When The Cat in the Hat first stepped into our lives and onto the world stage in 1957, Theodor Seuss Geisel couldn’t possibly have known the impact his iconic feline would have on literacy, education, and generations of children and adults around the world.
In 2010 Life Books selected Dr. Seuss as one of the 100 men and women who changed the world. LIFE wrote: “Theodor Seuss Geisel will always be known by his nom de nonsense. It was in that guise that Geisel entertained America’s young with his rollicking rhymes, nutty narratives, and playful (but artful) pictures. And Dr. Seuss did even more than entertain. Kids were blown away [by The Cat in the Hat], and when their parents learned of the subversive value of this intricately crafted reader, they were, too. Dr. Seuss wasn’t a real doctor—he didn’t possess a Ph.D.—but he was something even better for the world’s schoolchildren.”
In June of this year, the Library of Congress opened “Books That Shaped America,” an exhibition of original volumes that reflect our nation’s extraordinary literary heritage. The exhibition includes: Thomas Paine’s Common Sense 1776 — Henry David Thoreau’s Walden 1854 — Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 1884 — F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby 1925 — Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind 1936 — John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath 1939 — and Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat 1957.