Theodore Seuss Geisel was a brilliant American author, talented artist and a child at heart. He was better known to the world under his “pen name” Dr. Seuss and was extremely famous for his collection of children’s books. Even though he wrote several most loved children’s books, Dr. Seuss never had any children of his own.
Dr. Seuss was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 2, 1904 to wealthy parents Theodore Robert Geisel and Henrietta Seuss Geisel, both German immigrants. Dr. Seuss’ father and grandfather were successful brewmasters in the city where he grew up. Even though the family enjoyed financial success for many years, the beginning of World War I and prohibition caused them to face both financial and social challenges. Along with other Germans, they started to be targets for many insults regarding their background and livelihoods. In spite of what the family had gone through, they continued to work hard and again became wealthy. Dr. Seuss and his sister Marnie grew up in a fairly happy home and enjoyed every moment of their childhood.
After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1925, Dr. Seuss’ father Theodore Robert Giesel sent him to Oxford University in England with the intent of him earning a doctorate in literature to become a professor. At Oxford, he met a fellow American student Helen Palmer who recommended that he pursue his drawing career instead of becoming a professor. He eventually married Helen Palmer in 1927 and left England to look for work in the United States. He eventually found a job in advertising for Standard Oil where he devoted 15 years of his life. He also worked as a cartoonist and submitted humorous articles for different magazines. Some of the bigger publications such as Life, Vanity Fair and Liberty magazine found his unique and humorous work very enjoyable. His many published cartoons in various well-known magazines got him a job creating ads for an insecticide company. One of his ads for a product called “flit” soon became famous and gained him national exposure. While still working in the advertising industry, he also started writing and illustrating in his spare time an alphabet book for children. Unfortunately, many publishers didn’t think the book was an eye popping book and turned him down. Discouraged and frustrated, he decided to stop writing for a while.
In 1936, he decided to take the pen once more and wrote his very first book called “To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”. Many publishers declined printing the book but eventually in 1937, the book was published. After the War, he and his wife Helen moved to La Jolla, California where he began writing children’s books including “ If I Ran the Zoo” in 1950 “Scramble Eggs Super!” in 1953 “If I Ran The Circus” in 1956 and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” also in 1956. In 1954, He read a report in “Life” magazine about the illiteracy in schools. It was documented that most children were not learning to read because most books in school were hard and boring to read. With his publisher’s help, Dr. Seuss wrote the “Cat in The Hat” which only contains 220 words, followed by “Green Eggs and Ham” which has only 50 words. Both of these two books are still the most favorite books for children who are beginning to read.
In 1967, Dr Seuss’ wife Helen committed suicide. A few months later, he married one of his close friends Audrey Stone Diamond. At age 87, Dr Seuss passed away in his sleep in his home in La Jolla California on September 24th, 1991. His body was cremated as he wished.