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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Denslow Covers

Here are a pair of Rand McNally novels with similar cover themes, by W. W. Denslow.

Amber Glints is a compilation of writings by Martha Everts Holden, who wrote special features for the Chicago Herald under the name of Amber. According to the Greene/Hearn biography of Denslow, she hosted the Bohemian Club, an informal gathering of artists on Tuesday nights in Chicago. She was also Denslow's future mother-in-law, as he married her daughter Ann Waters. Unfortunately, Amber died before the marriage and this book was published after her death. A second volume which I showed in an earlier post, Rosemary and Rue, was also published.

I haven't read Told in the Rockies yet, so I really don't have a clue to the story - other than I suppose it takes place in the Rockies! But the silhouette of the girl on the rock is similar to the woman in the tree of Amber Glints. Both are simple covers, and don't reveal much of the content of either book.

Friday, May 30, 2008

What's Going On?

I've been surprised to find that some of my blog posts and photos are being lifted and appearing on another Oz blog, without permission or credit as to their origin. While I realize that posting material on the web might make it more or less fair game, common politeness would dictate that permission be asked and some acknowledgment be made concerning ownership. I would like to be able to continue posting photos from my collection without resorting to watermarks, but if necessary I will start to apply labels. I'd appreciate some courtesy in this matter.

Woman with Necklace

Here is a very charming graphite drawing by John R. Neill of a woman wearing a delicate necklace, and dressed in an almost Ozian style. I'll always think of Neill as a pen & ink artist, but the various illustrations being offered by his descendants show what a variety of mediums he had mastered. I've tried to gather a collection of pieces that show his different styles and talents.

This drawing has the caption "Hilden 42nd & Madison" I'm not sure if that is a title, or a note of an address! Apparently this was published in an issue of Elks Magazine, but I've never seen a copy - I'm working on tracking it down.

I'm very fond of the book Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and for some reason I always think of this as a drawing of Arabella Strange. Completely un-Oz related, but there it is!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Glinda of Oz

Glinda of Oz was the last Oz book by L. Frank Baum. It was published in 1920, and contained a note from the publishers telling of Baum's death (which had occurred the previous year), and stating that notes had been left behind for another Oz story. This last part doesn't seem to have been true - at least, the next book in the series was not based on any notes left by Baum.

I always liked this book, but it felt very different to me than the other Baum titles in the series. I never could decide why, since it does feature many familiar elements. It might simply have been the fact that Ozma and Dorothy are off on an adventure of their own, something that had not happened in any of the previous books.

The map of Oz that had been used as endpapers in Tik-Tok of Oz was distributed with the Oz books of 1920. There was one change to the map - the compass points for east and west, which had been reversed on the original map, are now in their customary positions. This firmly places the Munchkins in the west, and the Winkies in the east - all very confusing! On the reverse side was the flag of Oz - there was an interesting article in the Baum Bugle years ago about Oz flags - there are quite a few different ones described in the books.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


There is quite a bit of pre-1920 sheet music related to the Oz stories. The 1902 musical extravaganza of The Wizard of Oz had many songs, some with lyrics by L. Frank Baum, others that were interpolated into the plot during the show's lengthy run on Broadway. The Wogglebug (1905) failed as a show, but sheet music was produced. The Tik-Tok Man of Oz (1913)was a moderate hit, and also produced a number of song sheets.

I have a few examples from Tik-Tok, and hope to eventually get a few pieces from the other shows as well.

In the photo below, there are also some examples of music inspired by Father Goose, His Book. The copy of The Songs of Father Goose is a reprint from approximately 1920 of a book originally published in 1901 - a different cover by W. W. Denslow was used on this edition. There are also two 1901 newspaper supplements with songs from the book.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Early Thompson

Here are a couple early books by Ruth Plumly Thompson, who would take over the Oz series after the death of L. Frank Baum. The Perhappsy Chaps was published by Volland in 1918, and is a series of poems concerning the Perhappsies - little sprites who live in the town of Perhaps. The stories have the same humor and charm Thompson would bring to the Oz books. I believe these tales originally were published on her children's page in the Philadelphia Public Ledger with illustrations by Arthur Henderson, whose illustrations were also used in the book. I find it interesting to note how many connections to Philadelphia there are in the circle of Oz authors and artists!

