Fred Otto was the Oz Club’s Poet Laureate. He served on the Board of Directors of the Club for 12 years, was an active participant in Ozian research, and contributed regularly to the research tables at the Club conventions, frequently winning the fiction award for his delightful short stories.
He created the first two editions of The Index to The Baum Bugle in 1986 and 1988. Fred embraced this monumental task, recognizing that it would fill a need felt by virtually all Oz researchers.
Fred may be best remembered for his poetic saga The Oziad. In this work, he retold the original Oz books in demanding and complex verse. Never at a loss for a rhyme, he presented each annual Oziad installment with such cleverness that it was always a much-anticipated event. As a tribute to Fred, the Oz Club incorporated this charming tradition in its centennial celebration by giving attendees a prerecorded tape of Fred’s Wizard of Oz portion of The Oziad, read by Patrick Maund, following its live reading at the 2000 event.
After Fred’s death, his good friend James E. Nitch published a collected edition of Fred’s verse, entitling the book The Oziads. Produced by Patrick Maund, the volume was graced with many illustrations by Rob Roy MacVeigh. When Jim died, his widow, Dorothy, established an endowment for the Oz Club to support the Fred Otto Fiction Awards, now given at each of the Club’s major summer conventions.