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Frank L. Baum

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Frank L. Baum

For the retired German footballer, see Frank Baum (footballer).

L. Frank Baum
Baum in 1911
Born Lyman Frank Baum
(1856-05-15)May 15, 1856
Chittenango, New York
Died May 6, 1919(1919-05-06) (aged 62)
Hollywood, California
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California
Occupation Author, Newspaper Editor, Actor, Screenwriter, Film Producer
Spouse(s) Maud Gage (1882–1919; his death)
Children Frank Joslyn Baum
Robert Stanton Baum
Harry Neal Baum
Kenneth Gage Baum

Lyman Frank Baum (May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919) was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He wrote thirteen novel sequels, nine other fantasy novels, and a host of other works (55 novels in total, plus four "lost" novels, 83 short stories, over 200 poems, an unknown number of scripts,[1] and many miscellaneous writings), and made numerous attempts to bring his works to the stage and screen. His works anticipated such century-later commonplaces as television, augmented reality, laptop computers (The Master Key), wireless telephones (Tik-Tok of Oz), women in high risk, action-heavy occupations (Mary Louise in the Country), and the ubiquity of advertising on clothing (Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work).

Baum's childhood and early life

Baum was born in Chittenango, New York, in 1856, into a devout Methodist family. He had German, Scots-Irish, and English ancestry, and was the seventh of nine children of Cynthia Ann (née Stanton) and Benjamin Ward Baum, only five of whom survived into adulthood.[2][3] He was named "Lyman" after his father's brother, but always disliked this name, and preferred to go by his middle name, "Frank".[4]

Benjamin Baum was a wealthy businessman, originally a barrel maker, who had made his fortune in the oil fields of Pennsylvania. Baum grew up on his parents' expansive estate, Rose Lawn, which he always remembered fondly as a sort of paradise.[5] As a young child, he was tutored at home with his siblings, but at the age of 12, he was sent to study at Peekskill Military Academy. He was a sickly child given to daydreaming, and his parents may have thought he needed toughening up. But after two utterly miserable years at the military academy, he was allowed to return home.[6] Frank Joslyn Baum, in his biography, To Please a Child, claimed that this was following an incident described as a heart attack, though there is no contemporary evidence of this (and much evidence that material in Frank J.'s biography was fabricated).

Baum started writing at an early age, perhaps due to an early fascination with printing. His father bought him a cheap printing press; which, with the help of his younger brother Henry (Harry) Clay Baum, with whom he had always been close, he used to produce The Rose Lawn Home Journal. The brothers published several issues of the journal, which included advertisements, perhaps which they may have sold. Rose Lawn was located in Mattydale, New York. The house burned down in the 1950s, and is now the site of an abandoned skating rink. The only remains of Rose Lawn are a few concrete steps, located behind the building. By the time he was 17, Baum established a second amateur journal, The Stamp Collector, printed an 11-page pamphlet called Baum's Complete Stamp Dealers' Directory, and started a stamp dealership with friends.[7]

At the age of 20, Baum took on a new vocation: the breeding of fancy poultry, a national craze at the time. He specialized in raising a particular breed of fowl, the Hamburg. In March 1880 he established a monthly trade journal, The Poultry Record, and in 1886, when Baum was 30 years old, his first book was published: The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief Treatise upon the Mating, Rearing, and Management of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs.[8]

Despite financial difficulties, Frank was always the spotlight of fun around the household. Due to the fact that one of his trades was selling fireworks, he always made the Fourth of July memorable. His skyrockets, Roman candles, and fireworks filled the sky, while many people around the neighborhood would gather in front of the house to watch the displays. Christmas was even more festive. Frank played Santa for the family. While his father placed the Christmas tree in the front parlor behind closed drapes, Frank would decorate the tree and talk to them from behind the drapes, although they never could manage to see him. He kept up this tradition all his life.[9]


At about the same time, Baum embarked upon his lifetime infatuation with the theater,[10] a devotion which would repeatedly lead him to failure and near-bankruptcy. His first such failure occurred when a local theatrical company duped him into replenishing their stock of costumes, with the promise of leading roles that never came his way. Disillusioned, Baum left the theatre — temporarily — and went to work as a clerk in his brother-in-law's dry goods company in Syracuse. At one point, he found another clerk locked in a store room dead, an apparent suicide. This incident appears to have inspired his locked room story, "The Suicide of Kiaros", first published in the literary journal, The White Elephant.

