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

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Under the Ban

It's been a while since I've had a Rand McNally book with a cover by W. W. Denslow to feature. Here's Under the Ban, a South Carolina romance from 1898. I think this is one of Denslow's most streamlined and graphic covers!

This is the third variation of this cover that I'm aware of. It is a later printing of the design - two earlier versions (seen below, courtesy of Cindy Ragni) carry Denslow's hippocampus signature at the bottom of the woman's skirt, and use gold ink on the title, author's name, the woman's hair, and her bow. What appears to be the earliest version also features a blue background at the top of the cover, where the book title appears, and carries the design to the rear cover.

On the copy I'm showing, the seahorse is gone and the author's name is now stamped in white ink, along with the woman's hair and bow. Also, the rear cover is blank. I'm quite surprised by how difficult these titles can be to find, when they clearly went through a number of printings!

As it happens, I've also run across another Denslow cover, this time a paperback. This one is "There Is No Devil", and it features a cover design that could easily double as a poster for the book. This is one of a number of titles published in paperback by Rand McNally that don't seem to exist in hardcover versions with Denslow covers.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Scarecrow Postcard

Here's a souvenir postcard of Fred Stone as the Scarecrow in the 1903 Broadway production of The Wizard of Oz. This is one of a series of photo cards that were produced for the show. This example was posted in July 1906, which would have been after the end of Fred Stone's run as the Scarecrow (his final performance was May 19), but in the midst of the postcard craze.

Picture postcards seem to have begun being used in the 1870s, but the golden era was from the 1890s until the first World War. The sudden drop in popularity was due to the fact that the majority of picture cards sold in America at this time were printed in Germany. Consequently, the war effectively ended the supply of finely printed cards. The reverse side of this example states that it was printed in Germany.

It was illegal to write on the address side of a postcard before March, 1907. This meant that messages had to be written over the decorative side, which can create some very difficult to read cards!