of the twentieth century. He resumed his career in children's books with the publication of McElligot's Pool (1947) and went on to publish another forty books under the pseudonym of Dr. Seuss, thirteen as Theo LeSieg, and one as Rosetta Stone. In 1957, he published his most famous book, The Cat In The Hat, which was, in part, a reaction to John Hersey's complaint in a 1954 Life Magazine article that the primers used to teach reading were dull and repititious. The Cat In The Hat served as a prototype for Beginner Books, a publishing division of Random House headed by Geisel (1957-1991) that promoted children's literacy through the associative richness of works and images. Three films for which Geisel wrote the original stories have won Academy Awards: Hitler Lives (1946); Design For Death (1947); and the animation short, Gerald McBoing-Boing (1951). Ted Geisel also wrote a musical entitled The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. Geisel wrote an additional four original works for television.

Over the course of his career, Geisel published over 60 books, which have spawned numerous adaptations, including 11 television specials, five feature films, a Broadway musical, and four television series. Geisel's most celebrated books include Green Eggs and Ham, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hatches the Egg, Horton Hears a Who, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. As Dr. Seuss, his honors include two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, and the Pulitzer Prize. Geisel won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958 for Horton Hatches the Egg and again in 1961 for And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. Geisel's birthday, March 2, has been adopted as the annual date for National Read Across America Day, an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association. He also received two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Children's Special for Halloween is Grinch Night (1978) and Outstanding Animated Program for The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat (1982).

