Theodore Suess Geisel is best known for the 40-something children’s books he wrote and illustrated under his pen name, Dr. Seuss. But he had quite an interesting “adult” career, as well.
From 1941-1943, Seuss was the chief editorial cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM, and during his reign, he drew more than 400 political cartoons. With World War II on his mind, Seuss’ cartoons often took on Hitler, the Nazi Party, and anti-Semitism at home and abroad.
In Dr. Seuss Goes to War, historian Richard H. Minear collects 200 of Seuss’ political cartoons from PM. In one titled “Spreading the Lovely Goebbel’s Stuff” (September 18, 1941), a creature labeled as “Lindbergh” is shoveling out trash from the “Nazi Anti-Semite Stink Wagon.”
From January 21, 1942: a baby Hitler portrayed throwing a bottle of milk at his mother, exclaiming, “I reject milk from Holstein cows as Non-Aryan.” From April 1, 1942: a U.S. Nazi dragging Uncle Sam to get a “Great German Manicure” at the hands of an executioner wielding a large ax, labeled “Anti-Semitism.”
The cartoons definitely don’t have the same childlike charm as, say, Green Eggs and Ham, but plenty classic Seussian details–from skinny birds to tall top hats–show up in the Doctor’s very adult cartoons.
October 5, 2012