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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

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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.

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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.