Saturday, May 15, 2021

Something About L. Frank Baum

Tik-tok but the stories don't stop.

It's the 165th birthday of author Lyman Frank Baum, the American author best known for his 14-book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz series. A native of New York, Baum and his wife moved west and eventually to Chicago, where he worked as a newspaper reporter and published children's literature, coming out with the first Oz book in 1900. The first Oz story was published by George M. Hill Company and had a first printing of 10,000 copies. Two years later Baum teamed up to produce a musical stage version. All said, he wrote 41 other novels and numerous short stories and poems. The 1939 adaptation of his first Oz book has gone on to become a landmark of 20th Century cinema. Baum died May 5, 1919. His final Oz book, Glinda of Oz, was published in 1920, and the series continued for decades through other authors. Toto of Oz was published in 2006.


Russ said...

Baum wrote under several other names besides his own. He wrote The Boy Fortune Hunter series under the name Floyd Akers, Sam Steele's Adventures series under the name Capt. Hugh Fitzgerald, Annabel under the name Suzanne (or Susanne in later printings) Metcalf, some Graustark like adventures under Schuyler Staunton, two series Aunt Jane's Nieces series and Mary Louise series under Edith Van Dyne, and Tamawaca Folks under the name John Estes Cooke. He also wrote The Last Egyptian anonymously. I believe he had a few other items published under variations of his real name. Much of this work was based partly on his own life travels and experiences, so you will find some biographical bits among these works. He wrote under these different names to keep his various works separated. He did not want to disappoint a reader looking for a Baum fantasy that picked up one of his other works. Also many publishers at the time thought too many books published in a short period by a single author was a bad thing. I sometimes wonder if John Bellairs had anything published under a pseudonym.

Russ said...

Somehow I forgot to mention that Baum also wrote the Twinkle Tales under the name Laura Bancroft. I had a feeling I was forgetting something. The Twinkle Tales were six small books for younger readers, Oz like fantasies about two children Twinkle and Chubbins. The adventures continued in a larger book Policeman Bluejay which was reprinted as Babes in Birdland.