1900-1910: The Baum Oz Years

1900

  • Jan. 18 – Baum and Denslow apply for joint copyright on a manuscript they tentatively call The Land of Oz.
  • Jan. 20 – Baum’s oversized picture book, The Army Alphabet, is registered for copyright. It is published Sept. 1 by George M. Hill, Chicago, with illustrations by Harry Kennedy and lettering by Charles J. Costello.
  • Jan. 21 – Denslow illustrates a comic page for the New YorkWorld. “Father Goose Shows the Children How to Run a Double-Runner — The Awful Result” appears without Baum’s knowledge.
  • Jan. – Baum’s short story “The Loveridge Burglary” appears in Short Stories.
  • Jan. – Baum’s article “The Real ‘Mr. Dooley,’” with illustrations by W.W. Denslow and Ike Morgan, is published in The Home Magazine.
  • Mar. 30 – Baum’s The Songs of Father Goose For the Home, School and Nursery – again illustrated by Denslow – with music by Alberta N. Hall is granted copyright. About 16,000 copies are published by George M. Hill, Chicago. Many of these musical versions of the Father Goose: His Book rhymes are printed as supplements to newspapers in metropolitan areas. A later reprint will use Hall’s married name, Burton.
  • May 15 – Baum’s renamed fairy tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is scheduled for publication by George M. Hill, Chicago, and printing begins. It includes more than 100 colored illustrations and 24 color plates by Denslow. Selling for $1.50, it becomes the best-selling children’s book of 1900. The author and illustrator receive equal royalties.
  • May 17 – The first copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is hand-assembled by Baum as it comes off the presses and is presented to his sister Mary Louise. Its pages are sewn together, but it is not bound.
  • June 16 – Baum’s fairy tale A New Wonderland is granted copyright and is published by R.H. Russell, New York, with illustrations by Frank Ver Beck. The manuscript had been called Adventures in Phunniland (1896), and the book will be published with still another title, The Magical Monarch of Mo, in 1903.
  • Baum circulates advance copies of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to his relatives and closest friends.
  • June – Neill works for The Evening Journal in Philadelphia.
  • July 5-20 – The public has its first look at The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at a book fair held in the Palmer House Hotel, Chicago.
  • July 22 – Denslow, again without Baum’s involvement, illustrates a Father Goose comic page of the New York World. “Father Goose at the Seashore” includes verse by Paul West, editor of the Sunday comic supplement.
  • Aug. 1 – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is registered for copyright. Distribution follows in September. Baum saves 202 reviews, of which 200 are favorable. Comments include:
    – “[Baum’s book] is quite as fantastic as the old favorites, and wittier and more wholesome;”
    – “… the pages fairly dazzle. It is something to write a story, but it is even more to catch the spirit of another’s story, and this Mr. Denslow has done;”
    – “It will indeed be strange if there be a normal child who will not enjoy the story.”
  • Aug. 1 – Baum’s oversized picture book The Navy Alphabet is registered for copyright and then, on Sept. 1, is published by George M. Hill, Chicago, with illustrations by Harry Kennedy.
  • Aug. 26 – Baum’s poem “To the Grand Army of the Republic, August 1900” is published in the Chicago Times Herald.
  • Oct. 15 – Mervyn LeRoy is born in San Francisco.  As a producer, he will bring The Wizard of Oz to the screen in 1939.
  • Dec. 6 – Agnes Moorehead is born in Clinton, Mass. As an actress, she will star as Mombi in Shirley Temple’s Storybook Land of Oz (1960).
  • Baum begins to receive mail from his young fans. For the rest of his life he will respond personally to letters such as this one, which reads: “I am going to write you a letter. You wrote a nice book. It’s called The Wizard of Oz. I couldn’t write a book like that. I think I love you.”
  • Christmas – Charged by Maud to request his first check in order to have spending money for the holiday season, Baum asks Hill for his first royalty payment on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The $3,432.64 total is a fortune by the day’s standards.
  • Dec. 12 – The Library of Congress receives its copies of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • The Art of Decorating Dry Goods Windows and Interiors is published in three volumes by the Show Window Publishing Co., Chicago. It contains material previously printed in Baum’s Show Window magazine.

