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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Letter From Baum

As a popular children's author, L. Frank Baum received many letters from his young readers. He refers to the volume of correspondence in many of his book introductions, and declares that the letters supply ideas for his stories.

This letter is a recent acquisition, and a nice example of the effort Baum took to respond to his readers. It was written in 1908, in reply to a letter from Master Sam Cleag Field, of Knoxville, Tennesee. Master Field was about 10 years old at the time, and apparently had sent some drawings to L. Frank Baum. It's too bad Sam's letter and drawings don't still exist - I'd love to see them! In his response, Baum writes:
My dear Sam:

I was very glad to get your nice letter, with the pictures you drew, and to know that you like my books.

I think you are very clever to be able to make all my queer characters, and I wish I could see them all. One little boy sent me a Mifkit he had made, the other day, and it looked just like a Mifkit.

If you think best, I won't end the Tin Woodman and the others, but save them to use in another story.

I shall hope to hear from you again, Sam, for to be able to make things must be nicer than just to think them.

Always your friend
L Frank Baum
The letter is on stationary from the Hotel Del Coronado, where Baum was staying at the time. It's dated April 20th, 1908, which was prior to the publication of Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (issued in June of that year); the first of three Oz books to be written at Coronado.

I like Baum's promise not to "...end the Tin Woodman and the others...". In the introduction to Dorothy and the Wizard, he mentions his regrets that he knows other stories he would like to write - but the children want Oz. Of course, Baum would attempt to leave Oz behind two years later - but his fans would not let him.

The stationary itself is rather fun, with the nautical logo and a place to write in the noon day's temperature. I picked up an example of the hotel's current stationary, but in comparison I think it lacks some of the charm.

1 comment:

Bell-Snickle said...

Ooh, very nice!