Friday, February 14, 2014

Deliriously Yours

Happy Valentine's Day!  Here is the date you do NOT want. This is Ann (Washington: U.S. War Department, 1943) was authored by Capt. Munro Leaf and illustrated by Capt. Theodor Seuss Geisel, both serving in the armed forces. Leaf was already gaining fame for his classic children's book Ferdinand, the story of a sweet and peaceful, flower loving bull forced into the bullfighting ring. Geisel, you know. By that time he had published Mulberry Street, but was probably still better known for his Flit insect repellent advertisements.

In a letter to Dartmouth's Harold Rugg from 1943, Geisel writes that "as an old Flit salesman, I find that I am of occasional use in doing semi-educational propaganda against the mosquito." He did the illustrations "between sessions on the rifle range and sessions in the Army motion picture studios" in Hollywood. Told as a mock venereal disease cautionary tale, the story portrays the exploits of the malaria spreading Ann, a loose mosquito who "really gets around."

We have a collection of Geisel's original art (or "alleged art" as he says in the letter to Rugg). You can see the book and the letter by asking for Alumni G277thi. The original art is in MS-1100, Box 9.

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