Dr. Seuss was the pen name chosen by Theodor Geisel when he embarked on a career writing children’s literature. Before his first children’s book was published, he drew cartoons for Vanity Fair, Saturday Evening Post, Judge and PM.
Here are some quick facts about Theodor Geisel, a.k.a, Dr. Seuss:
* If Dr. Seuss were alive to celebrate his birthday March 2, he would be turning 107.
* His first children’s book was “And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.” It was rejected 27 times before being published.
* Dr. Seuss is author of four of the 10 best-selling children’s books of all time, including “The Cat in the Hat;” “Green Eggs and Ham;” “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish;” and “Hop on Pop.” But Seuss did not capture the number one slot, which belongs to Janette Lowrey’s “The Pokey Little Puppy.”
* Dr. Seuss never had children but developed a close relationship with his nephew, who was the inspiration for “Green Eggs and Ham.”
* Dr. Seuss’ penchant for rhyming was inherited from his mother, who used chants to memorize pie recipes as a child in her father’s bakery.
* Geisel’s first use of the nom de plume “Seuss” occurred during his Darmouth College years when he could no longer openly publish in the school’s humor magazine as a punishment for a rules violation. Seuss was his mother’s maiden name and his own middle name.
* Theodor Geisel changed his pronunciation of “Seuss” from “soice” to “soose” due to its sound similarity with Mother Goose, which he thought would be helpful to a children’s book author.
* He was on track to become a professor when the woman who would later become his first wife, Helen Palmer, noticed his drawings and suggested he become an artist instead.
* For 15 years, Dr. Seuss worked in Standard Oil’s advertising department, drawing and selling cartoons on the side.
* Dr. Seuss’ works accumulated two Academy Awards, two Emmys, a Peabody and a Pulitzer.
* More than 200 million copies of Dr. Seuss’ children’s books have been published. His 44 books have been translated into more than 15 languages.
* During his years in the U.S. Army, Geisel worked in the Signal Corps with a talented groups of artists including Frank Capra, Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc.
* Dr. Seuss dropped out of Oxford and did not earn his doctorate degree.
* Dr. Seuss derived the idea of writing about “The Cat in the Hat” from a word list given to him by a publisher. When “The Cat and the Hat” was first published, it sold 12,000 copies per week.
* Geisel’s birthplace, Springfield, Mass., honors him with a national memorial consisting of sculptures of his imaginative characters including the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, Horton the Elephant, Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, and Yertle the Turtle’s 10-turtle stack.