Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Day 190: Drawing the Cat in the Hat with Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss's bio, taken from his website:
If you want to pronounce the name the way his family did, say Zoice,not Soose. Seuss is a Bavarian name, and was his mother’s maiden name: Henrietta Seuss’s parents emigrated from Bavaria (part of modern-day Germany) in the nineteenth century. Seuss was also his middle name.
Theodor Seuss Geisel — known as “Ted” to family and friends — liked to say that he adopted the name “Dr. Seuss” because he was saving his real name for the Great American Novel he would one day write. But that’s probably not true. When talking to the media, Geisel was more interested in telling a good story than he was in telling a true story.
The true story is also a good one, as we learn in Judith and Neil Morgan’s excellent biography Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel (the primary source for what you are now reading). During his senior year at Dartmouth College, Ted Geisel and nine of his friends were caught drinking gin in his room. This was the spring of 1925, and the dean put them all on probation for violating the laws of Prohibition. He also stripped Geisel of his editorship of Jack-O-Lantern — the college’s humor magazine — where Ted published his cartoons. To evade punishment, Ted Geisel began publishing cartoons under aliases: L. Pasteur, D.G. Rossetti ’25, T. Seuss, and Seuss. These cartoons mark the first time he signed his work “Seuss.”
As a magazine cartoonist, he began signing his work under the mock-scholarly title of “Dr. Theophrastus Seuss” in 1927. He shortened that to “Dr. Seuss” in 1928. In acquiring his professional pseudonym, he also gained a new pronunciation. Most Americans pronounce the name Soose, and not Zoice. And that’s how Ted Geisel became Dr. Seuss.
Don't forget to visit Dr. Seuss's website!