Posted on

W W Denslow’s Young Imagination: Fantasy Trade Cards

W W Denslow showed an impressive imagination early in life, as evidenced by these circa 1883 trade cards featuring children with strange creatures. This fantasy set of four includes a boy bursting through a bubble landing on a frog, children riding a peculiar sea creature and a wasp, and a boy battling a giant bee.W W Denslow fantasy trade cards baker and hayes

Two of these cards were known to be by Denslow as they were found in his personal scrapbook, and the other two were more recently discovered. All four advertising cards have been seen with the overlapping B&H mark of Baker & Hayes. Denslow is known to have worked for this Philadelphia firm, and this mark is used on other known Denslow cards, such as those with the child gods Pluto, Folly, Bacchus, Venus, and Minerva. These “strange creature” cards carry advertisements for various businesses on either the front or back.

Discoveries like these are why I so love to collect Denslow. The adventure never ends. His art was diverse and prolific, so there’s always something new and interesting just around the corner. So keep an eye out for that elusive B&H mark! For more info, see pp. 48-50 of the Spring 2015 Baum Bugle.

Click here to visit other interesting Denslow advertising items. You might also want to check out other interesting books and ephemera related to Wizard of Oz and Roycroft under New Listings. And don’t forget the ever-expanding Sale Items!

Posted on

L Frank Baum’s Pseudonyms: Suzanne Metcalf and Annabel

When The Baum is not
The Baum
As if writing scores of books, plays and comics under his own name wasn’t enough, L Frank Baum also wrote books under a number of pseudonyms. These included Floyd Akers (Boy Fortune Hunters series), Edith Van Dyne (Aunt Jane’s Nieces and Mary Louise), Laura Bancroft (Twinkle Tales) and a few others. Find a comprehensive list of these books here.

One of Baum’s lesser known pseudonyms was Suzanne Metcalf. “Metcalf” wrote one book: “Annabel: A Novel for Young Folk.” This 1906 foray into kid’s non-fantasy lit was re-issued in 1912, with the thought of creating a new series and much-needed income for Baum. While the second edition (shown at top right) was more visually attractive than the first (shown at bottom), no sequels were ever published. Both editions are more difficult to find than many of Baum’s other books. (Note the differing spellings of “Suzanne/Susanne” on the front covers.)

Despite its name, Annabel has both a male and female main character and also introduces Mary Louise, a character named after Baum’s favorite sibling.The publisher’s catalog says Annabel “breathes the purest thoughts and impulses of a girl blossoming into womanhood and her gentle influence on the life of a struggling boy”. Well, apparently pure thoughts didn’t sell much better 100 years ago than they do today!

Right now, I have a well-loved 2nd edition in my Wild & Homeless Books category (reading copy).  Also check out other interesting Wizard of Oz and Roycroft items under New Listings. And don’t forget the ever-expanding Sale Items!

Posted on

New Wizard of Oz Book Category: “Wild and Homeless” Books

Oz-Man Tales The Yellow Hen, Ozma and the Little Wizard (sold), Denslow’s ABC Book, and Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz 1st Edition/2nd Printing

New: Wild & Homeless Books

Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.”

This fabulous quote by Virginia Woolf inspired me to create a new category at Wonderful Books of Oz: Wild & Homeless Books. These Oziana items have special qualities, like being early, rare, or having fabulous illustrations, but they have more than the usual faults–their previous owner may have been a wild child! Now they’re priced nicely and are only looking for a good, non-judgmental home. Some examples of the types of books included are shown in the photo.

You can find my Wild & Homeless books here. Some available at the time listed below. Have fun!

Vintage TIN WOODMAN OF OZ Book 12 Color Plates L Frank Baum John R Neill 1923

1927 Reilly & Lee Original LAND OF OZ Coloring Contest Wizard of Oz MAP

DOROTHY and THE WIZARD IN OZ Baum 1st Edn/2nd Print L Frank Baum 1911 Fair

W W Denslow FAIRBANKS HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 1916 Fairy Soap Advertising Booklet

SCALAWAGONS OF Oz w/ Dust Jacket John R Neill Reilly & Lee Wizard of Oz Book

DENSLOW’S A B C Book ABC Dillingham Picture Book 1st Edn 1903 Wizard of Oz ANNABEL Book L Frank Baum (Suzanne Metcalf) 1912 Reading Copy

