- NAME: Dr. Seuss
- OCCUPATION: Illustrator, Author
- BIRTH DATE: March 02, 1904
- DEATH DATE: September 24, 1991
- EDUCATION: Dartmouth College, University of Oxford
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Springfield, Massachusetts
- PLACE OF DEATH: La Jolla, California
- AKA: Theodor Geisel
- AKA: Dr. Seuss
- Full Name: Theodor "Ted" Seuss Geisel
Best Known For
Throughout his career, cartoonist and writer Dr. Seuss published 60 children's books, including The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham.
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Watch a short video about Dr. Seuss and see how the master storyteller created the many worlds of his famous books.
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Watch a short video about Lewis Carroll and discover the mystical world he created with the story "Alice in Wonderland."
Animator and film producer Walt Disney introduced a series of lovable characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and created the first full-length animated feature, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
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Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts. He published his first children's book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, under the name of Dr. Seuss in 1937. Next came a string of best sellers, including The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. His rhymes and characters are beloved by generations.
"If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack."
"I don't write for children, I write for people. Once a writer starts talking down to kids, he's lost. Kids can pick up on that kind of thing."
"I feel my greatest accomplishment was getting rid of Dick and Jane and encouraging students to approach reading as a pleasure, not a chore."
"I had no ability as a novelist. I spent all my time trying to get rid of extraneous words and boiling the thing down to the essentials. But a novelist's technique is putting those extraneous, nonessential things back in."
"Once in a while, I have to write something in an adult magazine. I get so frustrated; I wish I could get rid of all the garbage of excess words; I could draw what I want to say in a second."
"I'm honest enough with myself to know I wouldn't have written the Great American Novel, but I think I could have created some fine paintings."
"I don't like audiences. I prefer to make my mistakes in private."
"I enjoy making a statement, but I don't think one has to always do so to feel worthwhile."
"Whenever things go a bit sour in a job I'm doing, I always tell myself, 'You can do better than this.'"
"Let me think about it."
[When asked on his deathbed if he had any final thoughts]
"All of my books are based on truth, an exaggerated truth."
"You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room."
"In the interest of commerce, there's a happy ending. The other ending is unacceptable."
[On his book You're Only Old Once]
"I have a feeling if I could stay out of hospitals, I might live forever."
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don’t mind."
"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try."
"You have 'em; I'll entertain 'em." (When asked about having children of his own.)
"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living; it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities."
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Theodor Robert Geisel, a successful brewmaster, and Henrietta Seuss Geisel. At age 18, Geisel left home to attend Dartmouth College, where he became the editor in chief of its humor magazine, Jack-O-Lantern. When Geisel and his friends were caught drinking in his dorm room one night, in violation of Prohibition law, he was kicked off the magazine staff, but continued to contribute to it using the pseudonym "Seuss."
After graduating from Dartmouth, Geisel attended Oxford University in England, with plans to eventually become a professor. While at Oxford, he met his future wife, Helen Palmer, whom he married in 1927. That same year, he dropped out of Oxford, and the couple moved back to the United States.
Upon returning to America, Geisel decided to pursue cartooning full-time, and his articles and illustrations were published in numerous magazines, including LIFE and Vanity Fair. A cartoon that he published in the July 1927 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, his first using the pen name "Seuss," landed him a staff position at the New York weekly Judge. He then worked for Standard Oil in the advertising department, where he spent the next 15 years. His ad for Flit, a common insecticide, became nationally famous.
Around this time, Viking Press offered Geisel a contract to illustrate a children's collection called Boners. The book sold poorly, but it gave him a break into children's literature. Geisel's first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times before it was finally published by Vanguard Press in 1937.
At the start of World War II, Geisel began contributing weekly political cartoons to the liberal publication PM Magazine. In 1942, too old for the World War II draft, Geisel served with Frank Capra's Signal Corps, making animated training films and drawing propaganda posters for the Treasury Department and the War Production Board.
Following the war, Geisel and Helen purchased an old observation tower in La Jolla, California, where he would write for at least eight hours a day, taking breaks to tend his garden. He wrote and published several children's books in the coming years, including If I Ran the Zoo and Horton Hears a Who!
A major turning point in Geisel's career came when, in response to a 1954 LIFE magazine article that criticized children's reading levels, Houghton Mifflin and Random House asked him to write a children's primer using 220 vocabulary words.
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