Dr. Seuss born 1904
On this day in 1904, Theodor Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss, the author and illustrator of such beloved children’s books as “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham,” is born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Geisel, who used his middle name (which was also his mother’s maiden name) as his pen name, wrote 48 books–including some for adults–that have sold well over 200 million copies and been translated into multiple languages. Dr. Seuss books are known for their whimsical rhymes and quirky characters, which have names like the Lorax and the Sneetches and live in places like Hooterville.
Geisel, who was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts, graduated from Dartmouth College, where he was editor of the school’s humor magazine, and studied at Oxford University. There he met Helen Palmer, his first wife and the person who encouraged him to become a professional illustrator. Back in America, Geisel worked as a cartoonist for a variety of magazines and in advertising.
The first children’s book that Geisel wrote and illustrated, “And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street,” was rejected by over two dozen publishers before making it into print in 1937. Geisel’s first bestseller, “The Cat in the Hat,” was published in 1957. The story of a mischievous cat in a tall striped hat came about after his publisher asked him to produce a book using 220 new-reader vocabulary words that could serve as an entertaining alternative to the school reading primers children found boring.
Other Dr. Seuss classics include “Yertle the Turtle,” “If I Ran the Circus,” “Fox in Socks” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.”
Some Dr. Seuss books tackled serious themes. “The Butter Battle Book” (1984) was about the arms buildup and nuclear war threat during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. “Lorax” (1971) dealt with the environment.
Many Dr. Seuss books have been adapted for television and film, including “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and “Horton Hears a Who!” In 1990, Geisel published a book for adults titled “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” that became a hugely popular graduation gift for high school and college students.
Geisel, who lived and worked in an old observatory in La Jolla, California, known as “The Tower,” died September 24, 1991, at age 87.
(More Events on This Day in History)
- 1776 The Siege of Boston
- 1966 Ford celebrates 1 millionth Mustang
- 1865 Battle of Waynesboro, Virginia
- 1969 Soviet Union and Chinese armed forces clash
- 1929 Congress passes the Jones Act
- 1944 Train passengers suffocate
- 1807 Congress abolishes the African slave trade
- 1836 Texas declares independence
- 1972 Pioneer 10 launched to Jupiter
- 1978 Grave robbers steal Charlie Chaplin’s body
- 1942 John Irving is born
- 1985 Sheena Easton sets a Billboard chart record when “Sugar Walls” becomes a Top 10 R&B hit
- 1793 Sam Houston born
- 2005 Bush honors the Boston Red Sox
- 1962 Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points
- 1965 First Rolling Thunder raid conducted
- 1967 Kennedy proposes plan to end the war
World War I
- 1917 Puerto Ricans become U.S. citizens, are recruited for war effort
World War II
- 1943 The Battle of the Bismarck Sea