FACT CHECK: Did Theodor Seuss Geisel Say, ‘Be Who You Are And Say What You Feel’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

A post shared on Facebook claims that author Theodor Seuss Geisel once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Verdict: False

The saying doesn’t appear in any of Geisel’s writing.

Fact Check:

Theodor Seuss Geisel, also known by the pen name Dr. Seuss, is perhaps one of the most well-known authors of children’s books. His witty word play and colorful characters have made many of his works, like “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat,” popular among young children.

However, the Daily Caller News Foundation found no record of the quote attributed to him in the Facebook post in these works, or any of his others. It doesn’t appear in the University of California, San Diego’s collection of Geisel’s editorial cartoons and early advertising artwork either.

While there’s no evidence he ever made this statement, Geisel has employed the same literary device in his own writing. For example, in his book “Horton Hatches the Egg,” Geisel wrote, “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant.”

The website Quote Investigator traced the earliest partial match back to a 1938 engineering journal, though elements of the quote appeared as early as 1855. In that journal, part of the longer expression attributed to Geisel in the Facebook post appears in quotation marks, indicating the quip might have already been circulating by that time.

“Mr. Davies himself admitted that it was highly controversial and open to criticism; but criticism concerned both mind and matter,” reads the passage, according to Quote Investigator. “‘Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.'”

Quote Investigator also found several instances in which the statement was employed in anecdotes about seating arrangements during the 1940s, with one crediting American financier and political adviser Bernard Baruch.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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