Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Beginning

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 to parent’s of German descent and grew up in Springfield Massachusetts. His childhood seems like the all American dream. Theodor Geisel went to high school in Springfield, and Myra Kibler says in her critical essay entitled “Theodor Seuss Geisel” that Geisel was told by his art teacher that “he would never learn to draw realistically, and whether due to inability or refusal, he never has.”(Kibler) Geisel went to Dartmouth, and became the editor of the humor magazine “Jack-o-Lantern” and he also contributed hundreds of cartoons in his usual bizarre style. After his graduation from Dartmouth author Kibler says that Geisel continued a “happy relationship” with them, and they awarded him with an actual “honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.” (Kibler) Dr. Seuss really was a doctor!

Theodor Geisel’s intention had been to become an English Professor but he was frustrated, and a fellow student told him after seeing him doodle in class that he should follow his real talent. This student turned out to be his future wife Helen Palmer. Theodor Geisel and Helen Palmer were united in marriage on November 29, 1927. They were married until Helen died in 1967. She was his chief advisor and manager. A year after Helen’s death he married Audrey Stone Dimond. (Kibler)

Before Theodor Seuss Geisel was an illustrator and writer of children’s books he was a “successful advertising artist and--for just under two years--a political cartoonist. (Nel) “In 1940 Dr. Seuss was best known for his “Quick Henry, the Flit!” advertising campaign” he was just beginning his career as a children’s book writer. Up till this time he had only done four children’s books. Geisel had serious concerns about the world war and was worried that because we were being drawn into the conflict, we were in a position of “isolationism” (Nel) and that America was vulnerable to attack, because of his frustration he sent a cartoon that he drew featuring a key member of the Mussolini cabinet to the “independent New York newspaper PM” (Nel). They ran the cartoon and the accompanying letter on January 30, 1941.
“During the war, and especially during his stint as
a cartoonist for the left-leaning daily paper PM, Seuss not only grew more
interested in social issues but also wanted to make his readers care about these
issues, too.” (Nel)

Dr. Seuss taught the children of America to read, but as Theodor Seuss Geisel he wanted to reach their parents and make them think about what was going on in their country and their world. He was an accomplished artist, who used his unique talents to touch so many American lives.

Kibler, Myra. "Theodor Seuss Geisel." American Writers for Children Since 1960: Poets, Illustrators, and Nonfiction Authors. Ed. Glenn E. Estes. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 61. Detroit: Gale Research, 1987. Literature Resource Center. Gale. Tarrant County College. 12 Nov. 2009. .

Nel, Philip. "'Said a Bird in the Midst of a Blitz...': How World War II Created Dr. Seuss." Mosaic (Winnipeg). 34.2 (June 2001): p65. Literature Resource Center. Gale. Tarrant County College. 12 Nov. 2009 .

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