1901

  • Jan. – George M. Hill prints the final copies of the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Denslow’s year-end royalty records indicate that 21,000 copies have been sold. Contrary to publicity, which claimed 90,000 copies had been distributed, Hill probably printed fewer than 35,000.
  • Feb. – Baum’s short story “The Bad Man” is published in The Home Magazine (of New York) with illustrations by Fanny Cory.
  • Feb. 23 – Baum’s American Fairy Tales, a collection of short stories for children, is submitted for copyright.
  • Feb. 28 – Songwriter Paul Tietjens notes in his diary that he would like to work with Baum and Denslow on a musical. “Baum would be just the man to write the libretto and Denslow could design the costumes. I will stick to this idea.”
  • Mar. 3 – Baum’s American Fairy Tales are serialized in newspapers.
  • Mar. 3 – Baum’s short story, “A Strange Tale of Nursery Folk,” is published in the ChicagoTimes Herald.
  • Mar. 7 – Tietjens approaches Baum with the idea of developing a musical together. Baum soon responds by writing a plot for a comic opera called The Octopus.
  • Mar. 26 – Neill starts work at the North American in Philadelphia.
  • April – Denslow suffers a breakdown and is treated at the Alma Sanitarium in Alma, Mich., for several weeks. His marriage also suffers, and he and Ann soon separate.
  • Denslow meets and falls in love with Frances Golsen Doolittle.
  • May 1 – Baum’s stage play, The Octopus, fails to win financial backing. It is never sold. The book and lyrics are written by Baum and the music by Tietjens. Denslow, who had promoted the show and designed the costumes, was to have received one-third of the royalties.
  • May 19 – The newspaper serializations of Baum’s American Fairy Tales end.
  • May 27 – Baum has ten teeth pulled.
  • June – Illustrator Ike Morgan marries. At the wedding party, Tietjens plays Denslow songs that he has written for a stage version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • July – Tietjens spends two weeks with the Baums at Macatawa Island, Mich.
  • Sept. 18 – Baum writes a five-act stage version of The Wizard of Oz with lyrics to several songs. Tietjens writes the music.
  • Sept. 21 – Baum, Tietjens, and Denslow contract with one another to produce The Wizard of Oz as a stage musical.
  • Oct. – Baum’s Dot and Tot of Merryland is published by George M. Hill, Chicago, with illustrations by Denslow. This new children’s fairy tale is not as commercially successful as Oz.
  • Oct. 19 – Baum’s American Fairy Tales are published in a single volume by George M. Hill, Chicago, with illustrations by Ike Morgan, Harry Kennedy, N. P. Hall, and Ralph Fletcher Seymour (who provides the cover illustration).
  • Denslow’s Mother Goose is published by McClure, Phillips and Company, New York. This is often referred to as Denslow’s best work. More than 40,000 copies sell. Frank Goudy, later a distinguished type-designer, hand-letters the book for $2 per page. His lettering style is copied by the Inland Type Foundry of St. Louis and introduced to the public as a new type font, “Hearst.”
  • Paul Ford Weaver is born in Baltimore, Md. As an actor, he will voice the character of Uncle Henry in Journey Back to Oz (1971).
  • Nov. 11 – Denslow illustrates a weekly, syndicated comic page, Billy Bounce. The character becomes popular and soon appears on promotional merchandise such as banks, cigars, and other novelties. Denslow draws the strip through August 1902. Another illustrator, C. W. Kahles, then picks up the task and continues the series until about 1906.
  • Nov. 29 – Mildred Harris born in Cheyenne, Wy. As a young actress, she will appear as Fluff in The Magic Cloak of Oz and as Button Bright in His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz (1914).  
  • Baum’s The Master Key: An Electrical Fairy Tale is published by Bowen-Merrill Co., Indianapolis, Ind., with illustrations by Fanny Y. Cory. He dedicates the book to his son Robert Stanton Baum, who, like the book’s hero, Robert Joslyn, is fascinated by electricity.
  • Two Baum short stories, c. 1901, “The King Who Changed the World” and “The Runaway Shadows” (a.k.a. “A Trick of Jack Frost’s”), are printed in newspapers. Clippings from the period provide no further detail.
  • Baum works on a stage treatment and lyrics for King Midas, a comic opera, with music by Tietjens. It is never produced and may not have been completed.

