Here is a very unusual Denslow item: the Montgomery Ward & Co. 1899 Almanac and Yearbook. This item has a beautiful color cover by Wizard of Oz artist W W Denslow in blue and yellow. The scene of a framer coming home with his team has classic Denslow elements of a moon in the background and a repeating pattern of corn in the foreground. It is signed with his trademark hippocampus (seahorse) near the lower left corner. This rare Denslow item was discussed in the 1976 Greene/Hearn biography:
“…his account book lists sketches and a cover design for a “Farmer’s Almanac” to be published by Montgomery Ward, 1899. He copyrighted the title, and The Inland Printer, December, 1900, prints Denslow’s picture of how he compiled matter for his almanac, but the almanac itself has not been seen.” Since 1992, it has been seen a few times, but still scarce.
In addition to the wonderful cover design, there are at least 9 black and white line drawings inside that are signed either Den or with the seahorse. There are about as many additional drawings that look to be an identical style, but are unsigned (possibly the signature was cropped out at the margins?). Finally, there is an elaborate filigree design with characters at the top of each month that may also have been drawn by Denslow–some of the children look a little like his Dorothy, but I am not sure. Regardless, a treasure trove of Denslow art!
Condition is good; a little chipping at lower cover, some loss of paper at spine ends, a few small edge tears, other small flaws. Complete and with binding still intact. A similar one from 1898 in lesser condition sold at PBA for $200 in Feb 2015. http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/33986032_rare-montgomery-ward-almanac-ww-denslow-illus . A wonderful item for the serious Denslow collector or historian.