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Celebrating the New Century of Oz

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History of Oz Footnotes


[1] On June 18 a subscriber wrote: "Messrs. Baum Bros. Gentlemen, The first number of the Rose Lawn Home Journal, to which I subscribed, has just been received. Permit me to say that for persons your age, the enterprise reflects great credit upon you; and when we consider that the New York Herald was first published upon a sheet no larger than yours, and has now the largest circulation of any paper in the United States ... Your Friend, G.B.Gillespie."

[2] Baum's Aunt Josephine Baum introduced him to Maud Gage, a student at Cornell, during a Christmas Party at the home of Frank's sister, Harriet Neal. Family legend recalls Josephine introduced them saying, "This is my nephew, Frank. Frank, I want you to know Maud Gage. I'm sure you will love her." "Consider yourself loved, Miss Gage," was Frank's reply. "Thank you, Mr. Baum," said Maud, "That's a promise. Please see that you live up to it."

[3] A man who advertised extensively in Western papers once wrote to Baum asking why his rates were higher than those of other papers, the circulation, and where his papers were sent. Baum replied that the circulation had been about 3,500, then it was 3,000, then 2,000 and at that time it was about 1,400. The papers, he said, were sent to different parts of the West, some to the East and one abroad, and it was only by the hardest efforts that he prevented the whole lot from going to hell. The advertiser was so taken with the reply that he renewed the contract.

[4] In a copy of the book inscribed to his sister, Mary Louise, Baum writes: "When I was young I longed to write a great novel that should win me fame. Now that I am getting old my first book is written to amuse children. For, aside from my evident inability to do anything 'great,' 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. I hope my book will succeed in that way - that the children will like it."

[5] His work in this field will be cited in Land of Desire (1993) as a foundational influence in the American advertising industry.

[6] W.W.Denslow's wife sends a copy of Father Goose: His Book to an old family friend, author Mark Twain. He responds, "Father Goose has a double chance of succeeding: parents will buy him ostensibly for the nursery so that they may privately smuggle him out and enjoy him themselves."

[7] According to family legend, Baum discovers "Oz" as the name for his American fairyland when he spots his bottom file drawer - labeled "O-Z" - while telling stories to his sons and their neighborhood friends. The first printed account of this tale is found in the New York Mirror (1/27/04). Maud, however, denied the story in a 1939 interview for The Syracuse Herald.

[8] In order for his central character to be more fashionable, Dorothy is now blonde. Apparently for contrast, Ozma, who had "ruddy gold tresses" in The Marvelous Land of Oz, is suddenly brunette.

 


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