Dead People You Should Know: Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss)

Born: Theodore Seuss Geisel
D.O.B.: March 2, 1904
Died: September 24, 1991
Cause of Death: Oral Cancer
Wife: Helen Palmer Geisel (died - suicide), Audrey Stone Diamond
Notable Works: The Cat in the HatHow the Grinch Stole Christmas, Green Eggs and Ham
Cool Quote: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

Theodore Seuss Geisel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Displaying an early affinity for art and literature, Geisel excelled in school and attended Dartmouth University in 1921. At school, Geisel wrote for the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern, a comedic publication, and was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. After getting caught drinking alcohol, Geisel was banned from the magazine. He began writing his articles under the pseudonym “Seuss” to avoid prosecution by the university. After Dartmouth, Seuss pursued a P.h.D at Lincoln College, Oxford.

Dr. Seuss’s career began in comedy magazines, and eventually shifted to corporate advertisements where he earned a name for himself and started to make some real money. With his newfound financial success, Seuss felt it was time to begin writing novels and experimented in prose before he published the poetry-driven Horton Hatches the Egg in 1940. As World War II broke out in Europe and the United States was engulfed in wartime, Seuss turned to political cartoons, lampooning the authoritarian rulers of Europe and denouncing American non-interventionists.

After the war, Seuss returned to fiction, penning some of his most memorable and iconic works. These include The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish and Green Eggs and Ham. Seuss’ work sold much faster than expected and his books began to have a large impact on American culture and children’s literacy. Dr. Seuss cemented his reputation among American authors and illustrators as a master of children’s fiction. His work has been adapted into movies, television specials, and even theme park rides. Songs have been written about him and there have been numerous documentaries about his work. Dr. Seuss's literature is a global cultural staple and his influence does not seem to be waning.

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