University Archives

Lot 112

Previous image preload Next image preload

Description: Dr. Seuss ANS on The Cat And The Hat Notepaper Thanking Children's Literacy Donor

An autograph note signed by Theodor Geisel (1904-1991), more widely known under his pseudonym Dr. Seuss, as "Dr. Seuss" in blue colored pencil at lower right. N.d., but ca. May 19, 1988. The 20-word-long inscription in black felt-tip pen reads: "Dear Helen Songer… Thank you for the honor of your RIF Donation! (And drive carefully!) (And stay out of hospitals!)" The inscription runs along the length of a sheet of note paper featuring The Cat in the Hat (printed, not an original drawing). Expected wear including a central horizontal paper fold, else crisp and near fine. 5.5" x 8.5." Accompanied by the original transmittal envelope bearing Dr. Seuss's return address in La Jolla, California, postmarked from San Diego on May 19, 1988. Letter-opened at top, and with a former collector's pencil inscription along the bottom.

The "RIF Donation" referred to in the letter almost certainly refers to Reading Is Fundamental, a non-profit organization established by Margaret McNamara in 1966 to distribute free books to children. Both Dr. Seuss and his second wife Audrey Stone Dimond Geisel (1921-2018) supported many literacy charities, and Audrey was a known contributor to R.I.F. The underlying principles of R.I.F. resemble those of the Dr. Seuss Foundation, the latter founded in 1958 by the artist and author. The Dr. Seuss Foundation lists "Education and Literacy" as one of its six core values, and advocates for "learning that promotes literacy, is fun, fosters imagination and creativity, values art and humor, and embraces learning through life experiences."

Dr. Seuss's most famous literary creation was The Cat in the Hat, the title character of the eponymous children's book published by Random House and Houghton and Mifflin in 1957. Dr. Seuss had been tasked with reinvigorating children's interest in vocabulary building and basic reading by producing a more interesting alternative to tedious Dick and Jane type primers. The Cat in the Hat, a mischievous house guest who terrorizes two children on a rainy day, introduced many words of basic vocabulary into children's word banks under the guise of entertainment, not rote instruction. Children's literacy was a life-long cause championed by Dr. Seuss.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


Accepts online payments

Accepted Forms of Payment

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25.0% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000