I’m sitting in the San Diego Airport, waiting for my flight back to Baltimore, which has already been announced as an hour late. Vacation? Nope. I’ve been in San Diego for the last ten days, doing research on Dr. Seuss, since his archives are held at the Geisel Library (see the connection?) at the University of California at San Diego.
It’s been a good trip. I couldn’t dig into all of the archival files I wanted; apart from sheer time limitations, some of the Seuss-related materials remain tantalizingly restricted, which — while it leaves those of us who love research going Oooooooo, I wonder what’s in there? — isn’t necessarily unusual (at Dartmouth, for example, materials relating to financial transactions or donations were also restricted). But I still got my hands on lots and lots and lots of great stuff, and I’m grateful for the assistance of the library archivists, who willingly lugged in box after box and always cheerfully promised to check on the status of just ONE more! box or folder for me.
I also had the opportunity to talk with one of Ted’s friends, in a home perched high atop Mount Soledad with a stunning view of the Pacific. Not bad. San Diego and La Jolla are a pretty nice place to be in January — especially as I’m flying head first into a swirling winter storm back east, which may be one reason why my flight is already delayed.
Here’s a look at the exterior of the Geisel Library. While Ted didn’t have anything to do with the architectural design of the building, it certainly looks like a library where he’d want to store his papers, doesn’t it?
Once inside, this is the entrance to the archives, with your way marked by a quote from The Lorax.
This is the view from inside the fishbowl. I was the only researcher in the room the entire week–and while photography of materials isn’t permitted, I don’t think they’ll mind a shot of the workspace. If you look just to the left of the glass door, you’ll see the tops of two rolling carts, each containing archival boxes. Those are the materials I was working from.
As I mentioned, I wasn’t permitted to take photos of any of the materials in the collection (policies vary from place to place — I could photograph materials at Columbia and at Dartmouth, for instance). But UCSD is still very generous about giving the public a look at some of what they’ve got on hand, and keeps a regular display of materials moving through cases just outside the archival doors. At the moment, there’s an original typewritten manuscript of the text from Green Eggs and Ham on view . . .
. . . as well as this really gorgeous original art from Horton Hatches The Egg!
Just as there was in Springfield, there’s a statue outside the library of Ted with the Cat in the Hat (and for some reason, it looked particularly great in the rain).
So long, Geisel Library, and so long San Diego and La Jolla. You were lovely.