1902

  • Mar. 29 – Baum’s short story, “An Easter Egg,” is published in The Sunny South, Atlanta, Ga. An expanded version of the same story called “The Strange Adventure of an Egg” is published Mar. 30 in the Chicago Daily Tribune.
  • Feb. 5 – Baum and Fred Hamlin agree to produce The Wizard of Oz for the stage.
  • Feb. – George M. Hill Company goes bankrupt.
  • Apr. 12 – Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is submitted for copyright and is published by Bowen-Merrill Co., Indianapolis, Ind. Mary Cowles Clarke illustrates this new children’s fantasy. In it, the infant Santa Claus is saved by a woodman and reared by a wood-nymph. He makes the first toy in the world, then more. He gets permission to borrow up to ten deer once a year, to speed his journey. As he gets old, the Immortals of the world vote to give him Immortality.
  • May – George W. Ogilvie & Co. buy the assets and good will of the bankrupt George M. Hill Company.
  • Spring – Baum resigns as editor of The Show Window.

June – Ogilvie sells the Geo. M. Hill Co. material to the Hill Bindery Co., of which George M. Hill is manager.

  • June 16 – The Wizard of Oz opens on stage at the Grand Opera House in Chicago starring Fred Stone as the Scarecrow and Dave Montgomery as the Tin Woodman. Baum is called to the stage repeatedly by a cheering audience that sits and applauds till after midnight. He makes a gracious speech, crediting the success of the production to its many talented contributors.Within weeks Montgomery and Stone are the best-known comic team in America. The roles of Dorothy (Anna Laughlin) and the Cowardly Lion (Arthur Hill) are secondary to those of the vaudeville pair.

    The Wizard of Oz is directed for the stage by Julian Mitchell, who had written Montgomery and Stone to return from England for the parts. Mitchell originally cast Montgomery as Sir Wiley Gyle. He said the Tin Woodman’s part had to be played by a tenor and be a love interest. The two partners, however, insisted that Montgomery play the Tin Woodman. Mitchell invents several additional characters. Baum uses one of them, Pastoria II, a former King of Oz, in later books.

    Significant plot changes from the book include cutting the Wicked Witch of the West from the story entirely, and turning Dorothy’s dog Toto into Imogene the Cow—played by Fred Stone’s brother, Edwin. The rescue of Dorothy and her friends from the deadly poppy field is accomplished by a snowfall ordered by the Good Witch Locasta. This production is based on a much-revised version of the Sept. 18, 1901, script, which had been more faithful to the book.

    At least 10 pieces of sheet music are published that combine Baum lyrics with Tietjens music: “Poppy Song,” “When We Get What’s A ‘Comin’ to Us,” “The Traveler and the Pie,” “ The Scarecrow,” “The Guardian of the Gate,” “Love is Love,” “Just a Simple Girl from the Prairie,” and “When You Love, Love, Love.” Nathaniel D. Mann provides music for at least two other titles that offer Baum lyrics, “It Happens Everyday” and “The Different Ways of Making Love.” Two songs used in the plan originally had been written for the unproduced Baum play The Octopus (1901).

