• Dartmouth Seuss Bronze

    “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” Originated at Dartmouth

    Monday, March 2, 2015
    News Type

Oh, the Places You'll Go!
A copy of Oh, the Places You’ll Go! in the Dr. Seuss room in Baker Library.
Photo by Steve Smith

Dr. Seuss’s 1990 classic Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is this year’s book for the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” day, celebrated annually on March 2, the anniversary of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birth. Geisel, who graduated from Dartmouth in 1925, was born in 1904.

The book’s title, used to inspire millions of readers every year (especially during graduation season) originated at Dartmouth, according to English professor Donald Pease, The Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities. 

In his 2010 biography, Theodor SEUSS Geisel, Pease wrote, “When he was a freshman at Dartmouth, the phrase, ‘Oh, the places you’ll go!’ served as the verbal equivalent to a handshake. After being pronounced by one student, it immediately evoked the response, ‘the people you’ll meet!’”

As an undergraduate, Geisel’s friends included Norman Maclean ’24, Alexander Laing ’25, Donald Bartlett ’24, and Whitney Campbell ’25. It’s intriguing to imagine them exchanging the greeting as they passed each other on the Green.

Maclean went on to write A River Runs Through It, Laing became a Dartmouth English professor, Bartlett was a Rhodes Scholar, and Campbell established a Dartmouth internship that today bears his name.

Oh the places they went!

Theodore Geisel
Theodor Geisel as a student at Dartmouth in 1925. Courtesy Dartmouth College Library