Ruth Plumly Thompson

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Ruth Plumly Thompson
(1891–1976)

Ruth Plumly Thompson was born on July 27, 1891, but she chopped several years off her age to sound younger to publishers. Ruth had an exceptional flair for telling stories to children, whom she loved very much. She started her writing career with the Philadelphia Public Ledger, where she wrote a children’s page. Ruth took on any writing task that came along and worked endlessly, writing greeting cards, articles, and books.

In 1920—a year after Baum’s death—Oz publishers Reilly & Lee offered Ruth the opportunity to be the second Royal Historian of Oz. Her first Oz book, The Royal Book of Oz, was published in 1921. She went on to write 18 additional Oz books for Reilly & Lee, as well as two Oz books for the International Wizard of Oz Club.

Ruth created more than 320 new characters for Oz—over a hundred more than Baum had. Several of her characters are quite popular, including Kabumpo the Elegant Elephant and Jinnicky the Red Jinn. She brought to Oz magical touches of humor and imagination. Her use of whimsical language and characterization made the Oz books a joy to read for both children and adults.