This book would have originally had a matching box - my copy is rather worn, with a replaced spine. The Volland books were bound in paper boards with paper spines and tend to be very delicate, often showing up in various stages of heavy wear - although there are also very nice copies out there!

Old Doc Turtle was one of a set of four books by Thompson, illustrated by Charles Coll and printed in 1920 by Murray Publishing. This is a simple paper pamphlet containing two stories, the second one being Lucky Peter. I think this may also have originated from magazine or newspaper work Thompson was doing at the time. I know of a boxed jig-saw puzzle for at least one story from this series.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Schoenhut Clowns

This may be stretching my topic a bit, but something else I collect are toy clowns from the Schoenhut Circus. The Schoenhut company was based in Philadelphia, and made many toys and dolls, but the circus is one of their best known products.

My reason for mentioning this is that the clowns really make me think of W. W. Denslow's clowns in Dot & Tot of Merryland. The book was published in 1901, and Schoenhut began making the circus toys in 1903. I don't really think that one influenced the other, but who knows - it's always a possibility!

The clowns tend to be found in various states of decrepitude - I usually call them the evil clowns, because they tend to look pretty scary. But they are great toys, and very fun to play with!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dot & Tot

Dot and Tot of Merryland, from 1901, was L. Frank Baum and W. W. Denslow's follow up to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This was the last book the pair did together - all in all it's a cute book, but not nearly as memorable as Wonderful Wizard. Denslow did nice work in the illustrations, and the use of color throughout the book adds richness. There are no full color plates, which I do miss, but otherwise the overall look is very handsome.

I've always found the Queen's scepter on the cover a bit jarring - it looks like a grinning skull on a stick! I think it's meant to be a jester or clown, but still... I suppose if you really made an effort the whole book could be interpreted as a near death experience with the Queen of Merryland as some sort of Grim Reaper figure... but I'm not even going to go there.

The book went through several printings. On the right I'm showing a first edition, together with a Donohue reprint in dust jacket, and a 1920's Bobbs Merrill edition with a new cover featuring one of Denslow's great clowns.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Baum Bugle

I recently received the latest issue of The Baum Bugle, from The International Wizard of Oz Club. It's a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Bugle, with quite a bit of reminiscing by former editors.

It's fascinating to me to be reminded what an important part the Bugle played in Oz collecting. Before old Oz books were particularly sought after, before anyone knew what constituted a first edition/printing/state of a title, the Baum Bugle was working to help collectors. For many people today it may be a simple matter of searching online to find copies of a title you're seeking, but it certainly wasn't that easy 50 years ago! I've been fortunate in living in areas with good used book stores, but the Bugle was a huge part of making rare books available to collectors who didn't have local resources to turn to. It's still a very valuable tool for learning about the many aspects of Oz.

I'm assuming most people who bother to read my blog are familiar with the Oz Club, but for those who aren't, the website can be found at www.ozclub.org. If you're a budding collector, or simply an Oz fan, you owe it to yourself to check out this site.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Del Rey Magic

The cover of the Del Rey edition of The Magic of Oz is one of the most colorful and dramatic in the series. The painting is large, 2 feet by 3 feet, and definitely draws a lot of attention! For this painting Michael Herring chose to work on a masonite panel, which makes this a very solid and heavy painting.

The subject has again been taken from a John R. Neill drawing, although it has gained a certain presence that the original drawing lacks. Here the Wizard has grown into quite the showman, a far cry from the humbug that he was in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The photo I'm showing is a little misleading, as the wizard's coat does not appear quite as blue in person. On the other hand, the picture I have of the printed cover of the book makes the coat look black - just picture it somewhere in-between!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Reilly & Britton published two volumes of compilations of work by L. Frank Baum. Actually, they were both the same book simply reprinted with a new title - it's amazing how many times they could do that!

The first time around in 1910, the book had the descriptive but unwieldy title L. Frank Baum's Juvenile Speaker. Speakers were popular at the time, as books of short pieces that children could use for recitations. A couple years later, in 1912, it was re-published with the catchier title of Baum's Own Book for Children.

