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Theodor Seuss Geisel a.k.a Dr. Seuss: Home

This guide offers insight into the life, design, and inspiration of the world of Theodor Seuss Geisel. It explores his popular children stories, midnight art, political cartoons, unorthodox taxidermy and the power of his unique artistic vision.

Who is Dr. Seuss?

Ted Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) was a lyrical storyteller, creating otherworldly places that were crafted with wackiness and wit.  Surrealism provided a platform for which he built his career out of editorial cartoons, magazine covers, paintings, and children's books. All of his creations are imbued with a nonsensical nature that often depicts far-out fantasies and quirky, colourful characters.  Yet, Geisel was an insightful artist, flourishing his works with a philosophical brilliance that attracted the young and old alike.  

When explaining the "logical insanity" of his work, Seuss said, "If I start with a two-headed animal, I must never waver from that concept.  There must be two hats in the closet, two toothbrushes in the bathroom, and two sets of spectacles on the night table".  This consistency reveals itself across the rollercoaster of his life and work, where many have been inspired by his explosive energy and landscapes of playful nonsense.   

Yet, as shown in his works, there is always more beneath the surface.  During World War II, Ted was shocked by the generation of German and Japanese children whose innocence and education was taken away by war.  This is where Ted began creating children's literature, realising its importance to the education of youth and a prospective world.  "Children want fun.  They want play.  They want nonsense." 

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Original Drawing

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An original drawing done by Ted, for his children's book Oh, The Places You'll Go!

Family

Ted Geisel spent most of his life in La Jolla, California, living with his wife Helen Geisel, whom he met at Dartmouth College. However, in 1967 Helen committed suicide after finding out that Ted was having an affair with his soon-to-be second wife, Audrey.  Ted wed Audrey who remained his wife until his death on Tuesday, September 24, 1991, at the age of 87 years old.  Despite dedicating his life to producing nonsensical children's literature, Ted never had any children of his own.

Timeline of Ted's Life

Copyright Notice

I do not own any of the images displayed on this LibGuide.  All sources are accurately cited in the report. 

About Theodor Seuss Geisel

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts.  He was born to Theodor Robert Geisel, a successful brewmaster, and his mother, Henrietta Seuss Geisel.  At the age of 18 Geisel lived away from home and attended Dartmouth College, where he became editor-in-chief of its humor magazine, Jack-O-Lantern.  However, one night he was caught violating prohibition laws by drinking gin in his room with nine friends, and consequently, was made to resign from his position at the Jack-O-Lantern.  Be that as it may, Geisel covertly continued writing and drawing for the magazine without the administrations knowledge, and it is here he began signing his work with the pen name "Seuss".  

Midnight Painting

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A painting from Ted's Midnight Paintings, titled Lion Stroll

Podcast About Ted Geisel

Further Reading