Dr. Seuss


Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as the beloved Dr. Seuss, was born in 1904 on Howard Street in Springfield, Massachusetts. Ted's father, Theodor Robert, and grandfather were brewmasters in the city. His mother, Henrietta Seuss Geisel, often soothed her children to sleep by "chanting" rhymes remembered from her youth. Ted credited his mother with both his ability and desire to create the rhymes for which he became so well known.

Although the Geisels enjoyed great financial success for many years, the onset of World War I and Prohibition presented both financial and social challenges for the German immigrants. Nonetheless, the family perservered and again propered, providing Ted and his sister, Marnie, with happy childhoods.

Ted left Springfield as a teenager to attend Dartmouth College, where he became editor-in-chief of the Jack-O-Lantern, Dartmouth's humor magazine. Although his tenure as editor ended prematurely when Ted and his friends were caught throwing a drinking party, which was against the prohibition laws and school policy, he continued to contribute to the magazine, signing his work "Seuss." This is the first record of the "Seuss" pseudonym, which was both Ted's middle name and his mother's maiden name.

To please his father, who wanted him to be a college professor, Ted went on to Oxford University in England after graduation. However, his academic studies bored him, and he decided to tour Europe instead. Oxford did provide him the opportunity to meet a classmate, Helen Palmer, who not only became his first wife, but also a children's author and book editor.

Ted returned to the States and was contributing to Life, Vanity Fair, Judge, etc., when an editor at Viking Press offered him a contract to illustrate a collection of children's sayings called Boners. While the book received bland reviews, Ted's illustrations were championed; he considered the opportunity his first, official "big break" in children's literature, and another turning point in his career.

Many honors and awards were bestowed upon Ted, including an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from his alma mater, Dartmouth. In addition to six other honorary doctorates, some of Ted's more notable awards include an Oscar for Gerald McBoing-Boing; two Emmys for Halloween is Grinch Night and The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Gat; a Pulitizer Prize; a Peabody for the animated specials How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Horton Hears a Who!; and a New York Library Literary Lion. Three of his books received Caldecott Honor Awards. In 1980, the American Library Association honored Ted with a Laurs Ingalls Wilder Award.This special award is given to an author or illustrator whose books-having been published in the United States-have made a substantial contribution and lasting impact to children's literature.

Shortly before his death, when Ted was asked if there was anything left unsaid, he pondered the question and finally responded. "The best slogan I can think of to leave with the U.S.A. would be: 'We can .....and we've got to.....do better than this.'"

After devoting 53 years to creating entertaining and instructive books, the good Dr. Seuss taught all that he could teach. Ted Seuss Geisel passed away on September 24, 1991, at the age of 87. As a permanent reminder to the reading public, the final line in Ted's final book (Oh, the Places You'll Go!) issues the following charge: "You're off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!"

Sources: Dr. Seuss Art Website and Dr. Seuss National Memorial Website


Disclaimer:This list is not exhaustive, simply a list of examples.



Dr. Seuss Website



Links to other author pages

Mo Willems

Jon Scieszka

Anna Dewdney

Jane Yolen


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