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