Helen Geisel died on October 23, 1967. Ted Geisel later married Audrey Stone Diamond and continued to live and work at "The Tower" in La Jolla until his death in 1991.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf GEISEL, THEODOR SEUSS, 1904-1991. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf Dartmouth College. Junto. Records, 1922-1940. New Hampshire Newsp Project
referencedIn Lathem, Edward Connery. Notes in preparation for an exhibition on the life and works of Dr. Seuss, 1975. New Hampshire Newsp Project
creatorOf Seuss, Dr. To the P.T.A. [by Dr. Seuss, n.p.], October 1977. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn I do not like thee, Dr. Seuss, the reason why I can't deduce by Richard Lipez...The Atlantic Monthly, August 1977. Dartmouth College Library
creatorOf Seuss, Dr. Small epic poem (size 2 3/4 B). Commencement address before Revelle College, University of California, San Diego, June 18, 1978. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Hecht, Anthony, 1923-2004. Anthony Hecht papers, 1894-2004. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
creatorOf Seuss, Dr. 25's 65th. Dartmouth College Library
creatorOf Seuss, Dr. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Biblionix LLC BL
creatorOf Geisel, Theodor Seuss, 1904-1991. Manuscripts, 1976 November. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Campbell, Alan, 1905-1963. Alan Campbell and Dorothy Parker collection, [1930]-1949. University of Michigan
creatorOf Vanguard Press. Dr. Seuss files, 1937-1985. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Moore, Anne Carroll, 1871-1961. Anne Carroll Moore papers, 1898-1960, bulk (1920-1960). Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Weidenmann, Alfred, 1916-2000. Alles in Scherben!...? / Film-Produktion und Propaganda in Europa 1940-1950 / Alfred Weidenmann, Arthur Ullmann, Anatole Litvak... [et al.], réal. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn The Nation, records, 1879-1974 (inclusive), 1920-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Ohio State University. Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Theodor Seuss Geisel 1904-1991 biographical file. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf Seuss, Dr. Dr. Seuss : file of clippings and miscellanea. Michigan State University Libraries, Main Library
referencedIn Geisel, Theodor Seuss, 1904-1991. Manuscripts, 1976 November. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Anne Carroll Moore papers, 1898-1960, 1920-1960 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Theatre Aquarius Archives (University of Guelph). Seussical : the musical / co-conceived by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Eric Idle ; based on the works of Dr. Seuss ; directed and choreographed by Max Reimer, 2007 - House Program. University of Guelph. McLaughlin Library
creatorOf Theodor Geisel Papers, 1953 University of Minnesota Libraries Children's Literature Research Collections
referencedIn Vanguard Press. Dr. Seuss files., 1937 - 1985 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
referencedIn Vanguard Press. Vanguard Press Records, ca. 1925-ca. 1985. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Geisel, Theodor Seuss, 1904-1991. [Fobs belonging to Theodor Geisel] [realia]. Dartmouth College Library
creatorOf Price, Jeffrey. How the Grinch stole Christmas : [screenplay] / by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman ; based on the book by Dr. Seuss. University of Michigan
referencedIn John MacKay Shaw Collection, 1737-2007
referencedIn Vanguard Press Records, ca.1925-ca.1985 Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
creatorOf Seuss, Dr. Dr. Seuss collection, 1919-1997. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Monterey Public Library. California History Room. Authors clippings : "GROUP" folder 1942-1991. Monterey Public Library
referencedIn Geisel, Theodor : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Clingan, Judith. The lorax [music] / music: Judith Clingan ; words: Dr Zeuss [sic]. Libraries Australia
creatorOf Seuss, Dr. Green Eggs and Ham. Biblionix LLC BL
creatorOf Minnesota Orchestra. Minnesota Orchestra Visual Entertainment (MOVE) records, 1995-2000. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn Cott, Jonathan. Papers, ca. 1977-1985. Indiana University
creatorOf Battenfield, Mischka Richter. Cartoon collection of Mrs. Richard H. Henneman, 1940-1941. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Berg, Alec. Cat in the hat : screenplay, 2002. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Dr. Seuss Collection, 1919-2003 Mandeville Special Collections Library
creatorOf Theatre Aquarius Archives (University of Guelph). Seussical : the musical / co-conceived by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Eric Idle ; based on the works of Dr. Seuss ; directed and choreographed by Max Reimer, 2007 - performance file. University of Guelph. McLaughlin Library
creatorOf Atovsky, Sheldon. Bartholomew and the Oobleck / music and lyrics by Philip Kraus [and] Sheldon Atovsky. Northwestern University
referencedIn Evelyn Shrifte Collection Relating to Vanguard Press, 1928-1990 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf Vanguard Press. Dr. Seuss files, 1937-1985. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Seuss, Dr. Ten Apples Up on Top. Biblionix LLC BL
referencedIn Minnesota Orchestra Visual Entertainment (MOVE) Records, 1995-2003 University of Minnesota Libraries. Performing Arts Archives, Manuscripts Division
creatorOf Seidel, Leonard. The Zax : written for mixed chorus, two pianos and percussion / Leonard Seidel ; based on the story The Zax by Dr. Seuss. Brooklyn College
creatorOf [Dartmouth Lorax T-shirt] [realia]. Dartmouth College Library
creatorOf Seuss, Dr. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
Relation Name
associatedWith Atovsky, Sheldon. person
associatedWith Berg, Alec. person
associatedWith Campbell, Alan, 1905-1963. person
associatedWith Clingan, Judith. person
associatedWith Cott, Jonathan. person
associatedWith Created by John MacKay Shaw person
associatedWith Dartmouth College. Class of 1925. corporateBody
associatedWith Dartmouth College. Junto. corporateBody
associatedWith Eastman, Terri. person
associatedWith GEISEL, THEODOR SEUSS, 1904-1991. person
associatedWith Hecht, Anthony, 1923-2004. person
associatedWith Lathem, Edward Connery. person
associatedWith Minnesota Orchestra. corporateBody
associatedWith Minnesota Orchestra Visual Entertainment Staff corporateBody
associatedWith Monterey Public Library. California History Room. corporateBody
associatedWith Moore, Anne Carroll, 1871-1961. person
associatedWith Nation (New York, N.Y. : 1865). corporateBody
associatedWith Price, Jeffrey. person
associatedWith Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Seidel, Leonard. person
associatedWith Seuss, Dr. person
associatedWith Shrifte, Evelyn. person
associatedWith Theatre Aquarius Archives (University of Guelph) corporateBody
associatedWith Theatre Aquarius Archives (University of Guelph) corporateBody
memberOf United States. Army corporateBody
memberOf United States. Army Air Forces person
associatedWith United States. Army. Office of the chief signal officer. corporateBody
associatedWith United States Information Agency corporateBody
associatedWith Vanguard Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Vanguard Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Vanguard Press. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Springfield MA US
La Jolla CA US
Subject
World War II
World War II, 1939-1945
Animation
Baccalaureate addresses
Caricatures and cartoons
Cartoonists
Political cartoons
Children's authors
Children's illustration
Children's literature
Children's literature
Children's literature
Children's literature, American
Children's writers
Class reunions
Commercial art
Commercial art
Film adapations
Film adaptations
Invitation cards
Parents' and teachers' associations
Occupation
Writer
Animator
Animators
Cartoonist
Cartoonists
Children's authors
Filmmaker
Illustrator
Poet
Activity

Person

Birth 1904-03-02

Death 1991-09-24

Male

Americans

English

Information

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