Lyman Frank Baum Books



Lyman Frank Baum was born on May 15, 1856 in the village of Chittenango, New York, into a devout family of German, Scotch-Irish and English descent. His parents Cynthia Ann (née Stanton) and Benjamin Ward Baum named him Lyman after his uncle, but the boy did not like this name, so he preferred to be called by a middle name – Frank. The father of the future writer, Benjamin Baum, changed many occupations. When Frank was born, he was building a cooper workshop in Chittenango, New York, and just a few years later made a fortune in Pennsylvania from the oil he had just found there. Frank had very little chance of ever living to be three years old. Doctors already in the first year of his life did not hide the truth from his parents: the baby had a congenital heart defect. And only a calm, measured and happy life can save him, preferably not in a big city, but in the countryside. Together with his brothers and sisters (there were nine of them in total, five lived to come of age), Baum grew up in his father`s Rose-Lawn estate in Syracuse, which he remembered with great love all his life. Frank received his education at home – specially hired English teachers studied with him. Baum was a very sickly child and his parents decided he needed discipline. At the age of 12, he was sent to study at the military academy in Peekskill, New York. Baum could not stand drills, and after two terrible years at the academy, he was allowed to return home. Frank went back to the classical grammar school in Syracuse, however, as far as is known, he never graduated. Frank was a dreamy boy and such a book reader that he soon overcame the entire by no means small library of his father. Frank liked Charles Dickens and William Thackeray the most. Dickens was still alive by this time, so all the novelties that came from the pen of the classic were immediately delivered to Frank. Such a passion for his son was a matter of special pride for his father. He told everyone: “My Frank clicks these books like nuts!” The boy began to write at an early age. Frank met his 14th birthday happy: the father came to his son`s room in the morning and brought him a very large gift – it was a typewriter, which was quite a rarity at that time. On the same day, Frank and his younger brother already delighted their parents with the first family newspaper. And then the newspaper, which later grew into the Rose-Lawn Home Journal, began to be published regularly. In addition to the family chronicle, there was also fiction in it – Frank often wrote fairy tales for the younger ones … At the age of 17, the future writer began to publish the already quite adult magazine “Stamp Collector”. Since his second hobby, after books, was philately, the pages of the new edition were devoted to the history of stamps, various auctions, and travel. At 20, Baum developed a new hobby – poultry farming, America`s fashionable hobby at the time. He specialized in the Hamburg breed, bred in Hamburg by crossing chickens, geese and turkeys. In March 1880 he began publishing a magazine on poultry, and in 1886 wrote his first book – “A Brief Guide to Breeding, Raising and Keeping Hamburg Chickens”. Kurami Baum did not stop there – he made and sold fireworks, which were in great demand on Independence Day, and at one time worked as a clerk in his brother`s haberdashery company. Around the same time, Baum became interested in theater, but this hobby brought a lot of trouble. He was invited to the visiting troupe on one condition – the costumes had to be their own. Baum bought the most expensive costumes and wigs, but they went to other actors` chests, and Frank got the roles without words. However, this deception did not break Baum, and some time later he became an actor, as well as the author of melodramas and the owner of several semi-professional theaters that roamed the Midwest and played for farmers, lumberjacks, oil workers – in conditions that hardly resemble theatrical. Once, Baum recalled, Hamlet was played on a hastily constructed stage from planks. The Ghost King took only a few steps and collapsed into the crack. An inexperienced audience, taking this for a spectacular trick, began to demand its repetition and did not calm down until the actor threatened to sue for bruises from multiple falls. In 1881, Frank fell in love with the charming Maud Gage. The somewhat frivolous young man hovering in the clouds did not seem to Maud`s parents to be an exceptionally successful game. The girl said that she would not marry anyone other than Frank. Her mother, Matilda Jocelyn Gage, a famous feminist with a passion for Theosophy, strongly did not want her daughter to leave Cornell University and marry an actor, but Maud did not obey her, and when she became pregnant, Frank left the theater. Thus, on November 9, 1882, twenty-six-year-old Frank and twenty-year-old Maud were married. Soon, Frank, along with his uncle, Adam Baum, founded the Baum Lubricating Oils Company and began to sell the wheel ointment invented by his brother Benjamin, which is still produced in our world not prone to permanence. The carefree years of acting youth were the happiest in Baum`s life. However, marriage and the birth of a son made me think about a more solid occupation. It was then that fate, still indulging him, began to hurt him painfully. Bankruptcy and the death of his father, then a fire that destroyed all the theatrical property at once. I had to start from scratch. Then, following the example of many compatriots, in 1888 the small Baum family went to the West in search of happiness. All of Maud`s sisters and brothers lived in the state of Dakota. At the time, the state was almost completely bare prairie, cut by a newly built railroad. The “city” of Aberdeen numbered about three thousand inhabitants – mostly young, with little means and high hopes, attracted here by rumors of gold and fertile lands. With his last money, Frank opened the first general store “Baum`s Bazaar” in the city, where