Yet Baum could never stay away from the stage long. He continued to take roles in plays, performing under the stage names of Louis F. Baum and George Brooks.

In 1880, his father built him a theatre in Richburg, New York, and Baum set about writing plays and gathering a company to act in them. The Maid of Arran, a melodrama with songs based on William Black's novel A Princess of Thule, proved a modest success. Baum not only wrote the play but composed songs for it (making it a prototypical musical, as its songs relate to the narrative), and acted in the leading role. His aunt, Katharine Gray, played his character's aunt. She was the founder of Syracuse Oratory School, and Baum advertised his services in her catalog to teach theatre, including stage business, playwriting, directing, and translating (French, German, and Italian), revision, and operettas, though he was not employed to do so. On November 9, 1882, Baum married Maud Gage, a daughter of Matilda Joslyn Gage, a famous women's suffrage and radical feminist activist. While Baum was touring with The Maid of Arran, the theatre in Richburg caught fire during a production of Baum's ironically-titled parlor drama, Matches, destroying not only the theatre, but the only known copies of many of Baum's scripts, including Matches, as well as costumes.

The South Dakota years

In July 1888, Baum and his wife moved to Aberdeen, Dakota Territory, where he opened a store, "Baum's Bazaar". His habit of giving out wares on credit led to the eventual bankrupting of the store,[11] so Baum turned to editing a local newspaper, The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, where he wrote a column, Our Landlady.[12] Following the death of Sitting Bull at the hands of a federal agent, Baum urged the wholesale extermination of all America's native peoples in a column he wrote on December 20, 1890. On January 3, 1891 he reverted to the subject in an editorial response to the Wounded Knee Massacre:[13]

The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extirmination [sic] of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries, we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth.[14]

A recent analysis of these editorials has challenged their literal interpretation, suggesting that the actual intent of Baum was to generate sympathy for the Indians via obnoxious argument, ostensibly promoting the contrary position.[15]

Baum's description of Kansas in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is based on his experiences in drought-ridden South Dakota. During much of this time, Matilda Joslyn Gage was living in the Baum household. While Baum was in South Dakota, he sang in a quartet that included a man who would become one of the first Populist (People's Party) Senators in the U.S., James Kyle.[16]

Baum becomes an author

After Baum's newspaper failed in 1891, he, Maud and their four sons moved to Humboldt Park section of Chicago, where Baum took a job reporting for the Evening Post. Beginning in 1897, for several years he edited a magazine for advertising agencies focused on window displays in stores. The major department stores created elaborate Christmas time fantasies, using clockwork mechanisms that made people and animals appear to move. In 1900, Baum published a book about window displays in which he stressed the importance of mannequins in drawing customers.[17] He also had to work as a traveling salesman.[18]

In 1897, he wrote and published Mother Goose in Prose, a collection of Mother Goose rhymes written as prose stories, and illustrated by Maxfield Parrish. Mother Goose was a moderate success, and allowed Baum to quit his door-to-door sales job (which had had a negative impact on his health). In 1899 Baum partnered with illustrator W. W. Denslow, to publish Father Goose, His Book, a collection of nonsense poetry. The book was a success, becoming the best-selling children's book of the year.[19]

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

In 1900, Baum and Denslow (with whom he shared the copyright) published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to much critical acclaim and financial success.[20] The book was the best-selling children's book for two years after its initial publication. Baum went on to write thirteen more novels based on the places and people of the Land of Oz.

The Wizard of Oz: Fred R. Hamlin's Musical Extravaganza

Two years after Wizard's publication, Baum and Denslow teamed up with composer Paul Tietjens and director Julian Mitchell to produce a musical stage version of the book under Fred R. Hamlin.[21] Baum and Tietjens had worked on a musical of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1901 and based closely upon the book, but it was rejected. This stage version, the first to use the shortened title "The Wizard of Oz", opened in Chicago in 1902, then ran on Broadway for 293 stage nights from January to October 1903. It returned to Broadway in 1904, where it played from March to May and again from November to December. It successfully toured the United States with much of the same cast, as was done in those days, until 1911, and then became available for amateur use. The stage version starred David C. Montgomery and Fred Stone as the Tin Woodman and Scarecrow respectively, which shot the pair to instant fame. The stage version differed quite a bit from the book, and was aimed primarily at adults. Toto was replaced with Imogene the Cow, and Tryxie Tryfle, a waitress, and Pastoria, a streetcar operator, were added as fellow cyclone victims. The Wicked Witch of the West was eliminated entirely in the script, and the plot became about how the four friends, being allied with the usurping Wizard, were hunted as traitors to Pastoria II, the rightful King of Oz. It is unclear how much control or influence Baum had on the script; it appears that many of the changes were written by Baum against his wishes due to contractual requirements with Hamlin. Jokes in the script, mostly written by Glen MacDonough, called for explicit references to President Theodore Roosevelt, Senator Mark Hanna, Rev.Andrew Danquer and oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. Although use of the script was rather free-form, the line about Hanna was ordered dropped as soon as Hamlin got word of his death in 1904.

