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Dr. Seuss's Private Hat Collection Is Quite A Sight

Dr. Seuss collected hats like this plastic toy Viking helmet for over 60 years. The Art of Dr. Seuss hide caption

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The Art of Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss collected hats like this plastic toy Viking helmet for over 60 years.

The Art of Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss's personal hat collection is on tour for the first time in history. An exhibit called Hats Off to Dr. Seuss!, which debuted at the New York Public Library in January last year, will stop in six states over the next seven months.

Made by Stanbury Co., Kansas City, this hat was a gift from San Diego State University. In 1986 Geisel was chosen honorary chairman of the Holiday Bowl football game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the San Diego State Aztecs. The Art of Dr.Seuss hide caption

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The Art of Dr.Seuss

Made by Stanbury Co., Kansas City, this hat was a gift from San Diego State University. In 1986 Geisel was chosen honorary chairman of the Holiday Bowl football game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the San Diego State Aztecs.

The Art of Dr.Seuss

The exhibit features 26 unique and historic hats from Dr. Seuss's collection, along with his original artwork inspired by the collection.

The author, whose full name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, started building his collection of hats from around the world in the 1930s. He kept at it for some 60 years.

His sister, Marnie, told the Springfield Union-News about Geisel's love for hats back in 1937.

"Ted has another peculiar hobby — that of collecting hats from every description," she said. "Why, he must have several hundred and he is using them as a foundation for his next book."

Straw curls hat The Art of Dr.Seuss hide caption

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The Art of Dr.Seuss

Straw curls hat

The Art of Dr.Seuss

That book was The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2013.

His hat collection wasn't the only secret Geisel was keeping — he also had a secret stash of paintings. Both collections were hidden in the same closet in his house in La Jolla.

The hats will be making their way around the country in a specially retrofitted old-fashioned steamer trunk. The exhibit's next stop is Northampton, Mass., close to Geisel's hometown of Springfield.

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