63 facts about the world of Dr. Seuss

American children’s author Dr. Seuss was born on March 2, 1904.

In 2022, Dr. Seuss turned 118 years old. In honor of his birthday, Here are 63 facts you might not know about the best-selling children’s book author.

1. dr. Seuss was born Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts

2. Seuss attributes his love of verse to his mother. When he was a kid, she made up rhymes based on cake flavors to entertain him

3. His father was a master brewer and owned one of the largest breweries in New England. But when the ban went into effect in 1920, the brewery closed.

4. After the brewery closed, Dr. Seuss to run the local zoo. Seuss liked to visit his father at work and when he came home he tried to draw the animals he saw on his walls.¹

dr. Seuss shakes hands with his character, The Cat in the Hat, in Louisiana in 1988. (Associated Press/dseussart.com/biochild)

Examples of these sculptures can be found here.

6. Seuss’s father would invent intricate inventions in his spare time, such as the “silk-stocking-back-seam-failure-detecting mirror.”

7. Seuss attended Dartmouth from 1921-1925, where he was a contributor and editor of the college’s humor magazine, The Jack-O-Lantern.

8. Seuss was banned from The Jack-O-Lantern after being caught with alcohol during Prohibition. To undermine this, he submitted cartoons under the names T. Seuss and Seuss. This is how he first came to use his famous pseudonym.

9. Seuss was voted “Least Chance of Success” by his classmates at Dartmouth.

Theodor Seuss Geisel is Dr. seuss. (Courtesy of Dr. Seuss Enterprises/earlymoments.com and thoughtco.com)

11. Seuss added ‘Dr.’ to his name as a comfort to his father, who had hoped that he would practice medicine.

12. In 1956, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, Dartmouth.

13. “Zoyce” is Seuss’s German pronunciation, but readers would say “Soose”

14. Seuss liked that “Soose” rhymed with Mother Goose, so he adopted the pronunciation.¹

Taylor Momsen plays Cindy Lou Who in the 2000 film adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. (Getty Images/Handout/dseussart.com/bioearly)

16. Judge, the magazine that launched Seuss’ career, was sometimes unable to pay their staff. Instead, they would give away free samples of soda, shaving cream, and nail clippers.¹

17. Seuss was the creator of a wildly successful bug spray ad with the tagline “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” The punch line led to a 17-year advertising campaign for Flit bug spray.

18. Seuss started making children’s books because it was one of the few creative projects not banned by his advertising contract.¹

19. The pocket book of boners was the very first book published under the pseudonym Seuss. The book is a collection of “boners” – silly mistakes found in class papers. By 1945 it had sold 1.34 million copies.

And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street is Dr. seuss. (Penguin Random House/crixeo.com/dr-seuss)

21. His debut book was rejected 27 times before finally going to the printing press.

22. Presumably, Seuss would write and discard between 500 and 1,000 pages during the first draft of a picture book.¹

23. Reportedly, he would write for eight hours every day.

24. Seuss devoted himself to creating books for early readers after he came across an article about American children who have difficulty learning to read.¹

The Seven Lady Godivas was a flop and Seuss went back to writing children’s books. (Penguin Random House/crixeo.com/dr-seuss)

26. In 1942, Seuss began making political posters encouraging America to go to war.

27. During World War II, he enlisted in the military and was sent to Hollywood to create propaganda cartoons depicting the military misadventures of Private SNAFU.¹

28. Seuss’s work has won two Academy Awards. An adapted version of a wartime training video about Japanese culture, titled Design for deathwon best documentary in 1948. A cartoon based on the Seuss story, Gerald McBoing-Boing won the Best Animated Short Film Award in 1951.¹

29. Seuss was awarded the Legion of Merit for his efforts during the war. However, he regretted some of his cartoons, which depicted Japanese Americans in abusive caricatural styles.

30. These offensive drawings were not limited to war propaganda. In 2019, researchers Katie Ishizuka and Ramón Stephens published a paper in Research into diversity in children’s literature, documents the author’s long history of racially depicting people of color in cartoons and magazine advertisements. Their findings can be found here.

