Flashback Friday: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 1900
One-hundred, nineteen years ago, today, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz children’s novel was published. It was written by L. Frank Baum, illustrated by W. W. Denslow and published by the George M. Hill company in Chicago, IL. The title was shortened to The Wizard of Oz for the Broadway Musical adaptation in 1902 and the Musical Film adaptation in 1939.
The story chronicles the adventures of a young farm girl named Dorothy in the magical Land of Oz after she and her pet dog Toto are swept away from their Kansas home by a cyclone.
The book is one of the best-known stories in American literature and has been widely translated. The Library of Congress has declared it “America’s greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale.” Its groundbreaking success and the success of the Broadway musical adapted from the novel led Baum to write thirteen additional Oz books that serve as official sequels to the first story.
Baum dedicated the book “to my good friend & comrade, My Wife,” Maud Gage Baum. In January 1901, George M. Hill Company completed printing the first edition, a total of 10,000 copies, which quickly sold out. It sold three million copies by the time it entered the public domain in 1956.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is considered the first American fairy tale because of its references to clear American locations such as Kansas and Omaha. Baum agreed with authors such as Carroll that fantasy literature was important for children, along with numerous illustrations but, he also wanted to create a story that had recognizable American elements in it such as farming and industrialization. Baum did not offer any conclusive proof that he intended his novel to be a political allegory.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has become an established part of multiple cultures, spreading from its early young American readership to becoming known throughout the world. It has been translated or adapted into well over fifty languages, at times being modified in local variations. For instance, in some abridged Indian editions, the Tin Woodman was replaced with a horse. In Russia, a translation by Alexander Melentyevich Volkov produced six books, The Wizard of the Emerald City series, which became progressively distanced from the Baum version, as Ellie and her dog Totoshka travel throughout the Magic Land. More recently, the story has become an American stage production (The Wiz) with an all-black cast, set in the context of modern African-American culture.
Here in North Carolina, we have the Land of Oz at Beech Mountain. I went there in 1973 with my parents and, again, in 2017. ~Vic
10 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 1900”
May 18, 2019 at 1:34 PM
This is fascinating. Didn’t know this.
May 18, 2019 at 7:42 PM
Happy to inform. ❤
May 20, 2019 at 4:18 PM
I’m sure laws were different but I can’t believe it went to public domain then…looks like the family would have done everything to stop it.
May 20, 2019 at 10:34 PM
Picked this up:
“…every book and tale published prior to 1924 is in the public domain…”
May 20, 2019 at 10:44 PM
Thank you…I did not know that. Music has different rules. That kinda sucks for the family
May 21, 2019 at 12:38 AM
Unless they were rewarded handsomely by the Library of Congress?
May 21, 2019 at 9:10 AM
Yes that could be true…but they lose control over it… I bet now people would not be so quick to hand it over though because of the many ways they can be republished.
May 21, 2019 at 12:32 PM
That sort of gets into the conversation about creativity & sharing. Did Baum write his books for the money or did he write a children’s book because he wanted to? Motivation is an interesting thing. What if no one could make money off of creativity? Would it still happen?
I guess we are in the wrong society for those kinds of questions.
May 21, 2019 at 2:48 PM
Oh yes Ideas are money. I’m sure there are people out there…but they usually are already wealthy will try to help. It’s too bad that more people don’t.
Being a musician now is about nothing really. It’s not like it was at one time making money off of everything.
People start because they love it but soon they want paid.
May 21, 2019 at 3:11 PM
Yeah. Heh. You gotta eat.