all sorts of things were sold for cheap – Chinese lanterns, pots, sweets, bicycles. The store was very popular with children: they were attracted not so much by ice cream as by magical stories that the seller told flawlessly and with sincere enthusiasm. He never refused a loan to anyone. The number of debtors grew, and Baum`s modest capital was dwindling. On the eve of the new 1890, the store was closed forever, which did not prevent the bankrupt owner from throwing a party on the occasion of the birth of his second son. A month later, filled with new hopes, he took over as editor of the Dakota Pioneer newspaper. Baum supplied materials to the room almost single-handedly. Given the peculiarities of his character, it is not surprising that the humorous column was the best in the newspaper. By the way, the newspaper flashed such a joke on the topic of the day: “Is there food for the cattle?” – ask the poor fellow farmer. “No,” he replies, “yes, I thought of putting on her green glasses and feeding her with sawdust.” Years later, this “trick” was remembered by the storyteller Baum: The wizard will order everyone entering his city to wear green glasses, transforming any glass into an emerald. The Dakota Pioneer newspaper lasted a little over a year. Grieving over another ruin, the family at the same time rejoiced: a third son was born. In addition to practicing acute social journalism, Baum managed to sing in a quartet and enjoy views of South Dakota, which he later described in the book as views of Kansas. Not finding happiness in the West, the Baums moved back to the East – to booming Chicago. Lack of money and disorder followed. Frank began working as a reporter for the Evening Post and then as a traveling agent for Pitkin & Brooks, a wholesale of china and glassware. At this time, the fourth son was born. In 1897, Baum took up a magazine about window dressing and eventually published a book on the topic, where he justified the use of clothed mannequins and clockwork mechanisms to attract clientele. To devote more time to his four sons, Frank turned to writing. Baum began to write fairy tales; at first they were oral. Frank confessed to Maud that he really didn’t want children to learn life from the “evil tales of the Brothers Grimm”. Baum`s very first fairy tale, later renamed The Story of Mo`s Fairyland and Its Fairy King, was published in 1896 under the title New Wonderland, 30 years after Lewis Carroll`s Alice in Wonderland. The book could not be published for 4 years, and in 1897 Baum published more traditional “Tales of Mother Goose in Prose” – witty variations on the themes of traditional children`s fables, but fame came to him after the publication of the second book – a collection of poems “Father Gusak: His Book” … The collection was illustrated by the artist from Philadelphia, William Wallace Danslow, whom Frank met in 1893 at the World`s Fair in Chicago. Their bold and well-thought-out ideas about what books for children should be like coincided. This collection was praised by Mark Twain, William Dean Howells and Admiral George Dewey. In 1900, no less than five Baum`s fairy tales were published, among which was the most famous – “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. This book brought true fame to the writer. The George M. Hill publishing house was literally inundated with orders, the book went through four editions, the total circulation was ninety thousand copies. In the November 1900 Minneapolis Journal, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was named the best children`s book of the century. Two and a half years in South Dakota helped Baum understand what life on the prairie is – without this knowledge he would never have created the world of Dorothy and the Wizard. Ash, lifeless colors and exhausting rural labor became the negative from which Baum printed the bright, joyful Land of Oz. In South Dakota, which he turned into a book in Kansas, “it was not possible to find a single blade of green, the sun burned the tall grass until it became as ashy as everything around.” In 1893, the World Exhibition was held in Chicago, timed to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus and therefore named “Columbus”. The exhibition has become one of the largest in history. On the swampy shores of Lake Michigan, a fabulous White City was built, consisting of 200 magnificent white buildings, an elevated railroad, moving sidewalks, glowing fountains, a giant swing wheel, an ice mountain, a whole “street of pleasure” with theaters, menageries, bazaars – everything it attracted and bewitched. This city gave both Baum and his future illustrator Denslow a glimpse of the opulence and splendor of the Emerald City in the Land of Oz. The tale of the girl Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, the Wizard and their amazing adventures in some nameless fairyland was born first in Baum`s imagination, then on paper. Baum kept the stub of a pencil that was used to write that first draft as a relic. The name of the country, if you believe the Baum family legend, was born on the evening of May 1898, when, as usual, the neighbour`s children and the owner of the house gathered in the living room, improvising on the go, telling one of his fairy tales. “Where was all this, Mr. Baum?” – asked a child`s voice. “And it was in a country called … – the storyteller`s gaze, running around the room in search of a clue, accidentally fell on an old bureau in the corner with drawers for a home filing cabinet, on the top there were letters A – N, on the bottom O – Z. – … Oz! ” This is how the newborn fairy world got its name. At first, Baum himself did not attach any importance to this event. But the child readers reacted differently: they sent letters, came, came to visit and demanded that the unlucky actor, merchant, journalist and poultry farmer finally take up their own business – they demanded a new tale about the Land of Oz. Baum gave up, although not immediately. The story of the