Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!


Library of Congress

Dr. Seuss was a legendary author who shaped children’s lives all over the world.

Ashlee Thompson, Copy Editor

Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, is a legendary childhood author who has shaped the lives of children across the globe. His creative choice of writing and illustrating made him appeal to children and allow them to learn to read in a more enjoyable way. 

Thomas Seuss Geisel was born on March 2nd, 1904 in Massachusetts. Geisel was always interested in journalism and writing, so he worked as the editor-in-chief for Dartmouth’s magazine titled Jack-O-Lantern. One night, Geisel was caught drinking in his dorm which violated the Prohibition law at the time. This caused him to lose his position at the magazine. Geisel still contributed to the Jack-O-Lantern under the pseudonym, Seuss. After graduating from Dartmouth, Geisel attended Oxford to become a professor. He later dropped out in 1927. 

For the next 15 years of his life, Geisel wrote cartoons. Some of his works include political sketches and creating animated training films for the Treasury Department. Geisel also wrote his first book during this time titled And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street. This book was rejected 27 times before it was finally published in 1937. Geisel then ventured into writing books for adults, with one titled The Seven Lady Godivas. After this book turned out poorly, he focused more on children’s books. 

In 1954, Life Magazine issued an article criticizing children’s reading levels. This prompted a publishing company, Random House, to ask Geisel to write a children’s book with 220 vocabulary words. This led to The Cat in the Hat which jumpstarted Seuss’ career. In 1958, Dr. Seuss founded Beginner Books, Inc., which later became a division of Random House. For the next ten years, Dr. Seuss published the majority of his books such as Green Eggs and Ham (1960), Hop on Pop (1963), and Fox in Socks (1965). He also wrote The Lorax in 1971 which helped voice his concern for the environment. In 1984, Geisel received the Pulitzer Prize “for his special contribution over nearly half a century to the education and enjoyment of America’s children and their parents.” Some other popular books from Dr. Seuss are One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Oh, The Places You’ll Go, all of which appear under the pen name “Dr Seuss.” Geisel chose the name ‘Dr. Seuss’ to reference the doctorate degree he never completed. His father wanted his son to practice medicine instead of writing silly books. 

Thomas Seuss Geisel died on September 24th, 1991 from oral cancer in California. His impact is still long lasting, with many of his books still selling year after year. Many of Dr. Seuss’ most popular books have been turned into movies. These include The Cat in the Hat (2003),  Horton Hears a Who! (2008), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2008), and The Lorax (2012). These books and movie adaptations have become a staple in childhood learning and maturing. These books have taught the world’s children to want to read and to look at life more positively and with their own imagination.