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

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Golden Variant

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz seems to have gone through more variations in appearance than most of the other Oz books.  I think the most interesting change occurred in the mid 1920's, when some copies of the book were once again bound with a golden label. The copy I'm showing has a Christmas inscription to Winston Powers, reading "Friday, December 25 1925 - from Daddy and Mother". I always enjoy seeing vintage gift inscriptions!

The book was originally published by Reilly & Britton in 1908, with a lavish metallic gold background on the cover label, and a silver vignette of the Tin Woodman on the spine. The silver was the first thing to go, and within a few years, the gold on the label was replaced with a plain yellow background. The stamping of the publisher's name on the spine varies throughout the printing history. Eventually, after the publisher's name changed to Reilly & Lee, the figure of Dorothy was replaced by the words "Popular Edition" which were later dropped from the label leaving the Wizard on his own. Different vignettes are found on the spine, a special slightly smaller format was published for Sears, and finally new cover designs were developed. Below, I show a few of the many variations - there are more!

By the mid 1920's, it wasn't likely that Reilly & Lee would suddenly revive printing the more costly and elaborate label. It seems likely to me that someone simply turned up a supply of the original labels at the bindery and decided to make use of them!


Anonymous said...

And because pagination issues some editions have illustrations from THE LOST KING OF OZ and THE GNOME KING OF OZ included.

Bill Campbell said...

Yes! I think that's usually seen in the copies that are marked Popular Edition on the cover - the color plates were replaced with completely irrelevant illustrations from those later books!

Paul Bienvenue said...

Hi Bill,
Does the verso of the ownership page have any advertisements for the Oz books? I had always pegged this variant as post-1926 because there is another printing listing titles through Hungry Tiger, then copies were issued without ads. But if your copy has no ads, that 1925 inscription would mean that there were ad-less copies issued BEFORE the Hungry Tiger ad was included!

Bill Campbell said...

Interesting - no, there are no ads on the verso of the ownership page. Have the copies that you've seen all been bound in the same drab green cloth?

Paul Bienvenue said...

Yes. I've only seen a few personally, including my own copy, but they were all bound in the same cloth. This is a very surprising development. Conventional wisdom has always held that the Baum R&L color reprints were issued with successively updated advertisements in the front matter on a semi-regular basis, generally (though not for every title) Glinda (1920), then Kabaumpo (1922) OR Cowardly Lion (1923), and lastly Hungry Tiger (1926). Subsequent printings were then believed to have no ads. Your copy turns this theory on its head!

Bill Campbell said...

Just when you think you have something figured out...!