Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Several factors from his childhood contributed to the great success he achieved later on in his life. Young Theodor and his father, Theodor Robert Geisel, shared a very close relationship and they took many walks together at the nearby park and Springfield zoo. It was within this zoo where Theodor discovered his love for nature towards both animals and plants. Theodor frequently brought along his sketchbook to draw pictures of the amazing creatures he saw. Although his sketches never quite looked like actual animals, they led to his vivid illustrations of the fun characters we are so familiar with in his books (Dean). Not only did Theodor’s father help mold the path of his son’s future, but his mother did as well. Henrietta Seuss Geisel was Theodor’s inspiration to enter into the world of poetry. As a child, she would recite little rhyming chants to Theodor and his siblings, and it is to his mother that he credited his rhymes to (Krull).
    Another major factor that had a big impact on Geisel’s writing style was that he was German. Theodor’s family raised him to appreciate his German background. He practiced German traditions on a regular basis and spoke German as his first language. Many Americans, like Theodor, were very proud of their strong ties to their European cultures. However, once the World War I era came about, these attitudes began to change. After news had arrived about the sinking of the Lusitania by the Germans, German-Americans were looked at differently—they were now the enemies. Even small towns like Springfield, in which Theodor lived, received negative comments (Dean). He was constantly picked on and bullied during school due to his German ethnicity and it is because of this that he developed a strong awareness of injustice (Krull).
    Theodor Geisel expressed his love for drawing all throughout the early stages of his life. Sometimes he even drew on his bedroom walls with crayons. He drew zoo animals, imaginary creatures, or whatever happened to have popped into his head. He also enjoyed comic strips, such as Krazy Kat. When he was twelve, his parents entered him in a drawing contest and he won first prize (Krull). However, when he enrolled in an art class during high school, his teacher constantly told him that he would be unsuccessful because he “broke the rules;” he always exaggerated or gave his drawings unrealistic features, such as horses with wings or goats with horns that were ten feet long (Cohen).
     Despite the negative feedback from his art teacher, he wrote stories and drew cartoons for his school newspaper. In addition, his class voted him both “Class Artist” and “Class Wit.” Theodor was often misunderstood due to his non-academic pursuits, but people just failed to realize that he had a unique way of seeing things (Krull).
     Theodor had only one teacher who gave him encouragement. This same teacher also told him to apply to Dartmouth College. While in college, he violated the national prohibition laws of the time by having thrown one too many parties with his fraternity brothers. The college then forced him to resign as the editor of the Jack-O-Lantern, which was a humor magazine. To keep himself from getting into trouble, Theodor wrote for the magazine under the name Seuss, which was his mother’s maiden name and his own middle name (Krull).
     After his time at Darmouth, Theodor went onto Oxford to please his father. While growing bored in his academic studies, he often doodled during lectures, which caught the eye of a fellow student at Oxford, Helen Palmer. She suggested that he become an artist instead of a professor, as his father had hoped for (Krull). Theodor took her advice and later married her in 1927. After graduating college, the title “Dr.” was added before Seuss to acknowledge his father’s unfulfilled hopes that one day, Theodor would earn a doctorate degree at Oxford (Krull). Soon after his marriage to Helen, Theodor became known throughout the nation due to his advertisements for Flit, a popular insecticide at the time (Cohen).
He then entered into the realm of political cartoons, and earned much respect in his efforts to support the war. With hundreds of political cartoons, he became an activist in the pro-American campaign, and led the nation in its fervent war efforts (Cohen).
     In 1948, Theodor moved to La Jolla, California with Helen. Then he began publishing his children’s books at an approximate rate of two every year. This was the prime time of his career. Sadly, Helen died in 1967, but he remarried Audrey Stone in 1969. He continued writing many children’s stories and did so up until the year before his death. Theodor Geisel passed away on September 24 in 1991 (Dean). Although this marks the end of an extraordinary author, poet, critic, and cartoonist, his legacy will live on forever.