Dr. Seuss is most well-known for authoring The Cat In The Hat and other popular children’s books. Next week, schools and libraries around the country will be celebrating his birthday on March 2nd. But just who is Dr. Seuss…and is that his real name?
Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Seuss Geisel, and no, he was not an actual doctor. He did think about pursuing a PhD in English while studying English at Dartmouth (after attending Oxford!). Dr. Seuss did receive honorary doctorate degrees later in life, including ones from Dartmouth and Princeton.
Dr. Seuss loved to draw, and pursued a career in advertising. For over 30 years, he created ads for organizations like NBC, Ford, General Electric and others.
Why did Dr. Seuss decide to write children’s books? Apparently, there was a clause in his Standard Oil contract (where he worked at the time)that prohibited him from pursuing other writing projects, except for children’s books. His first book was To Believe That I saw It on Mulberry Street; The Cat In The Hat was actually his 13th book.
Seuss was challenged to write a story that 1st grader’s would love and wouldn’t want to stop reading. His goal was to help young children learn to read in a fun way. It was published in 1957, and by 1960, it had sold a million copies. Green Eggs and Ham was written when someone bet Seuss that he couldn’t write a book using only less than 50 different words. In total, he published 44 children’s books full of imaginative characters and rhyme. He never had children of his own, but when asked, he would often say: “You have ’em; I’ll entertain ’em.”
Dr. Seuss passed away September 24, 1991 at the age of 87 after a battle with throat cancer. In honor of his birthday, the day has been adopted as the annual date for National Read Across America Day, an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association.
If you’d like to know more about Dr. Seuss, you can read here.
Are you a Dr. Seuss fan? What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss story?