Mar 1, 2011

Dr. Seuss Day ~ March 2nd

Quick Facts:
Dr. Seuss' Youth
Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as beloved children's book author and illustrator Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts to Theodor Robert Geisel, son of German immigrants, and Henrietta Seuss Geisel. 

According to Cat In The, Theodor's mother, Henrietta (whose maiden name was Seuss) would, "often soothe her children to sleep by "chanting" rhymes remembered from her youth" also, "Ted credited his mother with both his ability and desire to create the rhymes for which he became so well known."

Dr. Seuss' father, Theodor Robert, and his grandfather were brewmasters in the city of Springfield and were fairly well-to-do, but with the onset of World War I and Prohibition their social and financial standings took a big hit. Theodor Robert took a job as superintendent of city parks, which included the local zoo, and through steady perseverance the family was able to regain financial stability and provide Theodor and his sister Marnie with happy childhoods. 

Theodor attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, where he became editor-in-chief of The Jack-O-Lantern, Dartmouth's humor magazine. This is where he first began to sign his work with the pseudonym "Seuss", which was his middle name as well as his mother's maiden name. After graduating from Dartmouth, through the persuasion of his father, Theodor left for Oxford University in England. However, he became bored by his academic studies and left school to tour Europe instead, which is when he met his future wife, Helen Palmer, whom he married in 1927.

His Illustrious, Or Should I Say, Illustratious Career
Upon his arrival home from Europe, Theodor pursued a career as a cartoonist. Several of his pieces were published in magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, Life, Judge, and Vanity Fair, to name a few. He also became an advertising illustrator for Flit, an insect pesticide company, and Standard Oil Company. During World War II, Theodor began contributing weekly political cartoons to PM magazine, a liberal publication, and he later worked for the U.S. Army creating training films, which was where he was introduced to the art of animation.

Ultimately, Theodor became frustrated with the advertising world and in his spare time began to write and illustrate an alphabet book for children. He was excited about this venture, but became discouraged after several publishers turned him down, squelching his children's book author dream for several years. Luckily for the world he bounced back, and in 1937, while returning from an ocean voyage to Europe, he was inspired by the rhythm of the ships engine to write the poem that became his first book, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street. It is interesting to note, that this book was also rejected 27 times before being published by Vanguard Press.

Dr. Seuss went on to write 44 children's stories filled with fanciful rhymes, tongue twisters, and whimsical tales, some of which include The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Socks, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (my personal favorite).

Dr. Seuss was preceded in death by his first wife Helen Palmer Geisel, who committed suicide in 1967 after a series of illnesses (including cancer) which ailed her for 13 years.  He then married an old friend, Audrey Stone Dimond, who is now the President of Seuss Enterprises. At the time of his death on September 24, 1991 of throat cancer, Dr. Seuss' books had been translated into 15 languages and over 200 million copies had been sold.

Former Random House President Bennett Cerf once remarked, "I've published any number of great writer's, from William Faulkner to John O'Hara, but there's only one genius on my authors list. His name is Ted Geisel."

Just a side note ~ The American Heritage Dictionary credits Dr. Seuss as the originator of the word nerd, which made it's first appearance in his 1950 book, If I Ran The Zoo. "And then just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo and bring back an It-Kutch a Preep and a Proo a Nerkle a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!"

There is an extensive article that you may enjoy reading about the life of Dr. Seuss at

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss from RocketBoom


1 comment:

  1. What a GREAT post Lisa! I'm a huge fan of Dr. Seuss. I did post about him last year. I'm going to "grab" this link and add it to my post if you don't mind.

    I truly enjoyed reading this post. Just wonderful!!! That video is simply the icing on the cake!

    Thank you so much for sharing...