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Biography Details Source Of Dr. Seuss’ Imagination

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A new biography about Ted Geisel reminds San Diego fans that Dr. Seuss was not just a local celebrity, he was actually an international icon. By the time Geisel died in 1991, he'd published 48 Dr. Seuss books in more than 20 languages.

Aired: May 9, 2019 | Transcript

Photo credit: John Bryson/The Life Image Collection/Getty Images

Ted Geisel, author of 48 children's books under the name Dr. Seuss, is pictured in an undated photo. Geisel also took great delight in mounting real animal horns on sculpted Seussian animal heads, including this Blue Green Abelard, hanging on the wall of his own office. A lifelong cigarette smoker, Geisel regularly tried—and failed—to give up the habit. A frequent effort involved clamping down on a pipe filled with radish or strawberry seeds, which he would water with an eyedropper when he felt the urge to smoke.

San Diego sometimes takes a proprietary attitude over the memory of Dr. Seuss.

Ted Geisel, the author of beloved children's books, "Green Eggs and Ham," and "The Cat In The Hat," and his wife, Audrey, were major celebrities in town for many years. Geisel’s archives are now in a UC San Diego library named after him and many institutions, including KPBS, have benefited from the Geisel estate.

Now a new biography is out reminding local fans that Dr. Seuss was not just a local celebrity, he was actually an international icon. By the time Geisel died in 1991, he had published 48 Seuss books in more than 20 languages.

"For Ted, it had always been the books that mattered most — and nearly 30 years after his death, books by Dr. Seuss still sell as well and as fast as ever," author Brian Jay Jones, writes in a new biography, "Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodore Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination."

"At a time when parents and teachers were concerned children's minds had been lost to television forever, Dr. Seuss had made reading exciting again," Jones writes in the book.

Jones will be at Warwick's speaking and signing copies of the book on Thursday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. He joins Midday Edition Thursday to talk about Dr. Seuss' legacy.

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