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 deceased husband, Theodor, 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 detective’s hat modeled after Inspector Clouseau’s; Seuss-ian hats that people made for Geisel; and, of course, a Cat in the Hat hat. “You can see a direct correlation between these hats and the art work 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 seventy-fifth anniversary of Geisel’s second children’s book, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. The exhibition also includes reproductions of drawings, paintings and sculptures that Geisel “created at night, for himself, that he didn’t share with the public.” But when Dreyer speaks Saturday at the opening, he will mostly talk about the hats and how Geisel made dinner party guests wear them when things needed livening up, or how he would don them to relieve writer’s block. “Somehow that got the creative juices flowing,” Dreyer said.
Art on 5th, April 6-20, 10 a.m., drseussart.com