'The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History's Barest Family' is Published
Mr. Geisel began using his middle name as a pen name for his cartoons because he hoped to use his surname as a novelist one day.
But when he got around to doing a grown-up book -- "The Seven Lady Godivas" in 1939 -- the grown-ups did not seem to want to buy his humor, and he went back to writing for children, becoming famous and wealthy.
"I'd rather write for kids," he later explained. "They're more appreciative; adults are obsolete children, and the hell with them."
Seuss reportedly had misgivings about The Seven Lady Godivas before its publication; the drawing on the endpaper contains a small bucket of sap labeled "Bennett Cerf," the name of Seuss's publisher at Random House. Seuss, by calling Cerf a sap, was apparently implying that Cerf was being too nice in allowing the book to be published. The initial 1939 publishing had a print run of 10,000 copies, but only around 2,500 sold. Seuss himself called it his "greatest failure" and "a book that nobody bought". The remaining copies were remaindered in the chain of Schulte's Cigar Stores for twenty-five cents, though original editions now have been reported as selling at prices as high as $300.
The book's initial failure has been attributed to several factors: at two dollars, it was priced relatively high for the Great Depression era. Also, the book's depiction of nudity, though it was intended for adults, led to cold reception.
In 1974, Carolyn See wrote in Esquire that "America was feeling too blue to be cheered up by pictures of silly ladies". Seuss said he tried to draw "the sexiest-looking women" he could, but they "came out just ridiculous".