Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! National Read Across America Day

Theodor Seuss Geisel (March 2, 1904-September 24, 1991)  World Telegram & Sun photo by Al Ravenna.

Theodor Seuss Geisel (March 2, 1904-September 24, 1991) World Telegram & Sun photo by Al Ravenna.

Imagine my surprise when I stopped at Google today and did not find a Google Doodle tribute to Dr. Seuss as they customarily do for famous and beloved authors. Born March 2nd, 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel, he is best know by the pen name Dr. Seuss. He would author 46 children’s books throughout his career as well as produce war posters during WWII and other material for the US Army, such as the Private Snafu animated training shorts, news paper political cartoons and much more. Best know for his children’s books, especially Cat In The Hat, Green Eggs and Ham,  and many other classics, Dr. Seuss was both author and illustrator of his works. Everyone I know, it would seem, has a favorite Dr. Seuss book, mine being Fox In Socks. Where as most children’s books are generational and a passing fad, Dr. Seuss’s work transcends generations and has become iconic in our culture, relevant and popular as ever today as it was 50 years ago.  In recent years Dr. Seuss has made a resurgence in our culture with a handful of feature films including How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Horton Hears A Who and The Lorax. Dr. Seuss however, would probably prefer that children read his books rather than watch them in a feature film version.

At auction, Dr. Seuss original sketches of his famous characters and first edition books remain strong items in the market. An original sketch of The Cat In The Hat can sell in excess of $1500, where as a fist edition of the book can sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on condition. Unlike other authors who tend to peak in the market and fade away, with Dr. Seuss’s pervasiveness in pop culture today it is likely that generations to come will collect Seuss stuff. The baby boomers read them to us, we read them to our children and we teach them to read with Seuss and the cycle will likely continue. This is what makes collectors.

In tribute to Dr. Seuss, March 2nd typically marks National Read Across America Day, an event founded by the National Education Association (moved to March 1st in 2013). Just a few fun facts about him:

  • Dr. Seuss wanted all of his children’s books to be at least 60 pages long.
  • Dr. Seuss was not a doctor, although he fully intended to pursue his doctorate from Lincoln College at Oxford, but did not complete his studies.
  • A perfectionist, it was not unusual for him to spend a year writing a book and throw away 90% of his work if it failed to meet his standards.
  • Most people mispronounce Seuss as “Sewss.” While this is the accepted pronunciation, Geisel himself explained that his middle name rhymes “voice” and is appropriately pronounced “soice.”

About Berkeley Brown
Anson Brown, co-founder and principal of Auction Exclusive, is an expert in rare books, prints, antique maps, historical manuscripts and autographs. He is also well versed in a variety of fine and decorative arts and antiques and has 7 years experience in the auction industry. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from George Mason University and and Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland.

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