Wizard of Oz Stageplay Fred Stone “Putting the Scarecrow Together” Original Postcard 1906

DENSLOW’S Scarecrow and the Tin-man Wizard of Oz Illustrator Denslow Book

Sale: OZ-MAN TALES: THE YELLOW HEN L Frank Baum John R Neill Oz Book 1920 Fair

WIZARD OF OZ Redbook’s Picture of the Month MGM Movie Article Sept 1939

OZMA & the LITTLE WIZARD Wizard of Oz Jell-O Jello 1932 L Frank Baum Book

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING 1939 MGM Wizard of Oz Interview Leroy, Fleming, Judy Magazine

Posted on

John R Neill’s Children’s Books

John R Neill’s Children’s Fantasy Books

Some children's books illustrated by John R Neill
Some children’s books illustrated by John R Neill

Between 1908 and about 1930, Oz book publisher Reilly & Britton (later, Relly & Lee) published a series of children’s fantasy tales illustrated by the great John R Neill. (John R Neill replaced W W Denslow as illustrator of the L Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz books in 1904.) The publishers got a lot of mileage out of Neill’s art for these little books!

The first “Children’s Stories that Never Grow Old” series of 24 titles was published in paper covered boards in four different cover designs (two of them shown at the top of the photo). These fragile little books quickly gave way to the “Children’s Red Books”, which included two stories in one book, in both cloth and paper-covered bindings. Andersen’s Fairy Tales, featuring The Ugly Duckling and Rip van Winkle, is shown on the far right. Later versions of the “Children’s Red Books” were even issued in blue cloth before they renamed the series the “Children’s Own Books” in the mid 1920’s! If you’re lucky, these can sometimes be found with the original dust jacket, like Aladdin shown in the middle. The publisher also used Neill’s illustrations in a compendium book called “Children’s Stories that Never Grow Old” in 1908, as well as in the 1910 “Turnover Books“, which featured double cover art, with a different story on each side of the book.

There were other, related titles published as well. For further info on this crazy, collectible series, see Greg Hunter’s article in the Spring 2013 Baum Bugle. You can find more from Wonderful Books of Oz here.

Posted on

The White City or The Emerald City? The 1893 Columbian Exposition and The Wizard of Oz

The 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago was sometimes called “The White City” and is said to have inspired the Emerald City of Oz in the 1899 collaboration between L Frank Baum and W W Denslow. Denslow left San Francisco to document the Chicago fair for local newspapers, and visited it frequently. Baum also moved to Chicago in anticipation of the Expo and certainly visited as well. Indeed, the domes of the White City, shown below, do bear a strong resemblance to components of Denslow’s Emerald City in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Emerald City of Oz White City of 1893 Denslow
The temporary buildings were mostly destroyed after the Expo, and Denslow had vanity photos taken of himself in the ruins. They were published in the Inland Printer in 1895. Thanks to Peter Hanff for the image below of a sporty Denslow lounging. 1893 Chicago Expo White City Denslow Inland Printer 1895

This wasn’t the last connection between W W Denslow and the 1893 Expo. He revisited it almost 20 years later, in one of the scenes in Fairbank’s Juvenile History of the United States, a 1911 advertising booklet for Fairy soap!Fairbank's Juvenile History of the United States Denslow 1893 Expo

Posted on

September Wizard of Oz Book Sales Aid Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Group in South Africa

This Month: A Good Cause

25% of all Wonderful Books of Oz sales thru September 2015 will be donated to the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching unit, South African women who are fighting to save rhinos and other animals from poaching. I won’t ruin your day by detailing how these animals die, but suffice to say it is horrifying–and the acceleration of rhino and elephant killing in just the last five years has been staggering. Who would think in the 21st century that we can’t stop this? Read more about them here.

Dorothy: Your Majesty, if you were king, you wouldn’t be afraid of anything?
Cowardly Lion: Not nobody! Not nohow!
Tin Woodsman: Not even a rhinoceros?
Cowardly Lion: Imposerous!

So, you can not only find a beautiful Wizard of Oz or Roycroft book or collectible this month, but you can help a good cause. Some unusual Denslow trade cards, a couple of Oz 1sts, some later books in dust jacket, and more. And, to sweeten the pot, I’ll send you FREE one of the following Oz Club publications with any order of at least $10: A Best of Baum Bugle magazine, Ruth Plumly Thompson’s Wizard of Way Up or Cheerful Citizens of Oz, or Baum’s Twinkle and Chubbins. Just include which item you’d like in the Notes section of your order or Contact Me. Also, don’t forget to peruse the Sale items.

