Geisel was born in Springfield, Mass. and was the son of a German immigrant who had inherited the family brewery...one month before prohibition began. sigh.
He showed an early penchant for cartooning, and as a student at Dartmouth College, he contributed regularly to the college humor magazine "The Jack O Lantern", eventually becoming it's editor-in-chief. One day he was caught in his dorm room with a few friends enjoying that juniper berry flavored ambrosia known to the hoi polloi as gin. Again, this was during prohibition and he was punished by the school by being banned from all extra-curricular activities...including the "Jack O Lantern".
Being a proper German heritage-drunken-cartoonist-rebel (ya gotta love us) he continued his work there under his mothers maiden name. "Seuss". After he graduated, his work that appeared there was properly signed "Dr. Seuss".
The rest is history.
You all of course know the bulk of the good Dr.'s work. The author/illustrator of maybe the most beloved children's books known to man. "The Cat in the Hat", "Green Eggs & Ham", "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish", "Yertle the Turtle", "Horton Hears a Who" and "...Hatches the Egg", "The 500 Hats of "Bartholomew Cubbins" and on and on, including the perennial "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" are amazingly, just a few of the titles under his hat. I thought I'd run down some of his other work, outside the children's book medium.
One area I've just learned about, is his work in the advertising field in the mid-1930's. His most successful being for an insecticide named "Flit".
Another foray in the 1930's was his attempt at a newspaper comic strip. Called "Hejji" this strip on ran for a brief time in 1935. It's great to see the few examples I've seen. His work was so often relegated to economic 2 color printing in his children's books, it's nice to see his wonderfully quirky style in glorious 4-color.
"And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street" is really fitting for a first I think. A cannon that eventually took us to so many amazing worlds and lands unlike our own, and the wonder of this book is all the amazing things you can see just outside your own front door. For all his metered rhymes and basic words that taught us all how to read, this kind of stuff is what I most appreciate learning from him.
Amazing things are everywhere!
A book that he produced later taught us all, that life is an adventure. Don't just take what is handed to you as "that's all there is"...those sights on Mulberry Street and more are everywhere that life takes us.
Open your eyes kid. Life is fun. It's not about paperwork.
Please continue existing ("living"'s too strong a word) as I suppose you have the right. Keep watching that clock...you'll be dead soon...don't worry.
During WWII, Dr. Seuss worked for the war department making propaganda material. The war department commandeered the animators over at Warner Bros. to make some cartoons for the soldiers to warn against such things as rumors, spies and booby traps and lessons on how to protect yourself from things like malaria and VD.
DR. SEUSS BONUS:
I feel bad that I was a day late with my post for Dr. Seuss, there are a lot of birthdays this week in my head and I guess he got swept under the rug. So here's one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books/animated TV specials, "The Lorax".