Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

It’s March 2, which can mean only one thing (aside from Texas Independence Day, the first day of the Bahai Nineteen Day Fast, and the anniversary of Ho Chi Minh’s election as president of North Vietnam)…it’s the 107th birthday of Theodor Geisel ’25, everybody’s favorite Dartmouth non-graduate.

It was celebrated in fine style by no less than First Lady Michelle Obama, Jessica Alba, and Packers wide receiver Donald Driver at a Library of Congress reading of Seuss classics. Seuss’ brithday was long ago designated by the National Education Association as “Read Across America Day,” which is as fitting a tribute to Seuss’ legacy as one might imagine. 

I’ve always been a particular fan of his Oh, the Places You’ll Go, which remains one of the most delightfully eloquent and concise treatises on optimism ever written in the English language. Seuss was living proof that you can always bounce back: after getting booted from the College during Prohibition for some illegal gin-drinking in his room with a few friends, he proceeded on to some inconclusive schooling at Oxford (where he met his wife). His first manuscript, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was turned down by 27 different publishers. But life’s obstacles couldn’t stop Geisel, who forged a dazzling career as a writer and illustrator for a variety of publications, companies, and government agencies. Not to mention his career as an author of children’s books. In that role, which didn’t begin until he was middle-aged, he managed to write the works on which kids today are still routinely raised. 

Somehow, this day of tremendous importance has gone mostly unnoticed at Dartmouth, which is a pity, since Seuss is easily the most renowned alumnus the College has ever had: even old Black Dan has been surpassed by Seuss, whose books have sold over 200 million copies in more than a dozen languages. Dartmouth ought to do more to honor Seuss’ birth. At the very least, couldn’t Collis or the Hop dish up some green eggs and ham

So raise a glass (of gin, perhaps) to Dr. Seuss, who told us all when we were little that “Today is your day! / Your mountain is waiting / So… get on your way!” Today is Seuss’ day, and how lucky we are for it.

Charles S. Dameron