Goldsmith shares memories of Dr. Seuss

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Photo credit: Mike Richardson | Photo Intern | @itsmikerichy


Cathy Goldsmith, the keynote speaker at the continuing education conference, spent ten years working with Dr. Seuss and shared her memories of him with students and the community during her speech.

Goldsmith has worked for Random House since 1977. During her career she worked as Ted Geisel’s, Dr. Seuss’, art director for the last 10 years of his life, and also worked with the authors of The Berenstain Bears, Magic Tree House, and Junie B. Jones.

“I am hoping at least one person, maybe even more, is somehow motivated and spurred to get into publishing as a life choice,” Goldsmith said. “The industry lives off of new talents because we need it. We have talent today, but we need the talent of tomorrow, and the talent of 10 years from now.”

Goldsmith began her speech talking about Seuss and how he broke into the writing business. She said that when Geisel was attempting to get his first manuscript published, it was rejected 27 times, which at the time was almost every publishing house that existed. Vanguard Press eventually published his manuscript.

Geisel was approached by the founders of Random House and they said they would do anything to sign him. Geisel mentioned that he wanted to publish a story about a naked women called “The Seven Lady Godivas”. The founders agreed to publish the book, however, the book quickly went out of print.?Geisel’s rise to fame came in 1957 when he had two of his stories published—“The Cat in the Hat” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

In 1978, Goldsmith began working with Geisel, and would continue working with Geisel until his death in 1991.

“Dr. Seuss often said that on a good day he was the Cat in the Hat and a bad day he was the Grinch. I think he really did have both aspects to his personality,” Goldsmith said. “Most of the time we saw the Cat, but the Grinch was definitely there.”

Goldsmith told a story about how one time the president of Random House did not like a book cover so she was left behind to work on creating a new cover. Geisel was left with final approval. He did not approve of the new cover, however he did bring Goldsmith a glass of champagne and something to eat.

On the last book published before his death, Geisel specifically asked for Goldsmith to stay at his home to finish consult on which colors to use and help him finish the book.
During that time Geisel told her the illustrations that went into his book had often been in his mind for years. He had art around his house that he used in his future books.
Goldsmith mentioned that the most recent book released by Dr. Seuss was found in a storage locker inside a box. It was finished with all the writing and art, but did not have all the color work done. In the past, Geisel was very specific about the colors that went into his book, all the way down to the shade of a specific color used.

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