It was in 1984 when Dr. Seuss won the Pulitzer Prize. The award was given to him in recognition of his lifetime contribution to literature. Long before he was bestowed the honer, he was already well known and loved by children.
Birth and Early Life
The man was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springsfield, Massachusetts on March 2, 1904. His educational and formative years were spent there. It was during his collegiate days at Darmouth he became involved in writing. In 1921 he became the editor in chief of the Jack o’ Lantern, the school paper.
One day he was caught drinking and ordered to stop all his writing activities. Geisel did not, but used the pseudonym “Dr. Seuss” instead. Prior to the time when Dr. Seuss won the Pulitzer Prize, he had already shown talent in writing stories. Among his early works was Birdsies and Beasties.
After his marriage in 1927, he began writing and submitting humorous tales and drawings to various magazines. His stories would gain widespread notice. He first gained nationwide attention with his work for Flit. Even during the 1930s he was able to find work as an illustrator and cartoonist for various companies like General Electric. It was also during this period that he began writing books.
1940s and Beyond
During World War II, Geisel started working for the newspaper PM. His cartoon illustrations were against Hitler and the fascists. When Dr. Seuss won the Pulitzer Prize, it was also for the stand he took against the dictators.
The period following the war saw Geisel produce some of his finest works. These included “Scrambled Eggs Super”, “On Beyond Zebra” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in 1957. It was also in 1954 that he wrote “Cat in the Hat”, one of his most popular books. Although he wrote mostly children’s books, he also published some works intended for adults. These included the “7 Lady Godivas and “You’re Only Old Once”.
Death and Awards
He passed away on the 24th of September in 1991 while in California (San Diego). When Dr. Seuss won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, it was only one of several awards that he would receive. After his death several more posthumous honors came his way. Among them was the renaming of the UCSD Library to the Geisel Library. A sculpture garden was also inaugurated in Springfield in 2002. He has also been included in the Hall of Fame for the Arts in California.
Geisel produced most of his works in the anapestic tetrameter. It was a popular writing style at the time. But the difference with Geisel was that he also wrote in an engaging manner that children and adults found attractive. Although he had many imitators, no one was able to match his style.
When Dr. Seuss won the Pulitzer Prize it was in recognition of how much his work had encouraged children to read. Although he did not win the Cadelcott medal, the Pulitzer was and is considered as one of the highest honors that can be given to a writer or journalist.