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

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mary Louise

After finishing the series of Aunt Jane's Nieces books, L. Frank Baum began the Mary Louise series, using his Edith Van Dyne pseudonym. Baum took the title character's name from his favorite sister - there was also a Mary Louise in the book Annabel.

The Mary Louise books have the plainest bindings of any Baum title published by Reilly & Britton. Maybe the publishers felt that Edith Van Dyne was such a popular author, there was no need to spend money on attractive covers!

On the left I'm showing a first edition in dust jacket, a first without the jacket, and a Reilly & Lee edition in jacket from the early 1920's. The original dust jackets use the same image on all the titles, a flock of bluebirds in flight. The series was given the additional title of The Bluebird Books, for no apparent reason that I know of, unless it was to justify the bluebirds on the jacket! As you can see, the later Reilly & Lee editions used a new jacket design - once again the image is the same on all the titles, but the color in the background changes.

After Baum's death, the series was continued using another author - just as the Oz series was continued with Ruth Plumly Thompson.


Jim Meadows said...

Were the Aunt Jane's Nieces and Mary Louise series published in only one edition, or did they have low-cost editions along with the original ones? I understand that was commonly done in U-S publishing before paperbacks came in. I read in the Katherine Rogers biography of L. Frank Baum that M.A. Donohue reprinted some of Baum's books from other publishers. Do you know if the same was done with any of his Reilly & Britton/Reilly & Lee books?

Bill Campbell said...

M.A. Donohue was a reprint house that leased the printing plates for several early Baum titles from Bobbs-Merrill. They produced their own printings of The Wizard of Oz, Dot & Tot of Merryland, The Enchanted Island of Yew, The Magical Monarch of Mo, Father Goose His Book, and The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus - those are the only titles I'm familiar with. These books were produced from around 1913 to 1920.

As far as I know, no Reilly and Britton/Lee titles were ever produced that way. The Copp, Clark Company in Canada did publish Canadian editions of Reilly & Britton/Lee titles, but that was a different situation - the books were still printed by Reilly & Britton. In the 1940s, Copp, Clark did publish their own editions of a couple early Oz titles.

unblocktheplanet said...

Further to Bill's comment, the only Baum pseudonymous works we've seen in Canadian issue are AJN in the Red Cross and The Daring Twins, both R&B titles.

However, in 1905 Copp Clark published Queen Zixi of Ix for The Century Company. We have yet to see any Canadian Denslow titles but Bill Thompson notes Century published When I Grow Up in 1909.

We hope a Canadian issue is discovered!