Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. His family immigrated from Germany and spoke German at home although Ted spoke English at school. His family was Jewish. His father owned a brewery until Prohibition, at which time he then became a superintendent of the city parks and the local zoo. Ted would often visit the zoo, sketching pictures of the animals.
As a teenager, Ted and his fellow scouts sold bonds to help with the war efforts. He was one of the top earners of the period. After high school, he went on to Dartmouth College in 1925 where he was editor of the school's humor magazine, the Jack-o-Lantern. He then went on to Oxford College in England, as his father had always wanted his son to be a professor. Unfortunately, he didn't finish his studies although he did meet Helen Palmer who became later became his wife. (Helen also became a noted children's author and editor.)
Upon returning to the United States, Ted and Helen lived in New York. He spent years working in advertising then joined the U.S. Army as a movie maker where he made two Oscar-winning documentaries. Later, he earned another Oscar for "Gerald McBoing Boing," and began working as a cartoonist for several magazines.
Ted's first children's book, And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 29 different publishers before it was finally accepted and published in 1937. The famous, The Cat in the Hat, was published in 1954, on a bet that Ted made with where was challenged to write a book with less than 250 words; this one contained only 233. Green Eggs and Ham, published in 1960, and his second most popular book, comes in with only 50 words! In 1958, Ted founded the Beginner Books division of Random Books (publishing house).
He and Helen moved to La Jolla, California and continued their writing. In 1967, Helen, passed away after having suffered a stroke. He then went on marry a good friend, Audrey Stone, who carried on where Helen had left off. Then, in the 1980s, during a dental visit, it was discovered that Ted had cancer. He passed away at the age of 87 on September 24, 1991.
*His first wife, Helen, was also a noted children's book author!