Plane time is great time for blogging. Particularly when you’re off on an Oz adventure and haven’t even blogged about the last one yet. That trip took me to the homes of Oz friends in the Chicago/Wisconsin area as two opportunities turned into four, then six.
Day One: The Oz collection of Charles Van Wissink (we called him Woot) was auctioned in Addison, Illinois, in July. I won three lots, including his archive of Oz Club related material. When I was notified my 63 pounds of boxes (!) would come with a $248 shipping bill, my friend Steve Smith offered to pick them up on his lunch hour, instead. He’d store them until I had reason to drive his way. Steve’s illustrating a story I wrote, and I’m always happy to see him and his wife Kris. I started looking at my calendar and a month later I headed north.
At Smiths’, Steve led me on an exploration of his extensive, diverse collections and art before we started sorting my five Oz cartons. The books were as I’d expected. I was happy to find a few early Bugles for my personal collection in Woot’s archive as well as many duplicate copies I know will quickly find homes in the hands of friends. (I already sent a box of early issues off to our current Bugle editor Sarah Crotzer.) He had a few signed books from the 60s and 70s, and a pile of organized correspondence — including 1979 letters to and from me!
Tucked inside books were clipping and ephemera. An invitation to the gallery exhibit of Michael Herrings paintings was inside a Del Ray, for instance. There was a whole press kit of Del Ray material, including a folded poster I don’t think I’d ever seen, and advertising fliers for the Reilly and Lee “white” editions. I was amused by books he had signed via correspondence.
The most exciting bit for me was the discovery of the 1927 coloring contest Oz map. I didn’t have one and wanted to include it in the Club’s 2020 calendar that I’m currently putting together. I briefly despaired over a missing corner, then Steve discovered it in the bottom of the box. So, big score!
There were reference books and reading reprints I already have boxed up to ship to the All Things Oz library or to give away to kids in Wamego next month. It was just treasure.
Steve and I caught up as friends do. He gave me copies of his recent projects, and I picked his brain on a few publishing topics (his profession). He even offered to help the Club with fundraising for the East Aurora convention next summer. My trip was off to a terrific start.