An Unlikely War Artist

Many children grew up learning to read with Dr. Seuss. National Read Across America Day (March 2) celebrates Dr. Seuss’s Birthday and his literary impact. Surprisingly, many have never heard about his political contributions or secret art works. Also known as Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr. Suess created more than 4o0 political cartoons published in a New York tabloid called PM. These cartoons range from Japanese internment camps to environmental issues, ‘promoting tolerance, resistance, and awareness’. In many of the cartoons Geisel places ‘America First’ slogans. This has also become the slogan of Trumps foreign policy, protecting America first, which has recently caused an explosion of protests.

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Dr. Seuss, … and the wolf chewed up the children and spit out their bones… but those were foreign children and it really didn’t matter., October 1, 1941

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Dr. Seuss, Waiting for the signal from home…, February 13, 1942

Now tabloids are thought of as a source for celebrity gossip but what about looking at secondary new sources. The onion for instance could be considered a modern place where Seuss’s cartoons might be published. Molly Gottschalk’s article and our recent work with war photograph raises interesting questions about secondary new sources and their legitimacy, as well as using war artist to tell an accurate portal of the current political climate.

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Dr. Suess, I might drive here. I might drive there. Or I MIGHT just drive around the corner for an asprin!, May 22, 1942

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