Theodor Seuss Geisel Biography






American author Theodor Seuss Geisel’s children’s book Daisy-Head Maysie was published in 1995, four years after the author’s death. This illustration from the book features Daisy-Head Maysie and the Cat in the Hat.


Dr. Seuss is the pen name of children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel. His eccentric characters and whimsical illustrations have made his books enduring favorites with both children and adults.

Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), American author, artist, and publisher, known as Dr. Seuss. He was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, and educated at Dartmouth College and at the University of Oxford, as a student of English literature. A self-taught sketch artist, for almost a decade Geisel earned a living as a cartoonist until, in 1937, using the pen name Dr. Seuss, he wrote and illustrated his first children's book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. Its simple rhymed text and whimsy made it an instant success, and it was followed soon after by books such as The King's Stilts (1939) and Horton Hatches the Egg (1940), the story of an elephant duped by a bird to sit on her egg. During World War II (1939-1945), Geisel wrote films for the war effort, winning an Academy Award (see Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy of) in 1947 for Design for Death, a documentary about the Japanese people.

Geisel returned to writing children's books with McElligott's Pond (1947), and for the next several decades he produced about 40 books in all, including such perennial favorites as Horton Hears a Who (1954), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957), the first-grade reader The Cat in the Hat (1957), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), the environmentally concerned book The Lorax (1971), and the nuclear-war-related work The Butter Battle (1984). He is also remembered as the creator of the animated cartoon character Gerald McBoing Boing, for which he won an Academy Award in 1951. He received a special Pulitzer Prize citation in 1984 for his lifetime contribution to the education and enjoyment of America's children and their parents. His last books—You're Only Old Once (1986) and Oh, the Places You'll Go! (1990)—were written for adult audiences and were also best-sellers. The children's book Daisy-Head Maysie was published posthumously in 1995 based upon sketches and dialogues Geisel had created for an animated television special.

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