Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat
The Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden is now open at
the Springfield Museums in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where Theodor
Seuss Geisel was born and which appears to have inspired much of
Sculptor Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, who is also Geisel's step-daughter,
created the endearing bronze sculptures of Dr. Seuss and his most
beloved characters for the Springfield Library & Museums Association,
located in the heart of this city which is on the Connecticut River
in Western Massachusetts.
Clustered together at the corner of the Quadrangle green near the
Springfield Library are three large sculptural groupings:
- Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat: Theodor Geisel at his drawing
board, with the Cat in the Hat at his side.
- Horton Court: A 14-foot Horton the Elephant stepping out of
an open book, accompanied by Thing One, Thing Two, Sam-I-Am, Sally
and her brother, and Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose.
- The Storyteller: A Seussian storytelling chair, backed by a
10-foot-tall book with the text of Oh, the Places You'll Go! with
Gertrude McFuzz perched on top and the Grinch and his dog, Max,
peeking around the side.
and his dog, Max
At the far corner of the Quadrangle is the Lorax, which stands
on a stump in front of the Springfield Science Museum with his warning
"Unless...," underscoring that museum's environmental
Next to the Museum of Fine Arts is the Seussian Yertle Garden with
a 10-turtle-tall tower from Yertle the Turtle, surrounded by winding
granite pathways and imaginative landscaping.
The sculptures not only tell the story of the famous author-illustrator
by incorporating both his words and his characters, but also provide
a setting for contemporary storytellers.
Court, showing Horton the Elephant, Thing One andThing Two.
"By creating the memorial, we hope to spark imagination and
creativity in a new generation," said Joseph Carvalho, president
of the Springfield Museums Association. "Dr. Seuss drew much
of his inspiration from his own neighborhood in Springfield. It's
all still here, just waiting for creative minds to discover it."
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on Howard Street in Springfield in
1904 and grew up on Fairfield Street in the city's Forest Park neighborhood.
His father was a parks commissioner and was in charge of the Forest
ParkZoo, a regular playground for young Theodor Geisel. Springfield
imagery can be seen throughout his work in the names of streets,
the drawings of buildings, the names of his characters, and numerous
The project was first envisioned when Theodor Geisel visited his
hometown in 1986, lured by cards from 600 school children who had
participated in "Seussamania," a five-month-long celebration
of his work produced by the Springfield Library and the Springfield
School Volunteers. During that visit, Springfield Library &
Museums Association officials broached the idea of creating a local
monument in his honor. Following Geisel's death in 1991, his wife,
Audrey, authorized the Association to create the national memorial,
and has been a major supporter throughout the project.
As Geisel's stepdaughter, the artist Dimond-Cates watched first
hand as many of Dr. Seuss's characters came to life at his drawing
board at his studio in La Jolla, California.
the Big-Hearted Moose with statues of Dr. Seuss and the Cat
in the Hat, and The Storyteller in the background.
The setting for the memorial was developed by the landscape architectural
firm of Stephen Stimson Associates of Falmouth, Massachusetts. The
Lorax and Yertle the Turtle were cast at Valley Bronze in Joseph,
Oregon; Horton Court, The Storyteller, and Dr. Seuss and the Cat
in the Hat were cast at ART Research Enterprises in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
The $6.2 million project was funded through a variety of public
and private sources, led by a generous gift from Mrs. Geisel. A
federal HUD grant, secured by Sen. Edward Kennedy and Congressman
Richard Neal, helped fund infrastructure and accessibility improvements
for the park.
The Springfield Museums Association is a private, nonprofit organization
which includes the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, the Springfield
Science Museum, the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum and the
Museum of Fine Arts, all grouped around a central Quadrangle.