Riddle me this, fellow collectors: What book weighs 60 pounds and has 48 color plates? Give up? Bibliographia Baumiana! OK, so actually it’s just printed on 60-pound stock, but at more than 400 pages this marvelous new book-collector’s guide does have some serious heft. Described by the authors as covering “every known printing of every [Baum] book submitted for publication during his lifetime,” it’s available in hard- and soft-cover editions from the Oz Club; members receive a $10 discount off the list price. You’ll find actual reviews and reports about it in upcoming issues of the Baum Bugle, but I can’t resist the opportunity share my personal enthusiasm in this blog.
We collectors delight in turning up varied editions of Baum’s many different titles, most of which were reprinted over time in multiple editions. Maybe with color plates. Sometimes with strikingly different binding designs. Oh, and dust jackets. Determining which came earlier than another is where this book is invaluable.
Bill Thompson (best known to some of us as the Oz Club’s auctioneer) has contributed bibliographical essays and checklists to The Baum Bugle for years. This book reflects decades of his sleuthing through extensive Baum collections. His co-authors for the new volume are Peter Hanff, one of the Bibliographia Oziana writers, and the late Patrick Maund. They, too, have contributed bibliographic content to the Bugle. Independently and collaborating the three have amassed an impressive body of research — now available with this publication.
If bibliography is a new field to you, you may be thinking, “400 pages? Really?” Consider this; it’s work that consists of studying books in painstaking detail. Books are compared for changes in type — like typesetting and spelling error corrections, as well as things like the numbers of pages sewn together in a gathering, the weight and finish of paper stock — like the “60-pound acid-free” stock used in this publication — and packaging variants. Every minute change is a clue that helps specialized researchers like Thompson, Hanff, and Maund define and distinguish one variation of the book from another, place them in sequence, and conclude which should be the more desirable to collectors.
Thoroughly enjoyable essays introduce each book, too, before the bibliographical details are itemized. So there is plenty of fascinating reading in addition to the identification specific guidelines for serious collectors.
The Oz Club’s publication, Bibliographia Oziana, has been the go-to book for Oz book collectors since it was published in 1976. For forty years book collectors who seek L. Frank Baum’s other books — his non-Oz titles — have anticipated the day The International Wizard of Oz Club would deliver this companion volume. At last, it’s here.
Purchase Bibliographia Baumiana from the Oz Club here.