Dr. Seuss was born Theodore Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904 to Henrietta Seuss and Theodore Robert Geisel. He was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. As a child, Dr. Seuss was ostracized for his German heritage, so he took comfort in books, reading Dickens and Stevenson at an early age.

Dr. Seuss went to college at Dartmouth. There, he edited the school's humor magazine and first started using the pseudonym of "Seuss". Dr. Seuss wanted to save his proper name, Theodore Geisel, for his more "serious work" (which never materialized.) After graduating from Dartmouth in 1925, Dr. Seuss applied for a scholarship to study at Oxford. He was rejected; but his father, who had already told all of his friends and family that his son was going to Oxford, felt obligated to pay his way.

Dr. Seuss did but one year of graduate work at Oxford, studying English Lit. At Oxford, he met Helen Palmer who would become his wife. After Oxford, Dr. Seuss wandered around Europe, working on his Great American Novel -- which has since been described as an unreadable morass of stream-of-conscious gobbledygook that was partially written in Spanish, a language he did not know well.

In 1927, Dr. Seuss returned to America and married Helen Palmer. They settled in New York City, where Dr. Seuss worked as a freelance writer and cartoonist, even though he had no formal training in art.

In 1937, Dr. Seuss started to use the self-conferred title of "Dr.", joking that he had saved his father thousands of dollars in doing so. That year he also published his first children's book, And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street, after it had been rejected by thirty-seven publishers.

During World War II, Dr. Seuss went into the army and made documentary films under Frank Capra. After the war, he lived briefly in Japan. When he moved back to the States, he and Helen Palmer ended up living in La Jolla, California, where he would live for the rest of his life.

Dr. Seuss continued to write and draw children's books with The Cat in the Hat coming out in 1957. That book took over a year to write and all of the words used came off of a simplified vocabulary list that the publisher had given him. The Cat in the Hat was the first of Random House's "Beginner Books" series and Random House was so impressed with it that they made Dr. Seuss the head of the "Beginner Books" division.

My personal favorite Dr. Seuss books are: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), The Lorax (1971) and Oh, the Places You'll Go! (1990).

Dr. Seuss received the first of his honorary doctorates from Dartmouth in 1956.

Dr. Seuss passed away in 1991.


Source:
    The Twayne book on Dr. Seuss (I don't have a full bibliographic citation right now.)

The following is a poem I wrote in 7th grade for a class assignment to "create your own goodbye for Dr. Seuss". Sure, it's a piece of vaguely imitative pre-adolescent hero-worship, but I'm still oddly proud of it. By the way, I'm also glad I didn't have to research the great man's life to go with this, so many thanks to the authors of the previous writeups.

Oh, Dr. Seuss, whose mind went loose
to think of such wonderful things.
Of elephants sitting on mother birds' eggs,
and turtles who thought they were kings.
The writer of stories so crazy and fun,
yet he put a lesson in every one.
And he never did fail to tell a tale
exactly as he wanted it.
Stories strange as could be, they made sense to me.
And that's how I'll always remember it.
He meant what he said,
and he wrote what he meant,
Holding firm to his thoughts one hundred percent.
Or was it more?
I'm not quite sure.
For he taught us them too,
So now, me and you,
Now know what he knew.
The stories he told
were for both young and old
To learn from together, wherever.
On a plane, on a train, here or there or anywhere.
He did his work well,
Though sadly to tell,
He had to leave us,
But do not fuss.
Though he is here no more,
Where he is, he is sure
That he did much good.
He really should—goodbye Dr. Seuss.

—2 October 1991.

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