    Fred Stone’s memories of opening night are recorded in his biography, Rolling Stone (1945):
    “. . . they carried me on the stage too soon, and I hung motionless, my weight balanced on the side of one ankle, for eighteen minutes. . . I was hung on a stile by two nails, one in one sleeve of my costume and one in the elbow, with my whole body thrown off balance. . . . First one arm, then a foot, went to sleep. It seemed to me that I simply had to move, but I held on like grim death, with the sweat pouring down my face and into my eyes. The part of the little Kansas girl, Dorothy, was played by Anna Laughlin, who had a good number just before she was to release me, and that night there was one encore after another. When she finally came for me, I was so numb I just hung on to her for support. Fortunately the audience, taken by surprise at having me come to life, burst into prolonged applause, which gave me a chance to limber up before I had to dance.”

  • Aug. 3 – Tired of illustrating the Billy Bounce comic strip which he began in November of 1901, Denslow turns it over to Charles W. Kahles.
  • Sept. – Bowen-Merrill Company of Chicago buys the printing plates for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from Baum and Denslow.
  • Sept. – Baum and composer Nathaniel D. Mann copyright a comic opera in two parts, King Jonah XIII.

 

  • Oct. 7 – Neill marries Elsie G. Barrows in Philadelphia.
  • The Denslows reconcile and spend the winter at the Hotel Inverurie in West Bermuda.
  • Dec. 9 – Margaret Hamilton is born in Cleveland, Ohio. As an actress, she will star as the Wicked Witch of the West in MGM’s classic film The Wizard of Oz (1939).
  • Baum buys a summer cottage in Macatawa, Mich., with profits from Father Goose that he names the “Sign of the Goose.” Following an attack of facial paralysis, Baum’s doctor recommends he take a break from writing and do some manual labor. So, Baum builds oak furniture by hand and trims the pieces with brass finish nails with heads that depict a flying goose. He goes on to decorate the entire cottage with a goose theme: a frieze of geese is stenciled on the walls; a goose image dominates a stained glass window; a front porch rocking chair is painted with geese on either side. Other pieces of furniture, including a custom-made grandfather clock, are decorated with characters from the book.
  • The Baums also relocate in Chicago, moving from 1667 Humboldt Ave. to 3726 Forest Ave.
  • Denslow’s Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore is published by G. W. Dillingham Co., New York. The successful title earns him $3,000. In addition to the illustrations, Denslow hand-letters the text himself.
  • Pictures from the Wizard of Oz (stage play) is published by George W. Ogilvie Co., Chicago, with text by Thomas H. Russell.