I've never considered either version a particularly exciting book, as it contains nothing really new - there are some modifications to chapters from Oz books, designed to make them read as complete stories on their own, and there is a play adaptation of The Enchanted Island of Yew. But overall, I don't find either copy a very attractive book. There are no color illustrations, or pictorial endpapers, and the covers are a bit dull. Both are difficult to come by today - particularly the Juvenile Speaker.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Magic of Oz

After heading out of town last week, I realized I was a bit remiss in not mentioning L. Frank Baum's birthday on May 15th! He was born in 1856, making this his 152nd birthday - also, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published on May 15th, 1900, 108 years ago.

The Magic of Oz was the first Oz title published under the new publishers imprint of Reilly & Lee. The remaining titles in the 40 book series would all be published under this imprint.

L. Frank Baum died before this title was published, leaving this and a second book to be published posthumously. After a bit of a slow-down a few years earlier, the Oz series was gaining in popularity at this point - this makes sense if you figure that children who read the first books would be old enough to be starting families, and purchasing books they enjoyed as children themselves - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900, and this title appeared in 1919.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Three Impressarios

This piece by John R. Neill is another of my favorites. It was created for a magazine story, and the image feels so different from what I normally associate with the artist - the rich blacks and greys provide a sense of menace. The piece is an illustration from Pictorial Review magazine, ca. 1918. On the rear of the artwork is a label that reads "Charge to PR / order no. 4140". Michael Hearn once recalled having read the story, and not remembering any particularly menacing aspects - so the image may be a bit misleading. The drawing is rather large, about 18" by 24".

I won't be posting for the next few days, but will be back at it next week!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nieces in the Red Cross

The final book in the Aunt Jane's Nieces series was published in 1915, Aunt Jane's Nieces in the Red Cross. In 1918 Reilly & Britton reprinted the book with an additional 4 chapters written by L. Frank Baum, making considerable changes to the ending.

The dustjacket on the 1918 version has a War Savings Stamps medallion on the spine. I've also seen this stamp on the dustjacket of a Reilly & Britton 1918 printing of The Road to Oz. From what I've read, the War Saving Stamps program was principally aimed at school age children - if so, the idea of advertising them on children's books make sense. The stamps cost 25 cents each, and would then be placed in an album, which when filled could be exchanged for a war savings bond. The idea was to save money as well as contribute to the war effort. The program was revived during World War Two.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Queen Zixi

Queen Zixi of Ix is L. Frank Baum's most traditional fairy tale. This story was first published as a serial in St Nicholas Magazine in 1905. The magazine used color printing for the first time for this story, which helps show how important the publishers felt this tale was.

I have the magazine version of the story, bound in the decorative volumes that were produced twice a year compiling the magazine contents. This is nice to have, since there is an illustration used in the magazine that was not put into the book - I'm not sure why, maybe due to lack of space when the type was reset. The Dover paperback edition of the book restored the missing drawing to the story.

I have seen one original drawing from this book, so I imagine there may be a few others as well. Frederick Richardson was a well known illustrator with many titles to his credit.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Golden Goblin

A couple days ago I mentioned The Golden Goblin, in some comments after the posting for Zauberlinda. This is another title that is sometimes referred to as an imitation of L. Frank Baum's Oz books. It was published by Bobbs Merrill in 1906.

Visually, the book uses a number of two-color illustrations, along with single-color page decorations under the text. There are also full color plates, and the ink color of the text illustrations changes throughout the book. This is all reminiscent of The Wonderful Wizard, but doesn't serve the same purpose. In Baum's book, the color shifts relate to the story, whereas here they simply add variety. The illustrations by George Kerr are reminiscent of Frederick Richardson's work for Queen Zixi of Ix. Kerr also illustrated the 1908 Bobbs Merrill edition of Baum's American Fairy Tales.

