Contemporary Characters

Historical Encounters

Page-turning Adventure

How Dr. Seuss Got His Start

By A.K. Patch on Jun 22, 2017

Did you ever wonder how Dr. Seuss, the iconic author and illustrator of such children’s books as THE CAT IN THE HAT, THE GRINCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS, and THE LORAX got his start?

Theodor Seuss Geisel, who lived to age 87, grew up Springfield, Massachusetts and matriculated at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire in 1925.

While at Dartmouth, Geisel joined a fraternity. This was during Prohibiition, 1920 – 1933; even on college campuses, no alcohol was allowed. 

Mention college and fraternity in the same breath, and there's bound to be mischief.  And Giesel and his fraternity were no different. And that mischief often leads to trouble.

For Geisel, drinking gin with nine of his frat brothers in a dorm room turned out to be the cause of trouble, a bad idea with a good result.

The fraternity brothers were caught drinking, and Geisel ‘s particular punishment was being removed as editor-in-chief of the Dartmouth "Jack-O-Lantern", a humor magazine.

Not one to be waylaid from his chosen course, Geisel began writing undercover with the surname of Seuss.  His writing came to the attention of a professor  who inspired him to write further at Dartmouth and beyond.

He subsequently attended Lincoln College in Oxford, England as an English literature major, but instead, decided on a career as an illustrator.

Throughout the late 1930’s and during WWII, Geisel put his sharp wit and intelligence together with his talent for illustration together in political cartoons that stood strong against American isolationism.  By the late 1930’s he was also publishing the first of his children’s books under the pen name he had assumed at Dartmouth, Seuss.

Like Theodore Geisel, we may experience set-backs in life, some of our own making, and others not.  Hopefully, like him, and just like water, we find a way around obstacles and discover a new road to success.  If we do so, who knows what we might accomplish.

Allan Patch is the author of the contemporary/historical fiction thriller Apollo Series. Passage at Delphi and Delphi’s Chosen use contemporary characters, historical encounters, and page-turning adventure to pose the question: what must we learn from our past to ensure our future. Read more from Allan at