Seriously, Dr. Seuss

March 19, 2012 // Filed under Blog

                         

Did you know that Dr. Seuss drew political cartoons during World War II?

From 1941-1943, Theodor Seuss Geisel composed over 400 wartime editorial cartoons for the New York journal PM.  While he targeted Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and the Japanese, his cartoons also ridiculed any notions of appeasement or American isolationism. Dr. Seuss derided Charles Lindbergh and the America First movement, and he often used an ostrich as a stand-in for these isolationists.  The University of California, San Diego, now owns the originals of his political cartoons, two of which are shown here courtesy of UCSD.

Approximately half of the editorial cartoons were selected for the 1999 publication, Dr. Seuss Goes to War, by Richard H. Minear. The book contains full page images of the cartoons arranged by the author based on topics such as “The Home Front” and “Winning the War.” Minear also addresses the crass insensitivity shown to Asian-Americans, specifically Japanese-Americans, in several of these cartoons.  By means of explanation rather than excuse, Minear elucidates the historical background and wartime context which drove Dr. Seuss’s editorial commentary.  You’ll find a copy of Dr. Seuss Goes to War among the featured books in the current “Dr. Seuss!” display in our lobby. -Evelyn Fischel

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