Dr. Seuss as a political cartoonist August 17, 2014 – Posted in: Content, Illustration – Tags: cartoons, Children's Books, Dr. Seuss, WWII
Dr. Seuss is forever entrenched in the upper pantheon of children’s books writers. Many of the 46 children’s books he wrote still have a place on our kids bookshelves. From Cat In The Hat to Hop on Pop to Green Eggs and Ham his stories are part of the fabric of many a childhood. His books have sold over 600 million copies, and appear in more than 20 languages. In 2000, Publishers Weekly compiled a list of the best-selling children’s books of all time; of the top 100 hardcover books, 16 were written by Dr. Seuss!
World Telegram & Sun photo by Al Ravenna.
For two years, in the early 1940’s and early in his career Theodor Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Seuss was also the chief editorial cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM. During his tenure he drew over 400 politically charged cartoons.
The current happenings in Ferguson, Missouri lead me to his political cartoon pictured above, “What this country needs is a good mental insecticide,” which led me to his archive housed at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
Here’s a sampling of these powerful and still relevant cartoons:
Himmel! How much thumbs it takes fur dis leaky dike!, published by PM Magazine on August 28, 1941, Dr. Seuss Collection, MSS 230. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library
Measuring up a couple of prospects, published by PM Magazine on March 12, 1942, Dr. Seuss Collection, MSS 230. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library
He has Pursis Emptosis, or Empty Purse… a disease that’s very very bad for morale!, published by PM Magazine on August 25, 1941, Dr. Seuss Collection, MSS 230. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library
The veteran recalls the battle of 1943, published by PM Magazine on January 5, 1943, Dr. Seuss Collection, MSS 230. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library
About half of Geisel’s output was gathered by Richard H. Minear for his book Dr. Seuss Goes to War in 1999, all 400 are cataloged and available online courtesy of UCSD special collections
Dr Seuss Goes To War by Richard H. Minear. Introduction by Art Spiegelman. Published by The New Press, 1999