The story itself concerns two castaway children who are picked up by the Flying Dutchman and have several adventures. Obviously, this isn't quite the same Flying Dutchman as seen in Pirates of the Caribbean! I don't find the story all that captivating, and it clearly seems to be intended to be transformed into another Broadway extravaganza, just like The Wizard. A number of children's books seem to have been written at this time period for that purpose - similar to the books written today in hopes of being made into blockbuster movies!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Del Rey Tin Woodman

Once again, Michael Herring has fleshed out an illustration by John R. Neill to make the cover of the Del Rey edition of The Tin Woodman of Oz. The fantastic creature, (called a Hip-po-gy-raf), is a straightforward rendition of the Neill drawing, except in color. However, as with the Scarecrow cover, Herring has added a greater sense of drama with the creature appearing out of the mist, and the characters preparing to do battle on the edge of the cliff. Of course, no harm is done to anyone in the story, and the Hip-po-gy-raf turns out to be rather helpful.

The painting has a wonderful mix of color, with very vibrant blues and lavenders. In cropping the image for the cover of the book, the cliff edge is almost lost - removing some of the drama of the image.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


After mentioning the Dale Ulrey-illustrated Tin Woodman of Oz in my last post, I realized I hadn't shown this drawing of Dorothy in the Nome King's ornament room, from Ozma of Oz. This drawing is interesting to me for a couple reasons.

Ulrey seemed to be trying two different styles in this series of drawings for Ozma - some are straight-forward line drawings, and others are in a more atmospheric ink wash. This piece is an ink wash drawing, similar to the version of the Scarecrow and Nome King that I showed a while back. The drawing of Dorothy looks much more finished to me than the Nome King drawing. I do wonder which direction the artist was thinking of going, line or wash?

The Dorothy in this drawing also seems to be a departure from Ulrey's depictions of her in The Wizard of Oz, and Tin Woodman of Oz. In both of those books she has short curly hair, and always struck me as more of a tomboy - here she looks a little more ladylike.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tin Woodman

The Tin Woodman of Oz was the last Oz book published by Reilly & Britton. The firm changed its name to Reilly & Lee in 1919, and the rest of the official Oz series was published under this name. This was also the last Oz title published in L. Frank Baum's lifetime. Two more Baum titles were published, but both were posthumous - Baum died in 1919, before the publication of The Magic of Oz.

On more than one occasion I've seen this title listed on eBay, describing the cover as two tin men lifting Dorothy - I think Woot the Wanderer would be very insulted! As a kid I never really liked the idea of Captain Fyter, the Tin Soldier character - I didn't think there should be two tin men.

In the photo at right, I show a 1920 printing in dustjacket, and a copy of the 1955 version with new illustrations by Dale Ulrey. This was the first Oz book she illustrated, as part of an experiment in updating the series, followed by The Wizard of Oz, and the unpublished Ozma of Oz.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Shaggy Man

I mentioned in a post a while back that I didn't care much for the character of the Shaggy Man when I first read about him in The Road to Oz. I did become fonder of the character, and L. Frank Baum used him in the next few books, giving him a large role in Tik-Tok of Oz. After this title, he seemed to fade away, and was not used as frequently.

Here I have a drawing by John R. Neill of Shaggy from Tik-Tok of Oz. This was used as a chapter tail on page 250. The image was slightly trimmed in the book - the whiskers extending beyond the rectangular border on either side were removed. He must have been too shaggy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Zauberlinda the Wise Witch was published in 1901, and is frequently mentioned as being one of the more blatant imitations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This is true in terms of appearance - the illustration style is very Denslow-like, and the layout of the book mimics the Wizard - but the story really doesn't seem to take that much inspiration from the L. Frank Baum book.

In fact, I find it interesting that in Zauberlinda we meet the King of the Gnomes, who lives underground where he rules a great kingdom of metalworkers. Annie and her cat Silvertoes are threatened with remaining in the Kingdom of the Gnomes forever, but manage to escape, taking along the King's most powerful magical object. I don't really think that this inspired Baum's writing, but the similarities to 1907's Ozma of Oz are striking! Other aspects of the book bring to mind the Twinkle and Chubbins stories, with the concept of "nature fairyland".

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Boy Fortune Hunters

The Boy Fortune Hunters series was the last hurrah for the Sam Steele books. The series must have been moderately successful, as more titles were added, leading to a total of six. L. Frank Baum was given the new pseudonym of Floyd Akers, but the stories still dealt with Sam Steele and his adventures.

