Here’s one of the rarest L Frank Baum books, The Army Alphabet, published by George M. Hill in 1900. A departure from Baum’s normal children’s books, this book has a page for each letter of the alphabet with associated Navy scene on 26 of them. Gorgeous illustrations by Harry Kennedy, lettering by Charles Costello. Oversized, 10.375″ by 12.5″, with original maroon-colored spine. First and only printing by Hill, with copyright notice on a separate leaf. According to the Christmas 1972 Baum Bugle, these books “are so fragile that today copies are very scarce.” The Book Collector’s Guide to Baum agrees that these books “are especially prone to damage” and “hard for collectors to find, especially in decent condition.” Issued in response to American patriotism after the Spanish-American war and to coincide with Chicago’s hosting of the 34th Annual Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1900.
Now, about condition, which is quite nice, all things considered. The cover has light edge and substantial corner wear, but the paper graphic itself is still lovely, with one crease near the top. The original blue spine cloth is intact. Inside, the hinges and binding are intact, and the pages are in very good condition. Occasional light finger soiling, but not writing, tears, or odor! Title page, copyright page, all alphabet pages, and Costello lettering page are present and look great–the color illustrations are still quite vivid and fantastic! Photos and description by Wonderful Books of Oz, copyright protected through the DMCA act of 1998.