Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

American Fairy Tales

American Fairy Tales, from 1901, is a collection of short stories written by L. Frank Baum, with some distinctly American attributes. The stories are a mix of different styles, but in general Baum designed his stories for American children, using elements that would be familiar to them, rather than settings of long ago and far away.

This book was illustrated by four artists, three of whom worked on other books by Baum - the title page and borders were by Ralph Fletcher Seymour, who lettered Father Goose, His Book; Ike Morgan, who illustrated The Wogglebug Book, provided the majority of the illustrations; Harry Kennedy, who illustrated the Army and Navy Alphabets, also drew a few; and N. P. Hall did drawings for one story. It's tempting to think he might be related to H. Putnam Hall, who illustrated the first edition of Annabel. Hall's two pieces are the least of the batch - overall, it's a bit of an odd mix. In 1909 these stories, together with a few more, were published as Baum's American Fairy Tales, by the Bobbs-Merrill company. This edition had new illustrations by George Kerr.

First editions of this book really do seem to have suffered more wear than most Baum titles. I've seen a fair number of absolutely awful copies. Apparently the book was originally sold boxed, but I haven't heard of any surviving boxed copies - they could be out there!

1 comment:

Bill Campbell said...

Some more info from Michael Hearn: "N. P. Hall and H. Putnam Hall were brothers and classmates of the older Baum boys. Norman P. Hall later drew a number of frontispieces for many of the Reilly & Britton's series for teen-aged readers including Aunt Jane's Nieces in the Red Cross. You might also mention that J. Allen St. John, the famous illustrator of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan books, drew frontispieces for several of the Mary Louise Books also by "Edith Van Dyne."