Posted on

Special W W Denslow Issue of the Baum Bugle!

Artist W W Denslow. Note “Roycroft” carved into the cabinet to his left.

Oct 2015 Update: The Denslow Bugle issue is out; it’s beautiful, and I have a limited number of extra copies available for $15 plus shipping. You can purchase it here.   It is no longer available with Club membership as when I wrote the blog, below.

Are you a member of the International Wizard of Oz Club? I hope so, because if so, you’ll receive the special W. W. Denslow issue of the Baum Bugle magazine due out shortly! Denslow was co-creator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book with L Frank Baum, and he’s my favorite real-life Oz character. So I’m helping Bugle editor Craig Noble create and edit this special issue, on the 100-year anniversary of Denslow’s death in 1915.

While Denslow only illustrated a few of Baum’s books, he was a hugely prolific artist. This special issue will include two articles that I’ve written on Denslow and the Roycrofters (including a Roycroft checklist), and also will describe some newly discovered trade cards drawn by Denslow. Others will write about how Denslow’s artistic style developed, his Billy Bounce comic strip, his postcards, his personal archive, Denslow Island, and more. You’ll even get a peek at Oz Club members who proudly wear Denslow hippocampus tattoos!

To make sure you get this Ozsome issue (which will have some color pages for better display of Den’s art), make sure you join the Oz Club soon, here! It’s only $25 per year and will bring you together with a great group of people who foster Oz education and activities. Plus, you get the Bugle and 20% off books published by the Club.

Are you a Denslow fan already? Some of us would like to sponsor a memorial Denslow stone on the “Appian Way” walkway at the Roycroft campus in East Aurora, New York. If we get enough contributions, we can get a larger stone and have it engraved with his hippocampus symbol! Denslow deserves this recognition at the place where he contributed so much to the success of Roycrofters’ hand-crafted books. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me here.   Photos and description by Wonderful Books of Oz, copyright protected through the DMCA act of 1998.

Posted on

In Memoriam: Artisans of Oz and Roycroft

Denslow Soldier with Green Whiskers
 Soldier with Green Whiskers
Art by W W Denslow

In Memoriam

      Let’s take a moment to thank those artisans who brought us the wonder of Oz and the beauty of Roycroft:

Lotta Faust (d. 1910)
W W Denslow (d. 1915)

Elbert & Alice Hubbard (d. 1915)
L Frank Baum (d. 1919)
John R Neill (d. 1943)

Alexis Fournier (d. 1948)
Jack Snow (d. 1956)
Fred Stone (d. 1959)
Dard Hunter (d. 1966)
Judy Garland (d. 1969)
Ruth Plumly Thompson (d. 1976)
Dick Martin (d. 1990)
Rob Roy MacVeigh (d. 1992)
Eloise McGraw (d. 2000)
Leonid Vladimirsky (d. 2015)
Photos and description by Wonderful Books of Oz, copyright protected through the DMCA act of 1998. Please contact me for permission to use photos or text.
Posted on 1 Comment

Michael Herring Yellow Knight of Oz Original Art for Sale

A friend is selling one of his most cherished pieces from his Wizard of Oz collection to pay Michael Herring Original Wizard of Oz Artmedical bills. It’s a beautiful original painting for The Yellow Knight of Oz book by artist Michael Herring, who created the front covers for the Del Rey Wizard of Oz books. This painting is from 1985 (the book was published in 1986).  The painting depicts Prince Corum and Princess Marygolden, with a castillian-themed castle backdrop. The banister has Oz symbols and Herring has signed “M H” at the base of the stairs.

The canvas measures approximately 24″ wide by 30″ tall, and was framed by Herring himself. Please scroll down for more photos. The painting went from Herring to his agent, and then to the current owner. How often to you have the opportunity to buy original Wizard of Oz art like this? If you would like more information, please contact the owner directly here.

See also this interesting blog post for a comparison of Herring’s and John R Neill’s cover art.

5/3/2015 Photos and description by Wonderful Books of Oz, copyright protected through the DMCA act of 1998. Please contact me for permission to use photos or text.

IMG_7695YellowKnight IMG_7693Yellow Knight of Oz original art Michael Herring