Dr. Seuss: the Great American Children's Poet

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Dr. Seuss: the Great American Children's Poet

By | October 1999
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Dr. Seuss: The Great American Children's Poet

Dr. Seuss is the pseudonym for Theodor Seuss Geisel III, Ted Geisel to his friends. He originally thought of his pen name being pronounced zo-oice which is the German pronunciation. He took his middle name from his mother's maiden name.

He was born in 1904 to Theodor Jr. and Henrietta Geisel of Springfiel Massachusetts. Both sets of grandparents were from Germany. Theodor Jr. was a wealthy brewer and tavern owner until the Prohibition. Then he worked as the manager of the Springfield Zoo. Ted also had an older sister named Marnie. He went to college at Dartmouth and graduate school at Oxford. While at Dartmouth he got into a bit of trouble when the police arrested him for drinking. (This was during the Prohibition.) As punishment he was kicked off the school magazine, The Jack O'Lantern, to which he contributed as a cartoonist. To get around the rule he began to sign his work as Dr. Seuss. And that is why Ted Geisel became Dr. Seuss. While at Oxford he met his first wife Helen Palmer to whom he was married for 40 years until her death. They moved to New York. While in New York he worked drawing cartoon advertisements

for Flit, an insect repellant. It was he
who coined the phrase "Quick Henry, the Flit" which was to 1930s advertising what "Just Do It" is to 1990s advertising. Sort of.

They later moved to La Jolla, California where Ted lived for the rest of his life. They loved children although they were unable to have any of their own. About five years after Helem's death he married Audrey Stone. He died in 1991 in his sleep at the age of 87. He wrote 57 books spanning seven decadesfrom 1939's And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street to 1992's posthumously published Daisy- Head Maizy.

He received a special Pulitzer Prize recognizing his contribution to children's literatur. He also received an Emmy for The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and an Oscar for his screenplay for Gerald McBoing-Boing which...
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