Dr. Seuss: The man with the books, legend

March 2nd was the 109th birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known by his pseudonym or pen name, Dr. Seuss. Like many Norwich students, Geisel was a Massachusetts native and liked his booze.



In fact his pen name Dr. Seuss was established after he was caught drinking in his dorm room at Dartmouth College one night, which was a violation of the Prohibition law in the 1920’s. This action  forced him to resign as editor in chief of the school’s humor magazine Jack-O-Lantern.

He was able to continue to publish his work in the magazine under the pseudonym Seuss. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1925, Geisel pursued a career in cartooning. He published his first children’s book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street in 1937.

(mentalfloss.com)

(mentalfloss.com)

The book was rejected 27 times before getting published by Viking Press and sold poorly, but it was his break into children’s literature.

By the time WWII started, Geisel was too old for the draft so he contributed in his own unique way. He was given the rank of Captain in the army and commander of the Animation Department. He submitted several political cartoons, created animated training cartoons, and drew propaganda posters for the Treasury Department and the War Production Board.

The next step in his career would come in response to a 1954 article in Life magazine criticizing children’s reading levels. Two publishing companies asked Geisel to create a children’s book using only 220 vocabulary words.

The result was The Cat in the Hat. This book helped Geisel make his mark in children’s literature.

He would go on to publish 46 children’s books including favorites like: Green Eggs and HamOne Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hears a Who!, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Lorax. Several of which have been created into feature films.

Theodor Seuss Geisel passed away in 1991 at the age of 87 after battling throat cancer. During his lifetime and after he received many awards and recognitions for his work.

His highest honor was the establishment of National Read Across America Day, which was founded by the National Education Association and is held on the school day closest to March 2nd, Geisel’s birthday. Geisel, or Dr. Seuss, has made an impact on some many lives and made reading fun for kids. It’s safe to say children’s literature would not be the same without him.

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