1903

  • Jan. 21 – The Wizard of Oz musical opens at New York City’s Majestic Theater on Columbus Circle and becomes the greatest Broadway success of its time. Reviews are mixed, but it is an instant favorite with audiences. At 293 performances, it becomes the longest-lasting show of the decade. Seven traveling road companies keep The Wizard of Oz on the road for years.The entire production company socializes together. When the men in the cast form their own baseball team, Stone begins recommending new performers and stagehands based on their skill at the game. For at least one game—an entertaining celebrity fund-raiser—Stone plays in his Scarecrow costume with a birdcage on his head. Though Montgomery spends his summers in Europe, Stone stays with the show continually.
  • Feb. 2 – “The Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz” song sheet appears as a Sunday newspaper supplement.
  • Feb. 23 – Baum and Denslow contract with Bowen-Merrill for the exclusive book-publishing rights to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • April 12 – A Baum short story, “The Ryl of the Lilies,” appears in newspapers. Clippings from the period do not include other identifying information.
  • Apr. 15 – The first Oz novelties—brass jewel boxes with tiny Cowardly Lions mounted on the lids—are presented to ladies in the audience at the 100th performance of The Wizard of Oz musical.
  • May 1 – The Baum family moves to an apartment at 5243 South Michigan, Chicago.
  • July – Baum tries to place a play in New York or London without success. It is called Search for Montague, and is based on Madre d’Oro, an Aztec Play (1889) by Emerson Hough.
  • July 4 – Baum writes the treatment and lyrics for a stage version of Father Goose (1899). Tietjens writes the music. The show is never completed.
  • July 11 – Metal folding-cup souvenirs mark the 200th performance of The Wizard of Oz on stage.
  • Publisher Bowen-Merrill, which currently has rights to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, becomes Bobbs-Merrill.
  • July 15 – Bobbs-Merrill reprints The Wizard of Oz. The word “wonderful” is dropped from the title, due, at least in part, to the success of the Broadway production that is known by the shorter name.
  • Aug. 3 – G.W. Dillingham Co., New York, publishes twelve Denslow picture books and commissions him to do an additional six for the following year. Each volume is an adapted nursery rhyme that Denslow expurgates of violence, bloodshed, or other concepts he considers offensive to children. In one, Denslow’s Five Little Pigs, Baum is characterized as a policeman.
  • Aug. 14 – Newspapers report that Denslow saves a 17-year-old girl from drowning in the canal in MadisonSquareGarden. (Note: The actual date of the event is unclear, but papers report the incident Aug. 14.)
  • Baum writes a play prospectus with Edith Ogden Harrison, wife of Chicago mayor Carter H. Harrison, based on her book Prince Silverwings (1902). Several Baum characters and plot lines are incorporated, and Tietjens writes the music. One song, “Down Among the Marshes; the Alligator Song,” is published by M. Witmark & Sons (1903). When a historic fire destroys the Iroquois Theater during a Dec. 30 matinee, claiming more than 570 lives, all Chicago theaters are closed and the play is never produced.
  • Sept. 1 – Russell P. MacFall is born in Indianapolis, Ind. With Frank J. Baum, he will co-author the first biography of L. Frank Baum, To Please a Child (1961).
  • Sept. 17 – Denslow’s wife of seven years, Ann Waters Holden Denslow, is granted a divorce. In less than a month she marries a young artist, their friend Lawrence Mazzanovich, and leaves with him for Paris.
  • Oct. 30 – Denslow leases a four-acre island in the Bermuda Islands. HarrisIsland (a.k.a. Dyer) is in HamiltonHarbor.
  • Dec. 24 – Denslow marries Mrs. Frances G. Doolittle and buys an apartment on Riverside Drive in New York City where the couple and her daughter, Frances, live. They honeymoon on his Bermuda island, spending time on his yacht, which they name Wizard.
  • St. Nicholas magazine reports that Baum’s The Master Key (1901) has been “chosen one of the most popular books” by their young readers.
  • Baum’s latest fairy tale, The Enchanted Island of Yew, is published by The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Indianapolis, Ind., with illustrations by Fanny Y. Cory. In it, a wood nymph becomes a young knight and seeks adventure.
  • Baum’s The Magical Monarch of Mo (a.k.a. Adventures in Phunniland and A New Wonderland) is revised and published by the Bobbs-Merrill Co., Indianapolis, Ind., with illustrations by Frank Ver Beck.
  • Baum writes the prospectus for a new play, The Maid of Athens (a college phantasy in 3 acts) with Emerson Hough. It is privately printed but never produced.
  • Sheet music, recordings, penny postcards, and other novelties associated with the stage success of The Wizard of Oz become available.
  • A Baum short story, “The Ruby Wedding Ring,” is published in newspapers (c. 1903), but surviving clippings provide no additional details.
  • Baum begins the book and lyrics for a play, The Whatnexters, with Isadora Witmark. It is never completed.
  • Denslow designs six posters as a wallpaper frieze for children’s rooms. Descriptive verses run below the Oz characters (c. 1903).

