Hats Off to Dr. Seuss!, an exhibit of original hats from Theodor Seuss Geisel’s personal collection, will be on display in Geisel Library on the UC San Diego campus from Feb. 24 through March 22, just in time for the University’s annual Dr. Seuss Birthday Party on March 2.
The exhibit features a selection of 26 unique and historic hats from Theodor Seuss Geisel’s personal collection of wild and wacky headgear. The hats are displayed within a turn-of-the-century steamer trunk, referred to as the “Hat Closet.” The hats will be on display in the Library’s Special Collections & Archives’ public space, and will be accompanied by panels and exhibited material on the wall and in the cases adjacent to the SC&A entrance.
Hat’s Off to Dr. Seuss! will be on view during the week, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning Tuesday, February 24. On Monday, March 2, the day of the University’s Dr. Seuss Birthday celebration, which takes place at noon in front of Geisel Library, the exhibit can be viewed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The party, hosted by Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and University Librarian Brian E. C. Schottlaender, will include cake and musical entertainment by The Teeny Tiny Pit Orchestra.
“We are thrilled that some of Ted Geisel’s amazing hats will be here for members of the campus and local communities to see, especially during the campus’ annual Dr. Seuss birthday celebration on March 2,” said Lynda Claassen, director of UC San Diego Library’s Special Collections & Archives. “It is only fitting to have the Hats Off to Dr. Seuss exhibit here, in the Library that was named for Ted Geisel and houses his personal papers, original art, photographs, and other materials.”
Ted Geisel’s fascination with hats dates back to his childhood. As a writer and artist, he viewed his hats as “transformational,” and was known to pull one out of his vast “hat closet” to stimulate his creativity or assist him in solving a problem. While some of the hats in the exhibit are distinctly Seussian, others—such as a plastic toy Viking helmet—reflect Geisel’s sense of humor
humor or sensibility, not necessarily a character from his books. Geisel collected hats over a 60-year period—beginning in the 1930s— and his legendary “hat closet” contained in excess of 200 hats.
The UC San Diego Library received Geisel’s collection of drawings, notebooks, and other memorabilia after his death in 1991, and four years later Audrey Geisel made a substantial donation to support the university’s Library, which was subsequently named Geisel Library. The Library’s Special Collections & Archives houses more than 12,000 items in its Dr. Seuss Collection, which includes original drawings, sketches, manuscript drafts, books, notebooks, photographs and memorabilia, documenting the full range of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s creative achievements, from his high school activities in 1919 through his death in 1991.