Sunday marks the birthday of late renowned writer, poet and illustrator Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel, but it’s the library at UC San Diego that’s receiving a huge gift: more than 1,500 new Dr. Seuss items from his personal archive.
With this big donation – added to the university’s existing Dr. Seuss Collection, which is housed in Mandeville Special Collections within Geisel Library – a famous, fitting Dr. Seuss quote comes to mind:
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
According to UC San Diego, the materials were donated to the library by Dr. Seuss’ wife, Audrey Geisel. The couple – longtime residents of La Jolla – has supported the university for many years.
The materials include hundreds of rough sketches and drawings for a variety of unpublished projects such as “Cat Ballooning,” “The Pet Shop,” “Bee Watches,” “How Welk Can You Spelk,” “The Clock Book,” and “Arabian Adventures.”
Also among the new items: Dr. Seuss’ ink drawings for a version of “Daisy Head Mayzie.”
There’s also a screenplay treatment by Dr. Seuss for something called “Tex McTarbox and the Fountain of Youth,” described by the beloved author as “the treatment for half of a screen play which I thought had great possibilities for mirth.”
Audrey Geisel told UC San Diego that passing along her late husband’s work to the library helps preserve his legacy.
“I am pleased about more of Ted’s work and memorabilia being in Mandeville Special Collections at Geisel Library,” she said in a statement to UC San Diego. "His Seuss history will be preserved for posterity.”
For more than 20 years, the UC San Diego library has had an extensive, longstanding collection of Dr. Seuss drawings, notebooks and other memorabilia given to the university after Dr. Seuss’ death in 1991.
Over the past decades, Audrey Geisel has continued to generously donate funds and materials to the Geisel Library.
Today, thanks to those colorful contributions, Mandeville Special Collections houses more than 10,000 items in its Dr. Seuss Collection, including original drawings, sketches, manuscript drafts, books, notebooks, photographs and memorabilia. The items document the full range of the author’s achievements, from his high school activities in 1919 through his death.
Brian E. C. Schottlaender, The Audrey Geisel University Librarian, said the new materials are highly valuable to the university.
“The UC San Diego Library is thrilled to receive this addition of creative materials to our fabulous Dr. Seuss Collection. We greatly treasure our Dr. Seuss materials and view Ted Geisel as much more than one of the most popular authors of children’s books. He is also a symbol of extreme creativity and innovation, values that are part of this University’s DNA,” said Schottlaender.
UC San Diego chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla agrees.
“Theodor and Audrey Geisel have been generous and stalwart supporters of UC San Diego and our Library,” said Khosla. “We are honored and grateful to receive these amazing new materials and feel certain that they will inspire more phenomenal Dr. Seuss books. It is clear that Ted Geisel’s creative genius never ceased to burn bright.”
The new materials will be exhibited through the end of March in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
Lynda Claassen, the director of the Library’s Special Collections & Archives, said they’re certainly worth exploring.
“It’s an amazing collection of rough drafts, sketches, project notes, and more…further evidence of Ted Geisel’s whimsical imagination and ever-present creativity. They add another dimension to the wealth of materials we already hold by illustrating how he expanded on early ideas with new freshness or how many ideas he had that were never fully realized. There are several unpublished book-length manuscripts in the gift, and these will probably be forthcoming from his publisher in the next few years.”
As is done every year, UC San Diego will hold its annual birthday party for Dr. Seuss. This year, the celebration takes place Monday at noon in front of Geisel Library. The party will boast a giant, inflatable “Cat in the Hat” and 2,000 cupcakes will be served with the help of Khosla and Schottlaender.
The party will also feature live musical entertainment from The Teeny Tiny Pit Orchestra, playing songs from “The Cat in the Hat Songbook.”