5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Dr. Seuss

On March 2, 1904, Dr. Seuss was born and became the illustrator and author of many beloved children’s books. Here are 5 fascinating facts  you didn't know about Theodor Geisel, familiarly known to children and adults around the world as Dr. Seuss...

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Dr. Seuss Was Never a Doctor Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Seuss Geisel, and although he attended both Dartmouth University and Lincoln College, Oxford, he never earned a doctorate degree. Geisel's parents had always wanted him to become a physician, so Seuss added the "Dr." title to his pseudonym. In 1956, however, Dr. Seuss was given an honorary doctorate by his alma mater Dartmouth. Additionally, in 1980, Whittier College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. 

Pretty Much Everyone Mispronounces His Name Geisel began using the name Seuss, which was the maiden name of this mother, while in college. At this time, he was working at Dartmouth’s humor magazine and did so until a bottle of gin was found in his room and he lost his job as the editor. Most people mispronounce the name Seuss which actually rhymes with “voice.” However, so many people mispronounced his name that the author eventually gave up and stopped correcting it when it was pronounced as rhyming with “goose.”

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He Coined a Popular Word Dr. Seuss is credited with coming up with the word “nerd,” which appears in his 1950 book “If I Ran the Zoo.” The book is about a boy named Gerald McGrew, who bragged about the things he would do if he ran the zoo. One of the things he mentions is that he would bring to the zoo a creature called a nerd that lived in a place called Ka-Troo. It was only later that "nerd" took on its modern-day connotation.

Dr. Seuss Often Wrote Books That Were Allegories In “Horton Hears a Who” the elephant visits Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped on it during World War II and the book talks about the treatment of Japan by America afterward. “The Butter Battle Book contains references to the arms race and the Cold War between the United States and Russia. Some libraries actually pulled it from their shelves about six months after it was released because of its political overtones. Seuss himself admitted that “Yertle the Turtle,” who stands on top of his subjects trying to reach beyond the moon, was based on Adolph Hitler.

Green Eggs and Ham Was Written on a Bet Seuss’s editor, Bennett Cerf, had a bet with the author in 1960 that he could not produce a book containing only 50 different words. Seuss took the bet and won. The book that resulted from the bet, one of Seuss’s favorites with children, was “Green Eggs and Ham.” By 2019, eight million copies of his charming 50-word book had sold worldwide.