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About Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss comments on his career, political cartooning and subversiveness. View video clips and hear actor Edwin Beschler as Dr. Seuss.

Theodor “Ted” Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. His parents, Theodor Robert and Henrietta Seuss Geisel, were were first-generation German Americans, and the family also ran a successful brewing business. Although anti-German sentiments occasionally flared up during World War I, Ted and his sister Marnie experienced fairly idyllic childhoods.

While attending Dartmouth College in the 1920s, Ted Geisel served as editor of the school’s humor magazine Jack-O-Lantern, where he first used the pseudonym “Seuss” to sign his artwork. After graduation, he left for England’s Oxford University, intending to study to be a literature professor. It was at Oxford that he would meet his future wife, a fellow American student named Helen Palmer, and decide to become an artist instead of an academic.

Back in the United States, Helen and Ted married and settled in New York City, where Ted Geisel started his artistic career as a cartoonist for the New York weekly Judge and as an advertising artist for companies such as Standard Oil, for which he developed the ubiquitous ad slogan “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” In 1937, after receiving 27 rejections from 27 different publishers, Geisel published his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street. During World War II, Geisel contributed regularly to the progressive newspaper PM, denouncing such issues as anti-isolationism through his political cartoons. He also served in Frank Capra’s Signal Corps, making movies for the U.S. Army, including an animated film series featuring the character of “Private Snafu.” In the years following the war, Geisel also helped create the Academy Award-winning documentary Design for Death, seen in THE POLITICAL DR. SEUSS for the first time since its 1947 theatrical release.

In 1957, Geisel published The Cat in the Hat, the children’s primer that made him a household name as an acclaimed author and illustrator who later inspired generations of children with such classics as Horton Hears a Who!, Yertle the Turtle and You’re Only Old Once!

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Dr. Seuss properties™ Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P. 1937-1991. All rights reserved.
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