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

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Cowgirls in Oz?

In my ongoing quest to view costume designs by Caroline Siedle, I recently contacted the Museum of the City of New York. It turns out that they have 63 examples of Siedle's work in their collection, including one piece from The Wizard of Oz.

This is an unexpected design - but it does appear to be captioned Wizard of Oz at the bottom of the drawing, and it was intended for the show. One of the many interpolated numbers in the production was Sitting Bull, sung by Fred Stone as the Scarecrow during the Ball of All Nations. This song was added to the show in 1905 and, according to Oz Before the Rainbow, was performed with a chorus of "cowgirls, Mexicans and squaws". This must have been for that number. 

This photo is not of the best quality, and I haven't viewed this piece in person to know whether there are further notations on the back of the drawing. 

Many of Siedle's designs bear the stamp of the Metropolitan Opera. This isn't because they were designed for the opera, I believe it's simply where they came to be kept after her untimely death in 1907. Her husband Edward Siedle was prop master for the Metropolitan Opera, so it seems logical that the drawings would end up stored there.

Sunday, July 1, 2018


An adage for collecting is to buy the best you are able - in other words, it's better to pass by damaged and lesser items in favor of something better. But, there are times when a damaged book can be a bargain worth picking up and having restored.
This is a first edition, first state copy of The Marvelous Land of Oz. The key identification point for a first state of this title is the absence of the words "Published July 1904" on the copyright page. First states of this book are hard to come by, and are priced accordingly. 

In this case, I ran across an inexpensive damaged copy at auction - the text block was separated from the covers, there was a tear across the spine and the spine was torn from the rear cover. In spite of the condition issues, all the elements were present and it looked like a good candidate for restoration.

A feature of early printings of this book was the endpaper drawing which included a photo of Fred Stone and David Montgomery, in their respective roles as the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman in the stage version of The Wizard of Oz. This image came from a publicity photo of the two characters sitting on a wall; with some minor adjustments, the two were driving a pony cart in Oz!

The end result proved worth the cost. The work was done by Sophia Bogle of Save Your Books, in Portland, Oregon.