The Dr. Seuss Library
One of the most remarkable libraries in the world is the Geisel Library in San Diego named after Audrey and Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Here is a photo journey of this impressive facility. (Pics)
On December 1, 1995 The University Library Building was renamed Geisel Library in honor of Audrey and Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) for the generous contributions they have made to the library and their devotion to improving literacy.
The Geisel Collection
In the tower, Floors 4 through 8 house much of the Library’s collection and study space, while Floors 1 and 2 house service desks and staff work areas. Some of the austerity of the original building has been lessened by the addition of the coved ceilings, painted walls, and carpeting throughout levels 1 and 2. The new color scheme complements the color scheme in the addition.
The library addition, designed by Gunnar Birkerts, was deliberately designed to be subordinated to the strong, geometrical form of the existing library. The library, designed in the late 1960’s by William Pereira, is an eight story, concrete structure sited at the head of a canyon near the center of the campus. The lower two stories form a pedestal for the six story, stepped tower that has become a visual symbol for Geisel Library. Whatever its metaphorical connotation, its image is preserved and enhanced by the concept for the addition.
The works of Theodor Seuss Geisel, a long-time La Jolla resident better known to his reading audience as Dr. Seuss, have entertained and educated children and their parents for over half a century. In fabricating tales and bringing fantastic creatures to life in the imaginations of young and old alike, he has given us the likes of the Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, Yertle the Turtle, the Grinch, and the Lorax; we now have places to go like Solla Sollew, Who-ville and Sala-ma-Sond. His style of flamboyant, colorful illustrations, surreal surroundings, and clever yet simple rhymes has made his work recognizable throughout the world. These creations are fun, but with a serious purpose. They teach reading, self-confidence, and the wonderful possibilities of our imaginations.
Because of the fragility of the materials in the Seuss Collection, access to the collection is restricted to researchers who have previously obtained permission from the director of special collections. Items from the collection are usually on exhibit during the summer session and during the month of March (Dr. Seuss’ birthday). Please consult the list of exhibits for more details.
UCSD’s Dr. Seuss Collection contains original drawings, sketches, proofs, notebooks, manuscript drafts, books, audio- and videotapes, photographs, and memorabilia. The approximately 8,500 items in the collection document the full range of Dr. Seuss’s creative achievements, beginning in 1919 with his high school activities and ending with his death in 1991. Included are: early student writings, drawings and class notes; commercial art for Standard Oil of New Jersey, Ford Motor and other companies; stories and illustrations published in Judge Magazine, Red Book Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, and other popular magazines of the 1920s and 1930s; anti-fascist political cartoons published chiefly in PM; U.S. Army brochures and other documents related to Geisel’s service during World War II; drawings and text, both rough drafts and finished renderings, for Dr. Seuss’s books; “bone pile” fragments of preliminary drawings, false starts and experimental sketches; scripts, story boards and production notes for screenplay adaptations; his notes as editor of Beginner Books, a division of Random House; and other documents and artifacts that reflect marketing, publishing, commercial production, and public reactions to Dr. Seuss’s work.
The Dr. Seuss Collection is housed in the Mandeville Special Collections Library, located within Geisel Library. It is often featured in library exhibitions, including those celebrating the naming of Geisel Library in December, 1995, and, annually, Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2.
Sculpture in front of the library
The year of the cat… in the hat
Dr. Seuss in action
After devoting 53 years to creating entertaining and instructive books, the good Dr. Seuss taught all that he could teach. Ted Seuss Geisel passed away on September 24, 1991, at the age of 87. As permanent reminder to the reading public, the final line in Ted’s final book (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!) issues the following charge: “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So . . . get on your way!”