Five Interesting Facts to Celebrate the Birthday of Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss was born Ted Geisel on March 2, 1904, meaning today would have been his 114th birthday! Check out these amazing facts you probably didn’t know about the man behind the Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham…

#1. Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham on a bet.

Dr. Seuss himself—a.k.a. Ted Geisel—pictured here with perhaps his most famous book. Photo source: WikiCommons

After some blockbuster hits like Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas in the late 1950’s, Seuss’ editor, Bennett Cerf, thought the Doctor could use a new challenge. He bet Seuss that he couldn’t write a book using just 50 words. Seuss said, “challenge accepted,” and the end result was Green Eggs and Ham: his best-selling book with over 8 million copies in circulation. The 50 words, in order, were: I am Sam; that; do not like; you green eggs and ham; them; would here or there; anywhere; in a house with mouse; eat box fox; car they; could; may will see tree; let me be; train on; say the dark; rain; goat; boat; so try may; if; good; thank. Talk about a tongue twister.

#2. His name rhymed with “voice,” not “moose.”

Sorry to spoil it for you folks, but you’ve been saying the guy’s name wrong your whole lives. Ted Geisel first adopted the moniker while at Dartmouth College after getting banned from writing for the school paper after being caught with gin in his dorm room. He went by “Seuss” to continue writing (and later added the “Doctor” because his dad always wanted him to go into medicine). But, he never intended the name to be pronounced the way we all do today. Instead, he wanted the name to go by the German pronunciation, which rhymed the name with “voice.” A friend even wrote a short poem to help with pronunciation:

You’re wrong as the deuce,

And you shouldn’t rejoice

If you’re calling him Seuss.

He pronounces it Soice (or Zoice).

#3. Writing and illustrating books for kids was not his only artistic job.

Dr. Seuss working on illustrations for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Image Source: WikiCommons

During World War II, Seuss enlisted in the Army and became commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces. Not a bad gig, all things considered. Seuss was responsible for creating animated propaganda films. Before hitting it big in the children’s books universe, Seuss also held down a job as an artist for advertisements. Seuss drew cartoons for General Electric, NBC, Standard Oil, and Narragansett Brewing Company.

#4. Seuss was a big fan of symbolism.

You might pick up a Dr. Seuss book and think it’s all just a bunch of nursery rhymes about boisterous cats or multi-colored fish, but the truth is that there’s a lot more beneath the surface. Take Yertle the Turtle for example. A domineering turtle with a whole pond to call his own gets greedy and tyrannizes his fellow turtles in his quest for multi-pond domination? If that sounds to you like a not-so-subtle allegory for Adolf Hitler, you’re absolutely right. Seuss later acknowledged the Turtle was a symbol of Hitler and Nazi Germany.

#5. His first book was turned down by 27 different publishers.

It took 28 tries to get And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street published, a process so frustrating that Seuss nearly burned his draft of the book. But, he persisted, and after writing over 40 books in his lifetime and selling more than half-a-billion copies, Dr. Seuss is one of the most successful children’s authors of all time.

Advertisements

A Little Trivia for Today

Previously holding the position as Princeton University president, which president was nicknamed “Professor”?

Before entering politics, Woodrow Wilson spent many years as a college professor. He would become president of Princeton University and Governor of New Jersey before becoming elected the 28th President of the United States. Wilson led America through World War I and crafted the Versailles Treaty’s “Fourteen Points,” the last of which was creating a League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations. An advocate for democracy and world peace, “The Professor” is often ranked by historians as one of the nation’s greatest presidents.

Did you know…? This Day in History

Did You Know…Canned beer makes its debut on this day in 1935. In partnership with the American Can Company, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2,000 cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale to faithful Krueger drinkers in Richmond, Virginia. Canned beer was an immediate success. Ninety-one percent of the drinkers approved of the canned beer, driving Krueger to give the green light to further production. By the end of the year, 37 breweries follow the lead of the Gottfried Krueger Brewery.

Did you know…? Series of Highlights in Internet History

Highlights in Internet History

Did you know…Co-founded in 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo while they were PhD students at Stanford, the company that would become a leading search engine and pioneer of the internet used to go by a much lesser known name. The search engine giant began as Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web, but by 1995 the founders realized they’d need something a bit more concise, so they renamed the company Yahoo! — an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.” According to Filo, the exclamation point was added for “pure marketing hype.”

Quote

Happy Sunday! Here’s Today’s Quote…

All your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate…I choose love. 


Johnny Cash

When legendary musician Johnny Cash (born February 26, 1932) joined the Air Force, he wasn’t allowed to use his birth name, J.R., so he named himself John. Based in Germany during the Korean War, Cash was a Morse Code interpreter and became the first American to know of Stalin’s death.

Quote

Here’s a Quote to start the week off right! Have a great Monday! 

Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love. 


Charles M. Schulz
February 13, 2000: The last original Peanuts comic strip was published 17 years ago today. Poor Charlie Brown’s undying love for the little red-haired girl was never returned in the strip.

Quote

Thanks Goodness It’s Friday! Here’s Your Quote of the Day!

Sometimes thou seem’st not as thyself alone, But as the meaning of all things that are. 


Dante Gabriel Rossetti

February 10, 1862: Poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s wife, Lizzie Siddal, died 152 years ago today. At her funeral the distraught husband lay the only manuscript of his poems to rest in his wife’s coffin. Seven years later, he had her body exhumed and retrieved his work.

Quote

Happy Humpday! Here’s Your Quote and Author of the Day for February 8th!

The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. 


~Kate Chopin



Kate Chopin (born February 8, 1850) wrote the early feminist novel The Awakening. She first began writing on the advice of her doctor, who thought that it would be therapeutic after the close deaths of her mother and her husband.

Quote

Quote of the Day for September 3rd!

Find your quiet center of life and write from that to the world. 


Sarah Orne Jewett
Sarah Orne Jewett (born September 3, 1849) was known for her regional fiction that focused on life in her native Maine. Her stories and vignettes—often about New England’s declining farms and seaports—appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and other periodicals. Critics consider her best book to be The Country of the Pointed Firs, which beautifully captured the flavor of an isolated seaport town, and she was a lasting influence on Willa Cather, who dedicated O Pioneers! to her.

Quote

Quote of the Day for August 2nd

In the planning stage of a book, don’t plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it. 


Rose Tremain

Happy birthday, Rose Tremain! The award-winning British novelist (Restoration, Music & Silence, The Road Home) focuses on historical narratives and the lives of outsiders. She studied English as an undergraduate at the University of East Anglia in the U.K., later taught creative writing there, and is now the chancellor—the first writer, woman, and UEA graduate to step into that role.