Kansas girl Dorothy, carried away by a tornado to a magical land where talking stuffed animals, animals and even people made of iron live, at first had to be limited to one book. The Magician became a hit, and a year after its publication, Baum, together with composer Paul Titiens, turned the fairy tale into a musical. Titens and Baum were introduced by the artist William Danslow, who illustrated The Wonderful Wizard. Baum met the idea of ​​transferring the plot of the bestselling book to the stage coldly, but the musical, which started in 1902, was successfully shown on Broadway for many years and earned the authors a fortune. Because of this, Baum fell out forever with Danslow, who demanded to divide the profit into three. By the way, the artist bought an island in the Bermuda archipelago with money from the “Magician” and declared it a kingdom, and appointed himself king of Danslow I. The next book by Baum and Danslow, “Dot and Thoth in the Merry Country”, disappointed the reader, and then Frank decided forging while the iron is hot: in 1904 he published the fairy tale “The Wonderful Land of Oz”, which took place in the same world. There is no Dorothy in it, but there are her friends the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, there are also new extraordinary characters: Pumpkinhead Jack, a ridiculous glorious creature, made of poles and pumpkins and revived with the help of magic powder; Goats, thanks to the same powder, turned into a dashing horse; the smug pedant Kupyrkun Beetle and the boy Tip are actually the enchanted princess Ozma, the rightful ruler of Oz. And in 1907, having previously lost his mind with other projects, Baum returned to Oz finally, writing “Ozma from Oz”, and since then he has consistently published a book a year (with a break in 1911-1912). The action in the new book takes place outside of Oz, but also in a fairy kingdom. According to the persistent admonitions of the readers, Dorothy reappears in the narrative, and with her, together with two other characters, who will then pass from fairy tale to fairy tale: the practical, sane chicken Billin and the brazen clockwork man (only sixteen years later the Czech writer Karel Čapek will come up with the word “robot” ) Tik-Tok. In the next two fairy tales – “Dorothy and the Wizard in the Land of Oz” (1908) and “Journey to the Land of Oz” (1909) – Dorothy`s companions in her wanderings around the world of wonders turn out to be the Wizard (she met in the very first book – In the Emerald City, and then flew away to no one knows where) and Shaggy, a beggar tramp from Kansas. Once in the blissful limits of Oz, he and the other decide to stay there forever. By this time, Baum had already begun to get tired of the fairytale “serial” that had been dragging on for years and firmly decided that the sixth tale – “The Emerald City in the Land of Oz” (1910) – would be the last. In it, the reader learns that a wall has been erected around the Land of Oz and henceforth its communication with the outside world is impossible. Having put this, as he believed, point, Baum began to experiment with new fairy tales about the extraordinary adventures of the girl Trot and the old sailor Captain Bill in the depths of the sea and in the skies. But these books – “Sea Fairies” (1911) and “An Island in Heaven” (1912) – the public refused to accept as a substitute for the tales of the Land of Oz. In the end, the author was forced to “add” his new heroes to the court of Princess Ozma and establish a “telegraphic connection” with him, about which he hastened to notify his readers. Baum realized that his destiny was to be the “court historian of Oz”, and in the future he fulfilled his duty punctually: a new tale of Oz became his traditional Christmas present for American children. So there was “Patchwork from the Land of Oz” (1913), “Tik-Tok from the Land of Oz” (1914), “The Scarecrow from the Land of Oz” (1915), “Rikitink in the Land of Oz” (1916), “The Lost Princess of Oz” (1917), The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918), The Magic of Oz (1919) and Glinda of Oz (1920, this book was published after the author`s death). In 1905, after moving to California, Baum revealed in an interview that he had acquired Pedlow Island and wanted to turn it into the Wonderland of Oz amusement park. Such a children`s amusement park, Disneyland, would later be created by Walt Disney. Biographers searched in vain for this island, or at least for evidence that Baum acquired any islands. One way or another, after the failure of the next musical, he left the venture with the park. The passion for the theater slowly but surely ruined Baum – his musicals left the stage almost faster than they appeared. Fleeing bankruptcy, Frank rewrote all of his property, including the library and typewriter, in the name of his wife. In 1914, Frank went into cinema, founded The Oz Film Manufacturing Company, tried to make films for children, but went out of business again. Alas, he no longer had time for new experiments and trials. Health has deteriorated sharply. Baum died on May 6, 1919, at the age of sixty-three. “Now we will cross the Perilous Desert …” – these were his last words. The storyteller set off on his last journey – to the Land of Oz, where there is no old age and death. He certainly deserved the right to citizenship: four, even five decades later, the publishing house “Reilly and Lee”, during Baum`s lifetime, published all of his stories, continued to receive letters from children – an average of four a year – addressed personally to Frank Baum. The biography was compiled by Pavel_7_8.

Rinkitink in Oz

The Lost Princess Of Oz

The Scarecrow of Oz

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz

The Magic of Oz

Ozma of Oz

Glinda of Oz

The Patchwork Girl of Oz

The Road to Oz

The Emerald City of Oz

The Tin Woodman of Oz

The Marvelous Land of Oz

Sam Steele`s Adventures on Land and Sea

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Tik-Tok of Oz