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How a famous Dartmouth grad became Dr. Seuss - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

How a famous Dartmouth grad became Dr. Seuss

Hanover, New Hampshire - March 2, 2010

Tucked away in the corner of Baker Library on the campus of Dartmouth College is a room dedicated to Dr. Seuss.

"It is a very comfortable place to be just working and I think that not many people on campus know about it," said Utkarsh Agarwal, a freshman.

Theodor Geisel, the man behind dozens of famous children's stories like "The Grinch who Stole Christmas," graduated from Dartmouth in 1925. During his time there he was a satirist for the school's magazine called The Jack-O-Lantern.

"The humor magazines at Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown were sold in newsstands in New York City and Boston. They were considered the equivalent of what today would be the New Yorker," said Don Pease, a Dartmouth English professor.

According to Pease, Geisel was very proud of his position as editor. But it's a title Geisel would lose one fateful night on campus.

"His senior year he decided to hold a party for all of the Jack-O-Lantern staff," Pease recounted.

Geisel's party got out of hand, thanks to a couple of unruly guests. As punishment, his name was stripped from the Jack-O-Lantern publication. But Geisel continued drawing for the magazine under pseudonyms; finally settling on Seuss.

"Which happens to have been his mother's maiden name," Pease said.

Geisel's mom was a strong supporter of her son's art growing up and Pease says the use of her name was a way to pay tribute to her. Pease recently finish a biography on Geisel which focused on the relationship between Seuss' life and work. Like Geisel's very first book for kids, "The Cat in the Hat."

"The Cat in the Hat's success, it sold over a million copies the first year," Pease said. "Led all of its prior books to be retroactively turned into best sellers."

And forever cemented the name of the author who once roamed the Dartmouth campus as Dr. Seuss.

"More than just these people. The fact that it has a sense of community and just become leaders in different field, I think that is one of the good things about Dartmouth definitely," Agarwal said.

Geisel was not exactly known for his studies on campus. In fact, he was voted by some as the least likely to succeed. He then went on to become one of the most well-known children's authors of all time giving credibility to the phrase he helped make famous-- "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

Click here for more on Dr. Seuss.

Adam Sullivan - WCAX News

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