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

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Denslow Displays

My post last week about Humpty Dumpty reminded me of this W. W. Denslow related piece.

This photo was published in December 1903, in the Current Books section of The Book-Lover magazine. It's a bit of a mystery, as it's not a standard kind of Denslow image. I think it may be a picture of a store display designed for the sales of Denslow's picture book series. It's a charming piece, and a three dimensional sales tool like this would have been very eye-catching!

The idea isn't too farfetched, and it seems as though it could be related to this other display, for Denslow's Mother Goose. The Mother Goose piece had a clockwork mechanism to make the goose raise and lower her head while her beak opened and closed. I've seen the Mother Goose display in person, some years ago, but who knows if Humpty could still survive!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Humpty Dumpty

Easter is just around the corner, and while out shopping the other week I ran across some brown paper mache eggs. Inspiration struck and I decided to make a pair of Humpty Dumptys - one as drawn by W. W. Denslow, and one based on John R. Neill's interpretation.

Denslow drew Humpty Dumpty for a newspaper comic page, which was later published as one of his series of picture books, by G. W. Dillingham. Neill also drew the egg for a newspaper page, an adaptation from Through the Looking Glass, which became one of the Children's Stories That Never Grow Old.

Denslow's egg is quite jolly, due no doubt to the fact that he has been hard boiled and no longer needs to fear being broken. On the other hand, Neill's version seems rather glum, perhaps grown tired of sitting on his wall!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Oz at University

Here's a little Oz oddity; this is a dance card from a party thrown by the Beta Kappa of Alpha Phi, on November 25th of 1939. After a bit of research, I've determined that this took place at Denison College in Granville, Ohio.

It's an elaborate little piece, involving several layers of specialty papers - a clear plastic cover with illustration in green ink, over a gold glitter paper with cutout window, a stiff page with corresponding cutout, green paper embossed in silver, striped glassine with silver stars, a printed programme, all bound up with green satin cord and a tassel. The card was produced by Brochon, a Chicago company that seems to have specialized in such things.
1939 was the year that the MGM film opened, three months earlier in August. It's also the year that Franklin Roosevelt caused a stir by moving Thanksgiving up one week, to allow for a longer shopping period before Christmas. This dance would have been held the weekend after Thanksgiving. The change in the date of the holiday caused many schools, including Denison, to cancel Thanksgiving vacations, so perhaps this helped to soften the blow!

The use of the Oz theme was probably inspired by the new film, although the Oz series was certainly far more familiar at that period than it is today.