Few authors are better known than Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, yet, to this day, his Secret Art and his fantastical Hat Collection are virtually unknown to the general public. Throughout his lifetime, Ted Geisel created paintings and collected hats which he secreted away in a hidden closet at the Dr. Seuss Estate. This is the first time ever that Dr. Seuss’s hats have ever traveled outside his home.
In honor of the 75th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s second book, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, a special Hats Off to Dr. Seuss! Exhibition has been mounted that combines these two secret collections. Audrey S. Geisel, the widow of Dr. Seuss, has generously opened up the Estate’s legendary “hat closet” to allow the public a peek at Dr. Seuss’s hat collection. These hats, along with the Secret Art, will travel the country and visit select venues throughout the next year.
The Hats Off to Dr. Seuss! Exhibition will feature Dr. Seuss’s never-before-seen hat collection alongside his little-known Secret Art, a series of Estate authorized works adapted and reproduced from Ted Geisel’s original drawings, paintings, and sculpture. This historic collection has opened the world’s eyes to the extraordinary artistic talent of Dr. Seuss and will be available for viewing and purchase through the run of the exhibition.
In his artwork, as in his personal life, Dr. Seuss saw hats as transformational. And from the time he was a small boy in Springfield, Massachusetts, he was aware of their inherent magic. Far beyond their functionality, hats were the accent—the exclamation point—on a person’s behavior. They could entertain, delight and embellish, even tease and taunt, but most of all, hats helped Dr. Seuss deliver a world of life-changing inspiration.
The first recorded mention of Dr. Seuss’s hat collection came from his sister, Marnie, who visited Ted in New York in the autumn of 1937. She reported in the Springfield Union-News, November 28, 1937, “Ted has another peculiar hobby—that of collecting hats of every description. Why, he must have several hundred and he is using them as the foundation of his next book. I have seen him put on an impromptu show for guests, using the hats as costumes. He has kept a whole party in stitches just by making up a play with kitchen knives and spoons for the actors.”