Beginning with the success of the stage version, most subsequent versions of the story, including newer editions of the novel, have been titled "The Wizard of Oz", rather than using the full, original title. In more recent years, restoring the full title has become increasingly common, particularly to distinguish the novel from the Hollywood film.

Baum wrote a new Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, with a view to making it into a stage production, which was titled The Woggle-Bug, but since Montgomery and Stone balked at appearing when the original was still running, the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman were omitted from this adaptation, which was seen as a self-rip-off by critics and proved to be a major flop before it could reach Broadway. He also worked for years on a musical version of Ozma of Oz, which eventually became The Tik-Tok Man Of Oz. This did fairly well in Los Angeles, but not well enough to convince producer Oliver Morosco to mount a production in New York. He also began a stage version of The Patchwork Girl of Oz, but this was ultimately realized as a film.

Later life and work

With the success of Wizard on page and stage, Baum and Denslow hoped lightning would strike a third time and in 1901 published Dot and Tot of Merryland.[22] The book was one of Baum's weakest, and its failure further strained his faltering relationship with Denslow. It would be their last collaboration. Baum would work primarily with John R. Neill on his fantasy work beginning in 1904, but Baum met Neill few times (all before he moved to California) and often found Neill's art not humorous enough for his liking, and was particularly offended when Neill published The Oz Toy Book: Cut-outs for the Kiddies without authorization.

Several times during the development of the Oz series, Baum declared that he had written his last Oz book and devoted himself to other works of fantasy fiction based in other magical lands, including The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus and Queen Zixi of Ix. However, persuaded by popular demand, letters from children, and the failure of his new books, he returned to the series each time. Even so, his other works remained very popular after his death, with The Master Key appearing on St. Nicholas Magazine's survey of readers' favorite books well into the 1920s.

In 1905, Baum declared plans for an Oz amusement park. In an interview, he mentioned buying Pedloe Island off the coast of California to turn it into an Oz park. Trouble is, not only is there no evidence that he purchased such an island, no one has ever been able to find any island whose name even resembles Pedloe in that area.[23][24] Nevertheless, Baum stated to the press that he had discovered a Pedloe Island off the coast of California and that he had purchased it to be "the Marvelous Land of Oz," intending it to be "a fairy paradise for children." Eleven year-old Dorothy Talbot of San Francisco was reported to be ascendant to the throne on March 1, 1906, when the Palace of Oz was expected to be completed. Baum planned to live on the island, with administrative duties handled by the princess and her all-child advisers. Plans included statues of the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Jack Pumpkinhead, and H.M. Woggle-Bug, T.E.[25] Baum abandoned his Oz park project after the failure of The Woggle-Bug, which was playing at the Garrick Theatre in 1905.

Because of his lifelong love of theatre, he financed elaborate musicals, often to his financial detriment. One of Baum's worst financial endeavors was his The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays (1908), which combined a slideshow, film, and live actors with a lecture by Baum as if he were giving a travelogue to Oz.[26] However, Baum ran into trouble and could not pay his debts to the company who produced the films. He did not get back to a stable financial situation for several years, after he sold the royalty rights to many of his earlier works, including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This resulted in the M.A. Donahue Company publishing cheap editions of his early works with advertising that purported that Baum's newer output was inferior to the less expensive books they were releasing. Baum had shrewdly transferred most of his property, except for his clothing, his library (mostly of children's books, such as the fairy tales of Andrew Lang, whose portrait he kept in his study), and his typewriter (all of which he successfully argued were essential to his occupation), into Maud's name, as she handled the finances, anyway, and thus lost much less than he could have.

Baum made use of several pseudonyms for some of his other, non-Oz books. They include:

Baum also anonymously wrote The Last Egyptian: A Romance of the Nile.

