For those of you who grew up with such classics as Green Eggs and Ham and Horton Hears A Who, these World War II editorial cartoons by Theodor Geisel may take you by surprise. This wasn’t a dalliance for Seuss either — the illustrator was a prolific newspaper contributor during the early 1940s.
One does not expect to see the whimsical style of Dr. Seuss applied to real wartime figures. Indeed, you will never see Joseph Stalin’s bear robot and Adolf Hitler’s flying dachshund receive their own Christmas specials or starring songs in Seussical.
The University of California, San Diego’s Dr. Seuss Collection contains a wealth of obscure work and ephemera doodled by the Cat in the Hat author throughout his career, such as his advertising artwork. (This spot for Standard Oil is mildly chilling.) Another collection at UCSD catalogs the artist’s prodigious wartime output:
Because of the fame of his children’s books (and because we often misunderstand these books) and because his political cartoons have remained largely unknown, we do not think of Dr. Seuss as a political cartoonist. But for two years, 1941-1943, he was the chief editorial cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM (1940-1948), and for that journal he drew over 400 editorial cartoons.
Here’s a sampling of Seuss’ many editorial strips. For more adult Seuss, see the bare bottoms of The Seven Ladies Godiva. Hat tip to Precious Roy.