Behind the bookshelf in the library of Audrey Geisel’s California home is a secret room where the walls are lined with the hats that her husband, Theodor Geisel, a k a Dr. Seuss, collected throughout his globe-trotting life. There are Japanese, Italian and German military hats; a feather hat and a drum-major hat; a hat modeled after Inspector Clouseau’s; Seussian hats that people made for Mr. Geisel; and of course a Cat in the Hat hat. “You can see a direct correlation between these hats and the artwork and characters he created,” said Bill Dreyer, curator of the Art of Dr. Seuss collection. These hats have never left the Geisel house until now – as part of the national traveling exhibition “Hats Off to Dr. Seuss,” celebrating the 75th anniversary of Mr. Geisel’s second children’s book, “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.” The exhibition also includes reproductions of drawings, paintings and sculptures that Mr. Geisel “created at night, for himself, that he didn’t share with the public.” But when Mr. Dreyer speaks Saturday at the opening, he will talk primarily about the hats; Mr. Geisel made dinner party guests wear them when things needed livening up, and he would put them on to relieve writer’s block. “Somehow that got the creative juices flowing,” Mr. Dreyer said.
Art on 5th, April 6-20, 10 a.m., drseussart.com.