Helen Palmer (maiden surname Helen Marion Palmer Geisel), ideal known as the an initial wife of children’s author Dr. Seuss, was born ~ above 16th September 1898 in Brooklyn, new York.

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Helen’s parents increased her in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Together a kid, she fell ill with polio however managed to recuperate completely. When she was 11, she father, George Howard Palmer, an ophthalmologist, happen away.


Just together her husband, Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel, Palmer was an author whose remarkable credits encompass A Fish out Of Water (1961), I to be Kissed by a Seal in ~ the Zoo (1962), Do You understand What I’m Going to Do following Saturday? (1963), and Why I built the Boogle House (1964).


Met Future Husband Dr. Seuss in ~ Oxford University

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Helen Palmer had a profound affect on Dr. Seuss’s life and career.Source: The Establishment


Palmer completed her graduation from Wellesley Colley in 1920. She then invested three years together an English teacher at girl High institution in she hometown, before migrating come Britain with her mommy to enroll in Oxford University.


During her time in ~ Oxford, Helen bumped right into her future husband, Dr. Seuss, in a class. She finished up having a profound influence on his career. Palmer brought far-reaching change in Ted’s life, start with her idea that he need to be an artist fairly than an English professor.

Later, Helen stated:


Ted’s notebooks were constantly filled through these fabulous animals. So I collection to occupational diverting him; below was a guy who might draw together pictures; he need to be earning a living doing that.

The couple took their partnership forward by exchanging wedding vow in the so late 1920s.

Married Dr. Seuss in 1927; never ever Shared any Children

Helen Palmer to be married to her husband, Dr. Seuss, because that four years from 1927 to 1967. However, their connection was anything but rainbows and butterflies.


Took Her very own Life in 1967

Helen took her own life in 1967—partly as result of depression over chronic illness, but likewise because she had learned Ted was having actually an extramarital connection with their La Jolla neighbor and also friend Audrey Dimond. /21 pic.twitter.com/FztHq6TSA7

— Brian Jay Jones (
brianjayjones) in march 8, 2020

Helen was constantly wary that Dr. Seuss‘s extramarital affair. In fact, she suspicion clearly carried the legs since the author, complying with Helen’s death, finished up marrying the same woman (neighbor) she was unconvinced of.


To make matters worse, Palmer had actually a Guillain-Barre condition and had been battling partial paralysis for much more than ten years. She ever declining health led she to become so distraught the she took her very own life in 1967 through an overdose the barbiturates.

Left a Heartbreaking suicide Note

Wife's suicide keep in mind to husband that 13 years, after discovering his affair. The husband's name? Dr. Seuss pic.twitter.com/KI27SfsMl8

— Anathema (

Helem Palmer committed suicide in October 1967 in ~ the age of 68. She had actually left a sucide keep in mind for her husband prior to taking her last breath. Her note read:

Dear Ted, What has actually happened come us? ns don’t know. I feel myself in a spiral, going down down down, right into a black color hole from which over there is no escape, no brightness. And also loud in my ears from every side ns hear, ‘failure, failure, failure…’ ns love girlfriend so much …

The writer continued, “I am as well old and also enmeshed in whatever you do and are, that ns cannot develop of life there is no you. Mine going will leave rather a rumor, yet you have the right to say i was overworked and also overwrought. Her reputation v your friends and also fans will certainly not it is in harmed.”


The couple never shared any children since Helen to be unable come bear kids.

How did Dr. Seuss react to His Wife’s Death?

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Dr. Seuss never ever shared any biological kids with his first wife, Helen Palmer, nor his second spouse Audrey Geisel.Source: renowned Biographies

Ted reaction to Helen’s death the means you might imagine. He was conflicted around whether to take his very own life, destroy the house, or acquire lost somewhere. In the meantime, Ted’s niece Peggy claimed, “Whatever Helen did, she go it out of absolute love for Ted.”


Likewise, Secretary Julie Olfe commented following Palmer’s death and also called it “her last and also largest gift come him (Dr. Seuss).”

Merely a year after Helen’s suicide, Dr. Suess exchanged vows with his second wife, Audrey Geisel. Incidentally, their love affair began while both were married and also they subsequently cheated ~ above their respective spouses. The pair remained with each other for 23 years prior to Dr. Seuss died in 1991 in ~ the period of 87 due to dental cancer.


Helen Palmer and Dr. Seuss delighted in a Successful professional Life

When Ted started writing children’s books in 1936, Helen became his many trusted first reader, editor, and advisor. She had a great ear for rhythm and also rhyme (she could contact him out on clunkers), to be an intuitive storyteller, and a stickler for character. /18 pic.twitter.com/g4InZ3YF6C

— Brian Jay Jones (
brianjayjones) in march 8, 2020

Ted served in Hollywood following people War II expanding his propaganda films into general movies. RKO recruited that to adapt Your project in Japan right into a armed forces training film the released in 1945. He carried his wife Helen on as a companion, and also the two common the writing credit.


Two years later, the pair worked in the documentary film Design for Death (1947) the won the Academy Award because that the ideal documentary attribute in the same year.

Ted spent over a decade after human being War II to offer the thriving book market because that kids, creating a vast array the titles. Throughout this period, that depended heavily on the support and editorial insight of Helen. As a matter of fact, he relied on her guidance for most of his life.


Helen Palmer’s finest Works

It was just Helen, for instance, who can tell Dr. Seuss, as he struggled through the arts in GRINCH, the he was making the who look too lot like bugs.

“Well, they are bugs,” stated Ted.

“They are NOT,” she told him. “They’re just tiny people.”

Back to the illustration board. /19 pic.twitter.com/JaEoELDAwe

— Brian Jay Jones (
brianjayjones) march 8, 2020

Helen Palmer is perhaps best known for the 1963 children’s publication Do You understand What I’m Going to Do next Saturday?, released by beginner Books. Unlike many of the starting person Books, this walk not adopt the format of text and also inline illustrations; instead, it was shown by black-and-white photos indigenous Lynn Fayman, showcasing a child referred to as Rawli Davis.


The author’s other notable titles incorporate I to be Kissed by a Seal at the Zoo (1962) and also Why I built the Boogle House (1964). The photographs in the former book were snapped at the mountain Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, san Diego, California. Impressively, that featured student from san Diego’s Francis Parker School, engaging v animals and also workers in the zoo.

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Dr. Seuss composed a brief story Gustav the Goldfish, i m sorry was later transformed into the 1961 children’s publication A Fish out of Water by Helen Palmer, through illustrations performed by P. D. Eastman.