Baum continued theatrical work with Harry Marston Haldeman's men's social group, The Uplifters,[27] for which he wrote several plays for various celebrations. He also wrote the group's parodic by-laws. The group, which also included Will Rogers, was proud to have had Baum as a member and posthumously revived many of his works despite their ephemeral intent. Although many of these play's titles are known, only The Uplift of Lucifer is known to survive (it was published in a limited edition in the 1960s). Prior to that, his last produced play was The Tik-Tok Man of Oz (based on Ozma of Oz and the basis for Tik-Tok of Oz), a modest success in Hollywood that producer Oliver Morosco decided did not do well enough to take to Broadway. Morosco, incidentally, quickly turned to film production, as would Baum.

In 1914, having moved to Hollywood years earlier, Baum started his own film production company, The Oz Film Manufacturing Company,[28] which came as an outgrowth of the Uplifters. He served as its president, and principal producer and screenwriter. The rest of the board consisted of Louis F. Gottschalk, Harry Marston Haldeman, and Clarence R. Rundel. The films were directed by J. Farrell MacDonald, with casts that included Violet MacMillan, Vivian Reed, Mildred Harris, Juanita Hansen, Pierre Couderc, Mai Welles, Louise Emmons, J. Charles Haydon, and early appearances by Harold Lloyd and Hal Roach. Silent film actor Richard Rosson appeared in one of the films, whose younger brother Harold Rosson photographed The Wizard of Oz (1939). After little success probing the unrealized children's film market, Baum came clean about who wrote The Last Egyptian and made a film of it (portions of which are included in Decasia), but the Oz name had, for the time being, become box office poison and even a name change to Dramatic Feature Films and transfer of ownership to Frank Joslyn Baum did not help. Unlike with The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays, Baum invested none of his own money in the venture, but the stress probably took its toll on his health.

On May 5, 1919, Baum suffered a stroke. He died quietly the next day, nine days short of his 63rd birthday. At the end he mumbled in his sleep, then said, "Now we can cross the Shifting Sands."[according to whom?] He was buried in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.[29] His final Oz book, Glinda of Oz, was published on July 10, 1920, a year after his death. The Oz series was continued long after his death by other authors, notably Ruth Plumly Thompson, who wrote an additional nineteen Oz books. [30]

Baum's beliefs


Baum's avowed intentions with the Oz books, and other fairy tales, was to tell such tales as the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen told, making them American and bringing them up to date by making the characters not stereotypical dwarfs or genies, and by removing both the violence and the moral to which the violence was to point.[31] Although the first books contained a fair amount of violence, it decreased with the series; in The Emerald City of Oz, Ozma objected to doing violence even to the Nomes who threaten Oz with invasion.[32] His introduction is often cited as the beginnings of the sanitization of children's stories, although he did not do a great deal more than eliminate harsh moral lessons. His stories still include decapitations, eye removals, maimings of all kinds, and other violent acts, but the tone is very different from Grimm or Andersen.

Another traditional element that Baum intentionally omitted was the emphasis on romance. He considered romantic love to be uninteresting for young children, as well as largely incomprehensible. In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the only element of romance lay in the backstory of the Tin Woodman and his love Nimmie Amee, which explains his condition and does not otherwise affect the tale, and that of Gayelette and the enchantment of the Winged Monkeys; the only other stories with such elements were The Scarecrow of Oz and Tik-Tok of Oz, both based on dramatizations, which Baum regarded warily until his readers accepted them.[33]


Women's suffrage advocate

Sally Roesch Wagner of The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation has published a pamphlet titled The Wonderful Mother of Oz describing how Matilda Gage's radical feminist politics were sympathetically channeled by Baum into his Oz books. Much of the politics in the Republican Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer dealt with trying to convince the populace to vote for women's suffrage. Baum was the secretary of Aberdeen's Woman's Suffrage Club. When Susan B. Anthony visited Aberdeen, she stayed with the Baums. Nancy Tystad Koupal notes an apparent loss of interest in editorializing after Aberdeen failed to pass the bill for women's enfranchisement.

Some of Baum's contacts with suffragists of his day seem to have inspired much of his second Oz story, The Marvelous Land of Oz. In this story, General Jinjur leads the girls and women of Oz, armed with knitting needles, in a revolt; they succeed, and make the men do the household chores. Jinjur proves to be an incompetent ruler, but a female advocating gender equality is ultimately placed on the throne. His Edith Van Dyne stories, including the Aunt Jane's Nieces, The Flying Girl and its sequel, and his girl sleuth Josie O'Gorman from The Bluebird Books, depict girls and young women engaging in traditionally masculine activities.

