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L. Frank Baum

May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919

Inducted in 2013

Selected Works

Mother Goose in Prose, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish (1891)

Father Goose, His Book (1899)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1902)

The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)

Queen Zixi of Ix (1904)

Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz (1905, comic strip depicting 27 stories)

The Woggle-Bug Book (1905)

Ozma of Oz (1907)

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908)

The Road to Oz (1909)

The Emerald City of Oz (1910)

The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913)

Little Wizard Stories of Oz (1913, collection of 6 short stories)

Tik-Tok of Oz (1914)

The Scarecrow of Oz (1915)

Rinkitink in Oz (1916)

The Lost Princess of Oz (1917)

The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918)

The Magic of Oz (1919, posthumously published)

Glinda of Oz (1920, posthumously published)

I have learned to regard fame as a will-o-the-wisp, which when caught, is not worth the possession; but to please a child is a sweet and lovely thing that warms one’s heart and brings its own reward.

When Baum moved his family to Chicago in 1891, he was a washout as an oil tycoon, shop owner and newspaper publisher. He had dabbled, with limited success, as an actor, newspaper reporter, playwright, salesman and chicken breeder. In Chicago, living with his family on Humboldt Blvd., Baum took work as a reporter, department store window dresser and traveling chinaware salesman. Now in his forties, Baum finally found his calling: in 1897, a Chicago publisher put out his Tales from Mother Goose, and two years later Father Goose: His Book sold 60,000 copies. Then, in 1900, came The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It is probably no coincidence that notes of The White City could be heard throughout The Emerald City, as Baum experienced the radiance of that fantastical creation at the World’s Columbia Exposition shortly after his resettlement in Chicago. Readers loved Dorothy and her strange traveling companions, and Baum followed up his big success with The Marvelous Land of Oz. He would go on to write 14 Oz books in all, and even today, more than a century later, Baum’s characters are among the best loved in all children’s literature. The books were translated (some by Baum) into successful theatrical productions in Chicago, New York and eventually throughout the world. Though Baum’s own film adaptations failed (he bought his own film company, which he sold to Universal), the MGM production in 1939, starring Judy Garland, was a huge commercial and artistic success. The film is cited on several prominent lists as one of the greatest in film history. A statue of the Tin Man pays homage to Baum in Chicago’s Oz Park, and festivals throughout the country, notably in Chittenango Falls, New York and Sedan, Kansas, annually celebrate the author and his books.

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