Theodor Seuss Geisel, or "Dr Seuss," was an extraordinary American cartoonist who wrote many children's books. Geisel was not only a writer; he was also a veteran in World War II. He served his country in war and later established a writing career. Geisel made a great impact on the world with his comical drawings in art and his animated films.
Henrietta Seuss gave birth to Geisel on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. His father was a German Immigrant who managed the family brewery. Geisel's parents were extremely strict, but very loving Geisel attended Springfield's Central High School and was accepted to Dartmouth College in 1921. Geisel later joined the humor magazine "Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern." Geisel started to sign his work as "Seuss" or "Dr. Seuss" which occurred in his comical magazine, "The Judge." After finishing Dartmouth, he entered Lincoln College in Oxford to pursue his goals in literature. While attending Lincoln College, his drawings caught the eye of a beautiful American student named Helen Palmer. Geisel never really took lessons on how to draw; he often drew awkward and bizarre pictures of creatures during class. His drawings later reoccurred in his children's books. Palmer told him he instead of being a professor, become an artist. Geisel agreed with Palmer and took her advice. Geisel then took her hand in marriage and moved back to the United States. Palmer also became a children's author and book editor. Unfortunately Geisel left without earning his Doctor of Philosophy degree. He survived the traumatic times during the Great Depression and supported his family by advertising for "NBC," and "Standard Oil."
Geisel was returning from an ocean voyage to Europe, the beat of the ship's engine inspired him to create a poem which then became his first children's book called, "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street." This book was filled with Springfield imagery from Geisel's childhood. Although this book was rejected 27 times before being published by Vanguard Press (Catinthehat), Geisel did not only want to please young minds but to shape their pathways to a steadier future.
At the start of World War II, Geisel started drawing political cartoons, drawing over 400 comical illustrations for the New York City daily newspaper and for "PM". Later, he published an anti-Hitler book and undoubtedly entitled it, "Dr. Seuss Goes to War." Although Geisel was too old for the draft at age 38, he wanted to contribute to the war and help his fellow Americans. So Geisel served with "Frank Capra's Signal Corps" in the U.S. Army by making training movies. This is when his artistic animation career took off. Geisel developed an array of animated training videos featuring the main character, "Private Snafu." Geisel also wrote films about the issue with peace propaganda in Europe after World War II called, "Your Job in Germany," and "Our Job in Japan," its counterpart. "Our Job in Japan," became the base for his first Academy Award winning film, "Design for Death." This film was based on the Japanese culture and the origins of the war. Geisel was awarded the "Legion of Merit" for his exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements (Orpheus).
Geisel was a veteran and had a very strong political standpoint. It showed through his work and it exposed his true passion to oppose fascism. Geisel wanted all Americans to oppose it. His cartoons revealed his amplified fear of communism in the United States. He tried to find the greater threat in America and who threatened to cut America's "Life Line," to Stalin and Soviet Russia. "Propaganda attempts to cut us apart," from his "Gnawing at Our Life Line," sketch.
Not only has Geisel send out political and military messages, he sent out a series of messages like environmentalism and anti-consumerism in, "The Lorax," "The Sneetches," about racial equality, "The Butter Battle Book," about arms race and one of his most famous books, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" "How the Grind Stole Christmas!," showed anti-materialism about Christmas presents and what Christmas truly means. All of his books have a subliminal message that better helped children grow and to be more open minded (Drseussart).
Geisel was over the years still contributing to "Life, Vanity Fair, Judge," until an editor from Viking Press recognized him and offered him a deal to illustrate a collection of children quotes and sayings. Geisel considered this one of his biggest turning points in children's literature and paved a steady road for him. Geisel became one of the top 5 most popular children's authors of all time. Geisel's books have destroyed the bestseller lists for his time selling over 200 million copies and have been translated in 15 different languages since 1991 it has been to be more than 300 million copies sold since 1991, sales only keep climbing and every child should experience Dr. Seuss. "Publisher Weekly compiled a list of thebest-selling children's booksof all time; of the top 100 hardcover books, sixteen were written by Geisel, including"Green Eggs and Ham," at number four,"The Cat in the Hat," at number 9, and"One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish," at number thirteen" (Wapedia).
Tragically, on October 23, 1967 Geisel's wife Helen Palmer, committed suicide after suffering from an abundance of different types of illnesses including Cancer. Geisel affected children but never had any children he would respond with, "You have 'em; I'll entertain 'em."
For over 60 years, Geisel's illustrations flabbergasted his viewers and fans to the point where Geisel decided to sculpt his characters from, "Cat in the Hat." Although, his artwork was being put up on display he seldom exhibited during his life. Geisel wanted his wife to share his work with his fans once he was gone and that he wanted to not only be viewed as an author, but an artist.
Sadly, Geisel died from several years of illness. Geisel died in San Diego, California on September 24, 1991. His body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered. December 1, 1995 UCSD's University Library Building decided to rename their library to Geisel Library to honor Geisel's generosity with them to improve literacy. Geisel's hometown in Springfield, Massachusetts was proud to introduce Dr. Seuss's National Memorial Sculpture Garden (Seussville). It featured an agglomeration of sculptures from many of his books and one famous sculpture of Dr. Seuss sitting next to the Cat in the Hat. As you can see, Dr. Seuss affected not only the United States but the whole world. On May 28, 2008, the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the First Lady, Maria Shriver announced that Geisel would be inducted into the California Hall of Fame, which resides at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts (Seussville). Geisel has been forever immortalized in Orlando, Florida on his ride and attraction called Geisel's landing. Geisel wrote seven television specials which were produced byDePatie-Freleng Enterprisesand aired on"The Cat in the Hat, The Lorax, Dr. Seuss on the Loose, The Hoober-Bloob Highway, Halloween Is Grinch Night, Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You?, andThe Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat. Several of these types of specials were nominated for and won multipleEmmy Awards." (Orpheus)
Dr. Seuss has left this world but his legacy will always live on, books and words are here forever spreading knowledge. It doesn't matter what level or age group that book is aimed at, knowledge is knowledge and nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
- "The Register of Dr. Seuss Collection." Mandeville Special Collections Library.30 Nov. 2009 <http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/speccoll/testing/html/mss0230a.html>.
- "Seussville." Seussville Dr Seuss Biography. 4 Oct. 2009 <http://www.seussville.com/main.php?section=home&isbn=&catalogID=&eventID=>.
- "Dr. Seuss Art." Dr. Seuss Early Years." 15 Dec. 2008 <http://www.drseussart.com/biography.html>.
- "Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden at the Springfield Museums." All About Dr. Seuss. 2004 <http://www.catinthehat.org/history.htm>.
- "Dr. Seuss." Theodore Geisel comiclopedia." 18 Apr. 2008 <http://lambiek.net/artists/s/seuss_dr.htm>.
- Geisel, Theodor S., The Cat in the Hat. San Diego, California: Random House Books, Houghton Mifflin, 1957
- Geisel, Theodor S., Green Eggs and Ham. Random House, 1960
- Geisel, Theodor S., The Foot Book. New York City, USA: Random House Childrens Books, 1968
- Seuss, Dr."Dr. Seuss Children's encyclopedia".Britannica Online for Kids. Encyclopedia Britannica,2010. 14Jan.2010<http://kids.britannica.com/elementary/article?articleId=390593#cite>.