Editorials about Native Americans

During the period surrounding the 1890 Ghost Dance movement and Wounded Knee Massacre, Baum wrote two editorials about Native Americans for the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer which have provoked controversy in recent times because of his assertion that the safety of White settlers depended on the wholesale genocide of American Indians. Sociologist Robert Venables has argued that Baum was not using sarcasm in the editorials.[34]

The first piece was published on December 20, 1890, five days after the killing of the Lakota Sioux holy man, Sitting Bull (who was being held in custody at the time). Following is the complete text of the editorial:

Sitting Bull, most renowned Sioux of modern history, is dead.
He was not a Chief, but without Kingly lineage he arose from a lowly position to the greatest Medicine Man of his time, by virtue of his shrewdness and daring.
He was an Indian with a white man's spirit of hatred and revenge for those who had wronged him and his. In his day he saw his son and his tribe gradually driven from their possessions: forced to give up their old hunting grounds and espouse the hard working and uncongenial avocations of the whites. And these, his conquerors, were marked in their dealings with his people by selfishness, falsehood and treachery. What wonder that his wild nature, untamed by years of subjection, should still revolt? What wonder that a fiery rage still burned within his breast and that he should seek every opportunity of obtaining vengeance upon his natural enemies.
The proud spirit of the original owners of these vast prairies inherited through centuries of fierce and bloody wars for their possession, lingered last in the bosom of Sitting Bull. With his fall the nobility of the Redskin is extinguished, and what few are left are a pack of whining curs who lick the hand that smites them. The Whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians. Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their manhood effaced; better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are. History would forget these latter despicable beings, and speak, in latter ages of the glory of these grand Kings of forest and plain that Cooper loved to heroize.
We cannot honestly regret their extermination, but we at least do justice to the manly characteristics possessed, according to their lights and education, by the early Redskins of America.[35][36]

Following the December 29, 1890, massacre, Baum wrote a second editorial, published on January 3, 1891:

The peculiar policy of the government in employing so weak and vacillating a person as General Miles to look after the uneasy Indians, has resulted in a terrible loss of blood to our soldiers, and a battle which, at best, is a disgrace to the war department. There has been plenty of time for prompt and decisive measures, the employment of which would have prevented this disaster.
The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extirmination [sic] of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth. In this lies safety for our settlers and the soldiers who are under incompetent commands. Otherwise, we may expect future years to be as full of trouble with the redskins as those have been in the past.
An eastern contemporary, with a grain of wisdom in its wit, says that "when the whites win a fight, it is a victory, and when the Indians win it, it is a massacre."[35][37]

These two short editorials continue to haunt his legacy. In 2006, two descendants of Baum apologized to the Sioux nation for any hurt their ancestor had caused.[38]

The short story, "The Enchanted Buffalo", claims to be a legend of a tribe of bison, and states that a key element made it into legends of Native American tribes. Father Goose, His Book contains poems such as "There Was a Little Nigger Boy" and "Lee-Hi-Lung-Whan." In The Last Egyptian, Lord Roane uses "nigger" to insult the title character, while in The Daring Twins, set in the American South, the only character to use the term is a boy from Boston complaining that his mother uses their money to help "naked niggers in Africa." Baum mentions his characters' distaste for a Hopi snake dance in Aunt Jane's Nieces and Uncle John, but also deplores the horrible situation of Indian Reservations. Aunt Jane's Nieces on the Ranch has a hard-working Mexican present himself as an exception to reiterate Anglo stereotypes of Mexican laziness. Baum's mother-in-law, Woman's Suffrage leader Matilda Joslyn Gage, had great influence over Baum's views. Gage was initiated into the Wolf Clan and admitted into the Iroquois Council of Matrons for her outspoken respect and sympathy for Native American people; it would seem unlikely that Baum could have harbored animosity for them in his mature years.