31. Horton hears a who! was inspired by Seuss’ time in Japan. It was published in 1954. Seuss dedicated the book to Mitsugi Nakamura, the dean of Doshisha University in Kyoto, who assisted him as he toured schools across the country interviewing children.

32. Seuss met his wife, Helen Palmer, while they were attending Oxford University in 1926. He was working on an MA in English, but he never finished his studies.¹

33. Seuss married Helen in 1927. They moved to an apartment in New York City where Seuss worked to establish himself as a cartoonist.

34. He and Helen were unable to have children.¹

dr. Seuss talks to children at a Barnes & Noble in New York on February 27, 1986. (Associated Press/Who Was Dr. Seuss?)

36. Helen handled almost all of Seuss’s affairs

37. After World War II, he and Helen moved to an old watchtower on a mountain outside of La Jolla, California.¹

38. Seuss and Helen had a print of Random House called Beginner Books.¹

39. After Helen died in 1967, Seuss remarried a year later. His second wife, Audrey Stone Dimond, had never heard of Seuss and assumed he was a doctor.¹

Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States. He served between 1901-1909. (Hulton Archive/Stringer/Who Was Dr Seuss?)

41. Seuss’ phone number was one digit away from the local fishmonger. Seuss sometimes sent the caller a drawing of the fish they ordered, instead of referring them to the store.¹

42. Seuss is credited with inventing the word “nerd.” It first appeared in If I ran the zoo in 1950.¹

43. Seuss had a license plate that read “GRINCH”.¹

44. Published in 1953, Seuss .’s book The Sneetches is used in the classroom today as an ‘anti-racist fable’. However, researchers Ishizuka and Stephens’ modern interpretation of the story suggest the opposite. Their article indicates that, among other problematic views, the book promotes color blindness, ignoring the historical and long-lasting impact of racism.

45. Green eggs and ham was written on a bet of $50. Bennett Cerf, co-founder of Random House, challenged the author to write a book with just 50 words and Seuss delivered.

46. The Butter Battle Bookpublished in 1984, was the first children’s book to be on the New York Times’ adult bestseller list for six months.¹

47. Yertle the turtle was based on Adolf Hitler

48. Seuss discovered the Bear Spot Bears creators and supposedly edited and republished their first book before it was published. He forced the authors to connect more with the characters, asking questions like, “What kind of pipe tobacco does Papa Bear smoke?”

49. Seuss wrote the 1953 fantasy film The 5,000 fingers of Dr. t. The film was a commercial failure, but has since become a cult classic

50. Seuss was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for “his outstanding contribution over nearly half a century to the education and enjoyment of American children and their parents.”

51. He was the first person to win the Pulitzer Prize for writing children’s books.¹

52. In 1989, the logging industry wanted the Lorax removed from school reading lists. This was the first time any of Seuss’ books had faced censorship

53. Truax by Terri Birkett, the logging industry’s response to the Loraxwas published in 1994 by the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association

54. Oh, the places you go was the last book he published alive

The portrait of Dr. Seuss hangs on a wall in The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts. (Associated Press/biography.com/Who Was Dr. Seuss?)

56. In 2010, Life Books named Seuss on their list of 100 people who changed the world.

57. Seuss has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

58. He won a Peabody Award for the animated specials How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Horton hears a who!

Readings of the stories of Dr. Seuss have won three Grammys. (RCA Records/grammy.com)

60. Marvin Miller won two Grammys: in 1965 for his album dr. Seuss Presents: Fox in Socks & Green Eggs and Ham and in 1966 for dr. Seuss Presents: If I Ran The Zoo & Sleep Book† Boris Karloff won in 1967 for dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

61. A new, previously unpublished Dr. Seuss Story, Horse Museumwill be released posthumously on September 3, 2019.

62. dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company that preserves and protects the author’s legacy, announced in 2021 that six Dr. Seuss books – including And to think I saw it on Mulberry Street and If I ran the zoo — is no longer published due to racist and insensitive imagery.

63. In 2022, Dr. Seuss Enterprises states that it is a series by Dr. Seuss inspired books will launch with different creators. The new series of books features original stories inspired by previously unpublished illustrations selected from the author’s archives at the University of California San Diego.

¹From Who was Dr. Seuss? by Janet B. Pascal ©2011, published by Penguin Workshop.

Leave a Comment