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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!

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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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W W Denslow Special Issue of the Baum Bugle is Coming!

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

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 in June! 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 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 are planning 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.

Don’t forget to check out Wonderful Books of Oz’ New Listings. Also, peruse the Sale items–more markdowns this month! 4/28/15

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.