The books went through two color schemes for their covers. The first titles were monochromatic, printed in black, white and tan on brown cloth. As the series continued, the covers were changed and became more colorful with red and green.

These are enjoyable stories, as are the Edith Van Dyne titles, and other teen titles Baum wrote. They are very much of their time period, and sometimes contain stereotypes and language that would not be considered acceptable today. But I do have to wonder, how many things are accepted and written for children today that would shock a turn of the century author!

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Cruise

A Cruise under the Crescent is another Rand McNally title using a W. W. Denslow cover design. This time however, Denslow also illustrated the book. It's filled with sketches of eastern scenes to help flesh out the author's story of his travels.

There is one illustration in particular that I find amusing.
Here we have an illustration of a Sword Dancer of Jericho. I have to say, it's very similar to the drawing of Annie Waters, done for Father Goose, His Book - although a little more risqué!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Decorative Designers

The floral stamping used on the Aunt Jane's Nieces series was designed by Decorative Designers, a New York based firm founded by Henry Thayer that was in business from 1895 to 1931 and created designs for many publishers. A number of designers worked for this firm, but apparently most of the decorative borders of this sort were designed by Emma Redington Lee Thayer. According to the website Publishers' Bindings Online, the firm's monogram, a pair of overlapped D's with the second D reversed, appeared on over 25,000 book covers, dustjackets and text decorations.

When Reilly & Britton adjusted the size of the Aunt Jane books, the design had to be modified - a few violets and the ends of the ribbons were removed. It's interesting to note that the company was still using this original design in their advertising for the series - the ad below illustrates Aunt Jane's Nieces and Uncle John in this binding, even though it was no longer in use.

Reilly & Britton clearly made additional use of the firm, as the cover for Sam Steele in Panama is also marked with the Decorative Designers device - it's hard to see, but it's next to the palm tree on the right. Apparently
figurative covers like this were designed by Charles Buckles Falls or Jay Chambers. I don't see the firm's mark on the secondary binding of Sam Steele's Adventures on Land and Sea, which is interesting - I would think that this would also have been designed by the company, since it matches the general design of Panama.

After doing a little more searching, it appears that not all of the work done by Decorative Designers was signed - so it's very possible that the Land and Sea binding was also designed by the firm. The Young Research Library of UC Los Angeles has an archive of materials relating to Decorative Designers and Lee Thayer. They also list a dummy copy of Sweethearts Always, a book of poetry published by Reilly & Britton that contains a poem by L. Frank Baum.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Sawhorse

I've always liked the Sawhorse, the wooden steed introduced by L. Frank Baum in The Marvelous Land of Oz. He really doesn't get that much to do in the rest of the Oz series, but he pops up now and again. This is another chapter heading drawing by John R. Neill from Tik-Tok of Oz, this time Chapter 25, page 263. I don't think there are many surviving drawings of this character, so I'm glad to have this portrait.

This is slightly different from the other chapter headings I have. The whole image is a little bigger, and there is only a single line under the drawing - the rest of the chapter heads have a double line. This is the last chapter in the book - maybe Neill ran out of time!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Lost Princess

The Lost Princess of Oz was the other L. Frank Baum book that I could not find as a kid. I was buying the Rand McNally paperback Oz series and this title, along with Rinkitink in Oz, was never published that way. It confused me for years! I finally did pick up a Reilly & Lee white cover copy, and eventually a first edition in dustjacket.

Some of John R. Neill's illustrations for this book have an interesting delicacy, particularly the color plates. I think this is partly due to the pastel color scheme used in the printing of these pages. The Oz books usually follow a certain color scheme in the plates - Tik-Tok and Scarecrow both used a lot of peach and lavender, Rinkitink added some strong jolts of red, Lost Princess has more yellow, pink and blue.

I also have a copy of a second printing that supposedly was in the family of Jack Snow, who would later write two Oz books as well as a Who's Who. I don't know if this is true - the name in the book is Lyndon Snow, written in a child's block lettering with an address of 60 First Ave. - no city or state. I doubt the story, but if anyone knows differently, I'd love to hear about it.