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

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I'm afraid I've been neglecting my blog entries, but it's been a hectic few weeks here. We've been moving our studio to a new location after being settled for 20 years, and I've spent more time transporting boxes and painting than anything else!

In 1961, Dick Martin illustrated adaptations of the first 4 Oz books for Reilly & Lee. I have three of these, but I'm missing The Wizard of Oz which seems to be the hardest to find. I've always had mixed feelings toward Martin's work, but these books are energetic and a lot of fun.

The illustration on the right shows Ozma entering the Nome King's ornament room, and is a good example of the colorful style used by the artist. The array of knick-knacks is amusing, and Ozma herself is wearing a slightly bizarre martial cockade of a headdress, very different from what is usually seen. These books were adapted by Jean Kellogg, who also adapted several of L. Frank Baum's Queer Visitors From the Marvelous Land of Oz comic pages for the book The Visitors From Oz. This was published in 1964 with Dick Martin illustrations as well.

I was struck by a drawing in Ozma of Oz of the Scarecrow egging the Nome King. It could be coinci- dental, but the overall layout of the illustration really calls to my mind the unused Dale Ulrey drawing for the same scene. I can't help wondering if Dick Martin was familiar with that piece - considering his connections with Reilly & Lee and the Oz enthusiasts of the time, it would be very possible.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Phoebe Tilson

Phoebe Tilson is another Rand McNally title with a W. W. Denslow cover design. This time around Denslow has created a delicate image, very different from some of the bold covers he came up with for this company. The simple drawing of a highchair, locket and closed window with cobweb and geranium plant wraps around the covers and spine of the book.
This is also an example of a cover without Denslow's seahorse logo, which makes me think it's a later printing.

This is also another title with a poster in the collection of the New York Public Library, shown at the right. It makes an interesting comparison since the poster focuses primarily on the figure of a woman, presumably Phoebe, and the book cover gives the impression of a deserted room. It makes a fascinating contrast. It's clearly the same window and geranium! I'll have to read the book to see how both images relate to the story.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fifth of November

A while back I featured a W. W. Denslow cover for a book published by Rand McNally called The Fifth of November. I've recently picked up a second copy of this book. This one is a different binding state, as Denslow's seahorse signature is not on the cover. It can be seen on my first copy, (shown above on the right) on the left of the barrel design. I'm surprised by how many of these books seem to have removed Denslow's logo on later bindings/printings - I don't really understand why they would go to the bother.

This later binding is also of a lighter cloth color than the original. The stamping is in brown rather than a deep purple/red, and a small illustration of the headsman's mask and ax has been deleted from the back cover.

The original poster for this book, which I'm showing on the right, is in the collection of the New York Public Library and can be seen online in their digital collection. It's interesting to compare the differences between the poster and the book cover. The book very successfully combines the main elements of the poster into a single simple image.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Aunt Jane's Nieces - Again

A while back, I showed two variations of the cover of Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work. The first was the original cover which included a shield and blue printing, and the second was a later printing that modified the cover and eliminated those details. I've picked up another variation, this time a possible binder's error. Instead of using the At Work paste-down, the design for Aunt Jane's Nieces in Society has been glued to the cover. There are many unusual variations/mistakes of this sort in Reilly & Britton books, and it's always fun to run across fresh examples. I thought this would be appropriate for April Fool's Day!

According to The Books Collectors Guide to L. Frank Baum and Oz, this copy is a 6th printing and would date from around 1915. Label mix-ups of this sort did happen, and I would imagine they might be more prevalent in late copies of the Aunt Jane books if the publishers were using up whatever stock of labels they had on hand. When the company became Reilly & Lee in 1919, they quickly stopped using any cover labels on these titles.