10 December 1999
SEUSS, Dr. [Theodore GEISEL] (1904-1991). 11 original ink drawings for his World War II booklet entitled, This is Ann. 1943. Together 11 drawings on illustrations on illustation card (two with overlays with some pencil marks and two mounted), various sizes, card sizes range from 216 x 271 mm to 144 x 92 mm., some with small corrections and/or highlights in white, some shading in blue. Most drawings with job number stamp; other pencil notations (measurements, notes for printer etc.) in Geisel's and other hands.
This is Anne was published by the War Department in 1943 "for the information and guidance of all concerned," and tells the cautionary tale of Anopheles Mosquito (or "Ann") and her trade of "dishing out Malaria." Seuss was commissioned by the present owner, who was the Chief Art Director of the War Department during World War II, responsible for review and procurement of artwork for their publications. In an accompanying letter he states: "Among hundreds of training publications was the need for one urging all personnel to protect themselves against malaria. To entice readership, a cartoon format was prescribed. World-famous cartoonist Theodor Suess Geisel was engaged. The handbook 'This is Ann - ' was widely popular and tremendously effective. After publication, the original artwork was contributed to me to add to my personal collection." Of the 23 illustrations which appear in the final published version (see below), all but 8 were made from these originals.
Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, worked actively as a political cartoonist during WWII for the New York daily PM. His career as a political cartoonist has been the subject of the recently published book by Richard H. Minear, entitled Dr. Seuss Goes to War (New York: New Press, 1999). His wartime cartoon work presumably prompted this commission, but these whimsical mosquito creations have much in common with his work on the advertisement campaign for Flit insecticide as well. These drawings display his uniquely characteristic ("Seussian") style and humor, and are clearly reminiscent of his later children's book characters--who would make him a household name in America following publication ofThe Cat in the Hat in 1957.
As much of Seuss' artwork and manuscript material was left to what is now in the Dr. Seuss Collection at the University of California at San Diego, original Seuss artwork has become increasingly rare on the market.
[With] This is Ann. Washington D.C.: War Department, 1943. 12o (134 x 108 mm). Printed in red and black; illustrated by Seuss. Original pictorial wrappers, stapled as issued.
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