Lyman Frank Baum (bahm or bawm) is best known as the creator of the marvelous land of Oz, a utopian fantasy realm chronicled in a series of children’s books beginning with the publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900. Baum’s Oz series comprises the first fully developed fantasy world created by an American author. In turn, Baum’s works construct a uniquely American version of the standard fairy tale.
Baum was the seventh of nine children born to German immigrants Benjamin and Cynthia Baum. Baum’s father was a Methodist circuit rider, and the family immigrated to the United States to avoid religious persecution. His father was also a cooper and, eventually, found fortune in the oil skimming...
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Baum, Frank Joslyn, and Russell P. MacFall. To Please a Child: A Biography of L. Frank Baum, Royal Historian of Oz. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1961. Cowritten by Baum’s son, this work provides a unique insight into the private histories of Baum and Oz. Perpetuates some of the more mythic aspects of the Baum legend.
Baum, L. Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. This edition of Baum’s most significant work is prefaced with a history of the author as well as cultural and literary analysis of Baum and Oz.
Carpenter, Angelica Shirley, and Jean Shirley. L. Frank Baum: Royal Historian of Oz. Minneapolis, Minn.: Lerner Publications, 1991. A detailed history of Baum’s life and works and their continuing impact.
Gardner, Martin, and Russell B. Nye. The Wizard of Oz and Who He Was. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1957. Gardner and Nye provide a scholarly and literary study of the history and legacy of Baum and his writing.
Harmetz, Alijean. The Making of “The Wizard of Oz.” New York: Knopf, 1977. Harmetz explores the making of the film The Wizard of Oz and how the film turned Oz into an American pop-culture icon.
Rahn, Suzanne. “The Wizard of Oz”: Shaping an Imaginary World. Boston: Twayne, 1998. Rahn examines the development and appeal of Baum’s literary creations.
Rogers, Katherine M. L. Frank Baum: Creator of Oz. New York: St. Martin’s, 2002. A good companion to the Oz series that demonstrates how Baum animated his progressive ideals in the persons of Dorothy and company.