Wonderful original letter by Wizard of Oz author L Frank Baum, glued into the front cover of an early Ozma of Oz book. The letter is on a sheet of Baum’s Ozcot stationary (his Hollywood home), is handwritten by his wife Maud and signed by Frank himself. This is dated January 1919, about 4 months before Baum died and when he was infirm, but still had many letters from his fans, so he dictated to his wife Maud and then signed them. The letter reads: “Dear Alex / Some day I am going to write a book called Polychrome of Oz. So many of my litttle friends have written me asking me to do so. / Sincerely yours” and is signed “L Frank Baum” in his characteristic backslanting script. Alas, Frank died in May 1919 and never had a chance to write this book.
This letter is on stationery seen in other examples of Baum letters of this period, but the external border decorated with Oz books has been trimmed off to make it fit inside the book. The Ozma graphic has been saved and glued below the letter. The book itself is a first edition, fourth printing (ca, 1917, with Reilly & Britton on the spine but with blank endpapers and rear cover) but is in poor condition. The text block is completely separated from the cover, and the gatherings are loose. The back of the spine is split from the rest of the cover, there is a tear to the front free endpaper, and the last page with the advertisements is missing. The text pages are in generally good condition. Restoration is likely warranted, but I leave that decision to the buyer.
Baum’s signature has been carefully compared it to many other known examples and in my professional opinion of 15 years selling Oz material is authentic. In addition, I’ve showed this letter to a pre-eminent Baum scholar and he agrees that the text portion was written by Frank’s wife, Maud. All my books are returnable if you are not happy with it for any reason.
RareOzBooks shows that Sanders Price Guide values a Baum signed letter (not handwritten) at $2947. I can only find a few other examples on Ozcot stationery sold in the last 15 years.