The interpretation of the Indian editorials has been explored in the context of satire and reverse psychology, highlighting their ironic inconsistencies. Analysis of Baum literature, both subsequent to and contemporary with the editorials, appears to reveal sympathy with the plight of the Indians, suggesting that in these editorials “…he was not advocating holocaust, he was deploring it, at the moment it was occurring and in the midst of it … (he) found himself surrounded not by bloodthirsty redskins, but rather by his subscribers, bloodthirsty frontier rednecks.”[39]

Political imagery in The Wizard of Oz

Although numerous political references to the "Wizard" appeared early in the 20th century, it was in a

Since 1964 many scholars, economists and historians have expanded on Littlefield's interpretation, pointing to multiple similarities between the characters (especially as depicted in Denslow's illustrations) and stock figures from editorial cartoons of the period. Littlefield himself wrote to The New York Times letters to the editor section spelling out that his theory had no basis in fact, but that his original point was, "not to label Baum, or to lessen any of his magic, but rather, as a history teacher at Mount Vernon High School, to invest turn-of-the-century America with the imagery and wonder I have always found in his stories."[43]

Baum's newspaper had addressed politics in the 1890s, and Denslow was an editorial cartoonist as well as an illustrator of children's books. A series of political references are included in the 1902 stage version, such as references by name to the President and a powerful senator, and to John D. Rockefeller for providing the oil needed by the Tin Woodman. Scholars have found few political references in Baum's Oz books after 1902.

When Baum himself was asked whether his stories had hidden meanings, he always replied that they were written to please children and generate an income for his family.


Originally a Methodist, Baum joined the Episcopal Church in Aberdeen to participate in community theatricals. Later, he and his wife, encouraged by Matilda Joslyn Gage, became members of the Theosophical Society in 1892.[44] Baum's beliefs are often reflected in his writing. The only mention of a church in his Oz books is the porcelain one which the Cowardly Lion breaks in the Dainty China Country in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Baums believed in God, but felt that religious decisions should be made by mature minds and not religious authorities. As a result, they sent their older sons to "Ethical Culture Sunday School" in Chicago, which taught morality, not religion.[45][46]


expanding it.

Oz works

Main: List of Oz books

Non-Oz works

Short stories

This list omits those stories that appeared in Our Landlady, American Fairy Tales, Animal Fairy Tales, Little Wizard Stories of Oz, and Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz.

  • "They Played a New Hamlet" (April 28, 1895)
  • "A Cold Day on the Railroad" (May 26, 1895)
  • "Who Called 'Perry?'" (January 19, 1896)
  • "Yesterday at the Exhibition" (February 2, 1896)
  • "My Ruby Wedding Ring" (October 12, 1896)
  • "The Man with the Red Shirt" (c.1897, told to Matilda Jewell Gage, who wrote it down in 1905)
  • "How Scroggs Won the Reward" (May 5, 1897)
  • "The Extravagance of Dan" (May 18, 1897)
  • "The Return of Dick Weemins" (July 1897)
  • "The Suicide of Kiaros" (September 1897)
  • "A Shadow Cast Before" (December 1897)
  • "John" (June 24, 1898)
  • "The Mating Day" (September 1898)
  • "Aunt Hulda's Good Time" (October 26, 1899)
  • "The Loveridge Burglary" (January 1900)
  • "The Bad Man" (February 1901)
  • "The King Who Changed His Mind" (1901)
  • "The Runaway Shadows or A Trick of Jack Frost" (June 5, 1901)
  • "(The Strange Adventures of) An Easter Egg" (March 29, 1902)
  • "The Ryl of the Lilies" (April 12, 1903)
  • the first chapter of The Whatnexters, an unfinished novel with Isidore Witmark[49] (1903, Unpublished and possibly lost)
  • "Chrome Yellow" (1904, Unpublished; held in The Baum Papers at Syracuse University)
  • "Mr. Rumple's Chill" (1904, Lost)
  • "Bess of the Movies" (1904, Lost)
  • "The Diamondback" (1904, First page missing)
  • "A Kidnapped Santa Claus" (December 1904)
  • "The Woggle-Bug Book: The Unique Adventures of the Woggle-Bug" (January 12, 1905)[50]
  • "Nelebel's Fairyland" (June 1905)
  • "Jack Burgitt's Honor" (August 1, 1905)
  • "The Tiger's Eye: A Jungle Fairy Tale" (1905)
  • "The Yellow Ryl" (1906)
  • "The Witchcraft of Mary–Marie" (1908)
  • "The Man-Fairy" (December 1910)
  • "Juggerjook" (December 1910)
  • "The Tramp and the Baby" (October 1911)
  • "Bessie's Fairy Tale" (December 1911)
  • "Aunt 'Phroney's Boy" (December 1912)
  • "The Littlest Giant—An Oz Story" (1918)
  • "An Oz Book" (1919)

