Did You Know That Baum’s Infamous Wizard of Oz Was One of 14?

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How many people know that the infamous L. Frank Baum book The Wizard of Oz was merely the start of a series of adventures that Dorothy took in the Land of Oz? While the movie suggests a pretty firm ending and returning to Kansas was where it finished, there were a whole series of books, with color and black and white templates dating back as early as the late 1800s.

When Baum first wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), he didn’t recognize the importance of the book and continued to publish other works until The Marvelous Land of Oz appeared in 1904.

This was written partly because of the success of the first book and partly to stem yet further financial troubles (Baum had been declared bankrupt in 1903). Launched on a tide of Oz projects, the book was a great success. Baum was at the height of his productive powers and a huge range of books were published between 1904 and the launch of the third Oz book, Ozma of Ozin 1907.

From this point on, Baum, at the request of his publishers, produced one Oz book a year. Each was as popular as the last and although they tended to vary in quality, they were certainly more successful than any of his other works.

There was a total of 14 complete Oz books. Even while he was alive, Baum was styled as “the Royal Historian of Oz” to emphasize the concept that Oz is an actual place. The illusion created was that characters such as Dorothy and Princess Ozma relayed their adventures in Oz to Mr. Baum themselves, by means of wireless. Here’s the list of his books.

In the two years before The Emerald City of Oz, Baum’s financial affairs had become increasingly entangled, and by 1910 the situation was do serious that he assigned all rights to his Bobbs-Merrill books to a group of creditors.

For all the sacrifice this move undoubtedly was (the rights toThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz were not regained by Baum’s widow until 1932), it was of little help, and in 1911 Baum was declared bankrupt. By this time he had moved from Chicago to the small California suburb of Hollywood, where he wrote his next two non-Oz books.

Neither repeated the success of the books that had made his name and so in 1913, because of the bankruptcy and because of the overwhelming number of letters from children asking for ‘more about Dorothy’, Baum published The Patchwork Girl of Oz and became, until his death, the Royal Historian of Oz.

Other great titles include: Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz, The Scarecrow, The Magic of Oz, Glinda of Oz and a rather amusing one called The Tik Tok Man of Oz.

Baum died 9 days before his 63rd birthday in 1919. Fun images of two other titles below:
















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