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

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Book Fair Time

Once again, it's time for the annual local antiquarian book fair. This year there were a few dealers with Oz items - not as many as some years, which was a bit surprising as children's books are usually well represented at this fair. One of the local antique shows is also being held this same weekend, so it's a double whammy for looking for treasures.

I picked up a copy of Toodles of Treasure Town and her Snow Man, another of the many books styled after the Oz series. This particular title has an interesting Oz connection, as it was written by Frederic Chapin, who wrote the music for L. Frank Baum's 1905 failed extravaganza The Woggle-Bug. Chapin (1873 - 1947) had a later career as a screenwriter in Hollywood.

This book, which I haven't read yet, was published in 1908. Glancing through it, there are a profusion of illustrations, including color plates and color chapter titles, and a lovely set of color endpapers all of which give the feeling of an Oz book. The lively drawings were done by Merle Johnson, and are reminiscent of both W. W. Denslow and John R. Neill. I'm curious to see how the actual story holds up!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ozian Artifacts

Last week, Profiles in History held a Hollywood auction that included a number of MGM Oz artifacts. I just ran across the catalog online, and enjoyed seeing the fantastic things that were offered. Along with keybook photo stills of sets and signed photos of actors, there were several costume pieces, some seen in the film and some not. A partial Winkie costume, the Munchkin Coroner's hat, and Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch hat were among the items. There was also the top of a Winkie spear, and a rehearsal shoe for Judy Garland - basically a ruby slipper without any rubies!

One of my favorite pieces was this pair of emerald gloves, which I've never seen before. Apparently they were used in the deleted Restoration Scene, when Dorothy and friends return to the Emerald City. It's quite the rhinestone work - a good companion to those famous slippers!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Over the years I've run across a variety of things used as bookmarks and left in Oz books. There have been assorted dried flowers and four leaf clovers, as well as popsicle sticks and toothpicks. On the right I'm showing a Christmas tag left in a first edition copy of The Tin Woodman of Oz, presented to Dorothy (how appropriate!) from Florence and Helen.

Advertising bookmarks seem to have been popular. This first one is for Stiefel's Medicinal Soaps, which supposedly possessed healing and antiseptic properties. It was left in a copy of Rinkitink in Oz.

The horseshoe design is from Bunte Brothers, and is very vague as far as what was being sold - other than it being "of superior quality and free from adulteration". This was found in a copy of The Road to Oz.

This third example is of a more recent vintage, for Corklyn Papeteries. I don't think I've run across the word "papeteries" before! I've forgotten where this one came from.

Another fun find was the original receipt from the purchase of a copy of The Silver Princess in Oz, dated May 17, 1938. This was left in the book together with flyers for two other books - not Oz stories.

I think my favorite is this drawing of a witch, found in a copy of The Wizard of Oz. Someone was being creative with triangles!

And of course there is the map of Oz which was laid into Oz books sold in 1920. I've run across a few of these, still in their books!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Road Jackets

Here's a 1920 copy of The Road to Oz in dustjacket. What makes this special for me is the fact that the cover design features a blue background, rather than yellow.

The original Reilly & Britton version of this book only used this lovely cover image on the dustjacket, where it was originally printed with a metallic gold background. The book itself had a stamped cover with a different image. Later R&B printings used this blue background on the jacket.

When the publishers changed to Reilly & Lee, a cover label using the dustjacket art replaced the stamped cover. The earliest R&L copies used a yellow background, but this copy is from the very brief time period (1920) when Reilly & Lee used blue for the background on both the jacket and the cover label, before switching back to yellow for the remaining years.

I've wondered why they would switch back to blue for such a short time period - perhaps they were using up some leftover sheets? I've always preferred the blue to the yellow background.

The Baum family scrapbooks have an example of a printer's proof of this cover with a green background. There is also a blue wash over Dorothy's companions - apparently something that was not pursued in the final product. This rarity was featured on the rear cover of the Autumn 1990 Baum Bugle, and I've always been curious whether the green was a metallic ink, like that which was used in The Emerald City of Oz the following year. If anyone has seen this in person, I'd love to know!

Here's a lineup of the various colors tried and used on The Road to Oz dustjackets. I only have the blue one, and the green one doesn't seem to have been produced to be used, but wouldn't it be fun to have all four colors!