Under pseudonyms

As Edith Van Dyne:
As Floyd Akers:
  • The Boy Fortune Hunters in Alaska (1908; originally published in 1906 as Sam Steele's Adventures on Land and Sea by "Capt. Hugh Fitzgerald")
  • The Boy Fortune Hunters in Panama (1908; originally published in 1907 as Sam Steele's Adventures in Panama by "Capt. Hugh Fitzgerald"; reprinted in 2008 as The Amazing Bubble Car)
  • The Boy Fortune Hunters in Egypt (1908; reprinted in 2008 as The Treasure of Karnak)
  • The Boy Fortune Hunters in China (1909; reprinted in 2006 as The Scream of the Sacred Ape)
  • The Boy Fortune Hunters in Yucatan (1910)
  • The Boy Fortune Hunters in the South Seas (1911)
As Schuyler Staunton:
As John Estes Cooke:
  • Tamawaca Folks: A Summer Comedy (1907)
As Suzanne Metcalf:
As Laura Bancroft:
  • The Twinkle Tales (1906; collected as Twinkle and Chubbins, though Chubbins is not in all the stories)
  • Policeman Bluejay (1907; also known as Babes in Birdland, it was published under Baum's name shortly before his death)


  • Baum's Complete Stamp Dealer's Directory (1873)
  • The Book of the Hamburgs (poultry guide, 1886)
  • Our Landlady (newspaper stories, 1890–1891)
  • The Art of Decorating Dry Goods Windows and Interiors (trade publication, 1900)
  • L. Frank Baum's Juvenile Speaker (or Baum's Own Book for Children), a collection of revised work (1910), later republished as The Snuggle Tales (1916–17) and Oz-Man Tales (1920)

Baum has been credited as the editor of In Other Lands Than Ours (1907), a collection of letters written by his wife Maud Gage Baum.[51]

Plays and adaptations

Main article: Plays of L. Frank Baum

Including those listed here and on the Oz books page, Michael Patrick Hearn has identified forty-two titles of stage plays associated with Baum, some probably redundant or reflective of alternate drafts, many for works that Baum may never have actually started. Listed below are those either known to have been performed (such as the lost plays of his youth) or that exist in at least fragmentary or treatment form.

  • The Mackrummins (lost play, 1882)
  • The Maid of Arran (play, 1882)
  • Matches (lost play, 1882)
  • Kilmourne, or O'Connor's Dream (lost? play, opened April 4, 1883)
  • The Queen of Killarney (lost? play, 1883)
  • The Songs of Father Goose (Father Goose set to music by Alberta N. Hall Burton, 1900)
  • "The Maid of Athens: A College Fantasy" (play treatment, 1903; with Emerson Hough)
  • "The King of Gee-Whiz" (play treatment, February 1905, with Emerson Hough)
  • Mortal for an Hour or The Fairy Prince or Prince Marvel (play, 1909)
  • The Pipes O' Pan (play, 1909, with George Scarborough; only the first act was ever completed)
  • King Bud of Noland, or The Magic Cloak (musical play, 1913; music by Louis F. Gottschalk, revised as the scenario to the film, The Magic Cloak of Oz)
  • Stagecraft, or, The Adventures of a Strictly Moral Man (musical play, 1914; music by Louis F. Gottschalk)
  • Prince Silverwings (long term project collaborating with Edith Ogden Harrison, based on her book; worked on as late as 1915; published in 1982)
  • The Uplift of Lucifer, or Raising Hell: An Allegorical Squazosh (musical play, music by Louis F. Gottschalk, 1915)
  • Blackbird Cottages: The Uplifters' Minstrels (musical play, 1916; music by Byron Gay)[52]
  • The Orpheus Road Show: A Paraphrastic Compendium of Mirth (musical play, 1917; music by Louis F. Gottschalk)

The Wizard of Oz on screen and back to stage

Following early film treatments in 1910 and 1925, and Baum's own venture, The Oz Film Manufacturing Company, Metro Goldwyn Mayer made the story into the now classic movie The Wizard of Oz (1939) starring Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale. It was only MGM's second feature-length film in three-strip Technicolor (the first having been Sweethearts, based on the Victor Herbert operetta). Among other changes, including largely eliminating the novel's feminist influences, the film was given an all-a-dream ending. (Baum used this technique only once, in Mr. Woodchuck, and in that case the title character explicitly told the dreamer that she was dreaming numerous times.)

