Example: [Collected via e-mail, 1999]
Origins: It might be difficult to think of two more renowned but dissimilar American authors than Kurt Vonnegut, the novelist whose works combined elements of satire, black comedy, and science fiction, and Theodore Geisel (better known by the pen name
Unfortunately for those who revel in this type of coincidence, however, there's no truth to the notion: Vonnegut and Geisel were neither college classmates nor fraternity brothers, and as far as we know they never even met.
Theodore Geisel was born in 1904, attended Dartmouth College from
Nonetheless, there is at least a small bit of truth and commonality to be found in the example quoted above: According to Vonnegut's "autobiographical collage," Fates Worse Than Death, a building used by his college fraternity had some murals on its basement walls which had initially been penciled there by Geisel a decade earlier (back when the room was the site of the Pilots' Club speakeasy):
Dr. Seuss was a Dartmouth man and not a Delta Upsilon, but he drew the murals while roistering in Ithaca with a painter pal, Hugh Troy, who was both a Cornellian and a DU.
Cohen, Charles D. The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing But the Seuss. New York: Random House, 2002. ISBN 0-375-82248-8 (p. 103). Vonnegut, Kurt. Fates Worse than Death. New York: Berkley Publishing, 1992. ISBN 0-42513-406-7 (pp. 19-20).