"And remember, my sentimental friend, that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - L. Frank Baum
"Although the career of a literary or professional man seldom exhibits any of those striking incidents that seize upon public feelings and fix attention upon himself, the late Lyman Frank Baum proved an exception to the rule. From maturity until his death his career was one of laborious yet enjoyable and contented literary effort, and the high distinction which he attained was evidence that he possessed genius of an extraordinary quality. There never has been an author of juvenile stories who attained wider popularity among children or who found his way into the hearts and affections of readers of all ages, as did Mr. Baum. For, although his work was almost exclusively dedicated to children, there were many of more mature years among his readers who found keen enjoyment in his delightful whimsicalities, which enabled them to live over again their own happy childhood, while following the adventures of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and his many mythical, amusing and entertaining associates.
"L. Frank Baum was born at Chittenango, New York, May 15, 1856, a son of Benjamin Ward and Cynthia (Stanton) Baum. His father, one of the earliest oil men, owned rich possessions in the Pennsylvania fields, and both John D. Rockefeller and John Archbold were at one time in his employ. Mr. Baum received an academic education at Syracuse, New York, which was later supplemented by instruction from a private English tutor.
"When the "Wizard of Oz Man"(as he was for many years affectionately called) was but twelve years of age, his father presented him with a printing press, upon which, for some time, he indulged his literary tendencies by publishing a paper known as "The Roselawn Home Journal," "Roselawn" being the name of his father's estate near Syracuse. His first public writings were in the line of newspaper work in New York, Pennsylvania and Chicago. From 1888 to 1890 he was owner and editor of the "Saturday Pioneer," at Aberdeen, South Dakota, and from 1897 to 1902 he owned and edited "The Show Window" at Chicago.
"Mr. Baum became a playwright early in life, his "Maid of Arran" having been produced in New York in 1881. In the following year, in the same city, appeared "Matches," which was followed in 1884 by "Kilmorne," produced at Syracuse; in 1885 by "The Queen of Killarney," produced at Rochester; in 1902 by "The Wizard of Oz," produced in Chicago; in 1905 by "The Woggle Bug," produced in Chicago; in 1908 and 1909 by the "The Radio Play" (motion pictures of Baum's Fairy Tales), produced at Chicago and New York, and in 1913 by "The Tik Tok Man of Oz," produced in Los Angeles.
"It was as a writer, however, more than as a playwright, that Mr. Baum is best known. For more than twenty years he wrote children's and other stories for various magazines, including St. Nicholas, Youth's Companion and others. The possessor of a rare whimsical style that was of preeminent appeal to children, during his life he took place in the front rank of writers of juvenile fiction. His first published book was Mother Goose in Prose, which appeared in 1897, and the drawings for this story were the first book illustrations done by Maxfield Parrish. Its success encouraged Mr. Baum to further effort, and the next work to appear from his own pen was By the Candelabria's Glare, a book of poems. This work was compiled while the Baums were living in Chicago. He installed a small printing press in his home, upon which he printed the book entirely without assistance, and each one of a coterie of intimate friends contributed to the manufacture of the book, donating paper, ink, book- ends and even the thread used in binding. Later he wrote another decidedly entertaining volume, Tamawaca Folks, woven around friends surrounding his family at a Michigan summer resort. This was followed by Father Goose—His Book, and then by the most famous of all his works, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
"He married, in Fayettville, New York, November 9, 1882, Maud Gage, whose mother, Matilda Joslyn Gage, wrote considerable woman's suffrage literature and who was a co-worker with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in the editing of The History of Woman's Suffrage. Four sons were born of this union: Frank Joslyn, who served in France as an officer of Heavy Artillery; Robert Stanton, an officer in the Engineer Corps; Harry Neal, a resident of Chicago, and Kenneth Gage of Los Angeles. It was while these sons were still lads that Mr. Baum conceived the idea which lead to the creation of the Oz characters. He had been in the habit of telling stories to his children and those of his neighbors, his favorite tales being fancifully woven around a wonderful cast-iron man, which later became the famous Tin Woodman of Oz. From this start the stories grew and developed, and Mr. Baum occasionally wove in a "scarecrow" or some other odd character as his prolific fancy dictated. These stories eventually came to the ears of his friends, who urged him to place them into connected form and publish them; and thus came into being the famous series of Oz stories.
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz took the country, as represented by its juvenile readers, literally by storm. It was followed in chronological order by A New Wonderland, The Songs of Father Goose, The Army Alphabet, The Navy Alphabet, American Fairy Tales, Dot and Tot of Merryland, The Art of Decorating (a technical work for window trimmers), The Master Key, The Life and Adventures of Santa Clans, The Enchanted Island of Yew, The Magical Monarch of MO, The Marvelous Land of Oz, The Woggle Bug book, Queen Zixi of Ix, Animal Fairy Tales, John Dough and the Cherub, Ozma of Oz, Dorothy and the Wizard, Baum's Fairy Tales, The Road to Oz, The Emerald City of Oz, Baum's Juvenile Speaker, The Sea Fairies, The Daring Twins, Phoebe Daring, Conspirator, Sky Island, Little Wizard Series, Patchwork Girl of Oz, Baum's Snuggle Tales, Tik Tok Man of Oz, Scarecrow of Oz, Rinkitink in Oz, Babes in Birdland, The Lost Princess of Oz, The Tin Woodman of Oz and The Magic of Oz. Upon his death Mr. Baum left some completed manuscripts which his publishers will announce as posthumous works for the future.
"During his career Mr. Baum also wrote under several noms de plume, the "Mary Louise" books, and the "Flying Girl" and "Aunt Jane Nieces" series under the name of "Edith Van Dyne," the "Boy Fortune Hunters" series under the name of "Floyd Aker.s," the "Sam Steele" series under the name of "Captain Hugh Fitzgerald," the "Twinkle Tales" and the "Babes in Birdland" under the name of "Laura Bancroft," and various other books under the name of "Suzanne Metcalf" and "Schuyler Stantbn." He left a book dedicated to each one of his children and grandchildren, while the most popular of all his works, the "Wonderful Wizard of Oz," is dedicated to his wife.
"Having spent many winters in Southern California, about 1909, Mr. Baum decided to live here permanently and built a residence at 1749 Cherokee Avenue, Hollywood, where he made his home. "Ozcot" as it is known, is one of the attractive and unique dwellings in Hollywood, surrounded by a beautiful garden in which Mr. Baum delighted to work. He became known as the amateur king of chrysanthemums of Southern California, his dahlias and chrysanthemums in which he specialized, having taken over twenty silver cups at numerous flower shows. A well stocked aviary and fish pond, both of which Mr. Baum built, and a summer house in which many of the Oz books were written, are also in this enclosed garden.
"While living at Macatawa, on Lake Michigan, he owned a summer home which he named the "Sign of the Goose." For this house he made all the furniture, the brads used in the manufacture thereof being in the form of brass geese. The border trimmings in the rooms were stenciled geese, and a large glass window portrayed an immense goose in colors.
"Mr. Baum was a man who was conversant with many subjects, was appreciative of good music and had a highly developed artistic sense. In politics he never allowed himself to be bound by party ties, but gave his vote to the candidate whom he deemed best suited for the office.
"His social connections included membership in the Los Angeles Athletic Club, and the Uplifters of Los Angeles, the Chicago Athletic Association and the Players Club of New York. After having suffered severely for fifteen months with a serious illness, Mr. Baum quietly passed to his final rest May 6, 1919."
From: Los Angeles: From the Mountains to the Sea by John Steven McGroarty (1921)
"The Woggle Bug": Hungry Tiger Press (amazing vintage items for sale)