In 1970, the actor Conlan Carter, formerly of ABC's Combat! and The Law and Mr. Jones, played the role of Baum in the episode "The Wizard of Aberdeen" in the syndicated television series Death Valley Days.[53]

A completely new Tony Award-winning Broadway musical based on African-American musical styles, The Wiz was staged in 1975 with Stephanie Mills as Dorothy. It was the basis for a 1978 film by the same title starring Diana Ross as an adult Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow. The Wizard of Oz continues to inspire new versions such as Disney's 1985 Return to Oz, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, Tin Man (a re-imagining of the story televised in late 2007 on the Sci Fi Channel), and a variety of animated productions. Today's most successful Broadway show, Wicked provides a backstory to the two Oz witches used in the classic MGM film. Wicked author Gregory Maguire chose to honor L. Frank Baum by naming his main character Elphaba—a phonetic take on Baum's initials.

Baum was portrayed by actor John Ritter in the television movie Dreamer of Oz.

In 2013 the film titled Oz the Great and Powerful was released

See also

Biography portal

Storybook Land is a theme park in Aberdeen, South Dakota. It features the Land of Oz, with characters and attractions from the books.



  • Algeo, John. "A Notable Theosophist: L. Frank Baum." American Theosophist, Vol. 74 (August–September 1986), pp. 270–3.
  • Attebery, Brian. The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature. Bloomington, IN, Indiana University Press, 1980.
  • Baum, Frank Joslyn, and Russell P. Macfall. To Please a Child. Chicago, Reilly & Lee, 1961.
  • Baum, L. Frank. The Annotated Wizard of Oz. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Michael Patrick Hearn. New York, Clarkson N. Potter, 1973. Revised 2000. New York, W.W. Norton, 2000.
  • Ferrara, Susan. The Family of the Wizard: The Baums of Syracuse. Xlibris Corporation, 1999. ISBN 0-7388-1317-6
  • Ford, Alla T. The High-Jinks of L. Frank Baum. Hong Kong, Ford Press, 1969.
  • Ford, Alla T. The Musical Fantasies of L. Frank Baum. Lake Worth, FL, Ford Press, 1969.
  • Gardner, Martin, and Russel B. Nye. The Wizard of Oz and Who He Was. East Lansing, MI, Michigan State University Press, 1957. Revised 1994.
  • Hearn, Michael Patrick. The Critical Heritage Edition of the Wizard of Oz. New York, Schocken, 1986.
  • Koupal, Nancy Tystad. Baum's Road to Oz: The Dakota Years. Pierre, SD, South Dakota State Historical Society, 2000.
  • Koupal, Nancy Tystad. Our Landlady. Lawrence, KS, University of Nebraska Press, 1986.
  • Journal of the Georgia Association of Historians, vol. 15 (1994), pp. 49–63.
  • Reneau, Reneau H. "Misanthropology: A Florilegium of Bahumbuggery" Inglewood, CA, donlazaro translations, 2004, pp. 155-164
  • Reneau, Reneau H. "A Newer Testament: Misanthropology Unleashed" Inglewood, CA, donlazaro translations, 2008, pp. 129-147
  • Riley, Michael O. Oz and Beyond: The Fantasy World of L. Frank Baum. Lawrence, KS, University of Kansas Press, 1997. ISBN 0-7006-0832-X
  • Rogers, Katharine M. L. Frank Baum, Creator of Oz: A Biography. New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002. ISBN 0-312-30174-X
  • Sale, Roger. Fairy Tales and After: From Snow White to E. B. White. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University press, 1978. ISBN 0-674-29157-3
  • Schwartz, Evan I. Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story. New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009 ISBN 0-547-05510-2
  • Wagner, Sally Roesch. The Wonderful Mother of Oz. Fayetteville, NY: The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, 2003.
  • Wilgus, Neal. "Classic American Fairy Tales: The Fantasies of L. Frank Baum" in Darrell Schweitzer (ed) Discovering Classic Fantasy Fiction, Gillette NJ: Wildside Press, 1996, pp. 113–121.

External links

  • L. Frank Baum Papers at Syracuse University
  • Bibliography (Baum and Oz)
  • The International Wizard of Oz Club, Inc.
  • L. Frank Baum public domain audiobooks at
  • L. Frank Baum Works Archive
  • Wonderful Wizard of Oz Website
  • Project Gutenberg
  • Free scores by L. Frank Baum at the International Music Score Library Project

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