Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History, First Floor Hear museum director Guy McLain discuss the 75th anniversary of And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Springfield native Ted Geisel’s pen name Dr. Seuss is very well known. But many people don’t realize that many of the familiar and beloved images that appear again and again in Dr. Seuss books may have been influenced by the buildings, people, animals, and landscapes Ted Geisel encountered during his childhood in Springfield. “And to Think that He Saw It in Springfield” includes some remarkable comparisons of Dr. Seuss’s fanciful illustrations with actual photographs of places and things in Springfield that Ted would have known. For example, the huge old building with four belching smokestacks that was the Springfield Gasworks may have influenced Dr. Seuss’s depiction of the Thneeds factory in The Lorax. Ted Geisel’s family experiences, the schools he attended, and the sights and sounds that were all around him helped inform the special imaginary world that can only be called “Seussian.”
Images: Thneeds factory in The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. (top, ™ and © 1971 by Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P.); Springfield Gasworks, early 20th-century (bottom).