Theodor Geisel

2009 Lifetime Achievement Award (Posthumous): Theodor Geisel

Ted Geisel grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, and attended Dartmouth College. There, he contributed to Jack-O-Lantern, the college’s humor magazine, signing his work "Seuss." This was his first use of the pseudonym.

Following graduation, Ted went to Oxford University in England. Academic studies bored him, and he decided to tour Europe instead. But Oxford did give him the opportunity to meet a classmate, Helen Palmer, who became his wife and a children’s book author and editor. After returning to the US, Ted pursued a career as a cartoonist. He also created advertising campaigns for Standard Oil and, during WWII, developed a series of animated films for the US Army, featuring a trainee called Private Snafu.

The first children’s book that Ted both wrote and illustrated was And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. His most famous, The Cat in the Hat, was created as a children’s primer, using only 225 “new reader” vocabulary words. He went on to write and illustrate forty-two other books, including such all-time favorites such as Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. The books have been translated into more than twenty languages, have sold over 200 million copies around the world, and have inspired eleven TV specials, a Broadway musical, and a couple of full-length movies. His work has also been honored by two Academy Awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.

After Ted’s first wife died in 1967, he married an old friend, Audrey Stone Geisel, who not only influenced his later books but now extends his legacy in her role as President of Dr. Seuss Enterprises.