1904

  • Jan. 10 – Raymond Wallace Bolger is born in Dorchester, Mass. As an actor, he will star as the Scarecrow in MGM’s classic film The Wizard of Oz (1939).
  • Jan 15 – A newspaper clipping reports that Denslow has established a new sovereignty on his own BermudaIsland and has declared himself its king. He builds a castle on it of local sandstone and raises a seahorse flag. Postcards of DenslowIsland include an inset photo of his sailboat, The Wizard.
  • Winter – The Baums visit Coronado Island, Calif., and stay at the famous Victorian landmark the Hotel del Coronado. They will return to the hotel in 1905, 1907, and 1908, where Baum takes up golf, archery, and other interests. On a southern California beach—probably here—Baum sees a child with a sand crab and tells her the creature is a “woggle bug,” a name he later will use in Oz books. Another of his fantasy characters, Lurline, is named after the yacht of the Hotel del Coronado’s owner.
  • Mar. 1 – The Madison Book Co., Chicago, becomes the Reilly & Britton Co., with Frank Kennicott Reilly as secretary/treasurer and Sumner C. Britton as president. The two men had worked for the George M. Hill Company—Reilly as production manager and Britton as secretary and head salesman.
  • Spring – Denslow illustrates The Pearl and the Pumpkin. The story is based on some ideas of Denslow’s and is written by Paul West. The two collaborate on a stage version funded by A.L. Erlanger of Klaw and Erlanger, a leading theatrical syndicate. Denslow prepares more than 125 illustrations. At one point, Denslow takes up diving in Bermuda in order to better design the underwater sets required for a particular scene.
  • July 5 – The Marvelous Land of Oz, Baum’s first sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is the first book published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago. Its twenty-five-year-old illustrator, John Rea Neill, will continue to illustrate Baum and Oz books until his death in 1943.The new book is dedicated to actors Montgomery and Stone and furthers the adventures of the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman. Several new characters are introduced, including Jack Pumpkinhead, the Sawhorse, Professor H. M. Wogglebug, T. E., and Ozma, the rightful ruler of Oz. The Marvelous Land of Oz is accompanied by The Ozmapolitan, a four-page “newspaper from Oz.” (Editor’s note: Wogglebug is spelled inconsistently in future uses as both Woggle Bug and Woggle-Bug).
  • Summer – Baum develops another special interest in Macatawa, Mich., when he has a 25-foot mahogany launch custom-built of specially selected and matched woods. He names it the Maybelle.
  • Aug. 23 – Fred Stone, the now-famous Scarecrow of the Wizard of Oz Broadway musical, marries actress Allene Crater in Newark, N.J. Allene is a member of the Oz cast. They eventually have three daughters, Dorothy, Paula, and Carol. As an adult, Dorothy becomes Stone’s stage partner. Celebrities who will attend the premier of Stepping Stones, their first show together, include actress Billie Burke.
  • Aug. 28 – The first story of Baum’s Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz newspaper comic page, illustrated by Walt McDougall, is published in the Philadelphia North American, The Chicago Record Herald, and other papers. Twenty-six additional stories follow. McDougall illustrates Baum into the strip twice: in the first story, Baum is a policeman, and in the final story he is a beggar.Its principal character, the Woggle-Bug, touches off a national fad marked by ad posters, postcards, sheet music, and buttons printed with a contest catchphrase, “What did the Woggle-Bug Say?” Promotions for the strip include tongue-in-cheek news reports of telegraphs from outer space about activities of the Woggle-Bug on other planets. Others, such as “Goat tries to eat woggle-bug button,” and reports of flying objects believed to be the character also prompt public interest.
  • Sept. – Neill starts working for The Public Ledger in Philadelphia.
  • Nov. – Baum’s new fairy tale, Queen Zixi of Ix, is serialized in St. Nicholas magazine with illustrations by Frederick Richardson.
  • Dec. 11 – Marge Henderson Buell is born in Philadelphia. She will later illustrate Ruth Plumly Thompson’s 1938 non-Oz book King Kojo, while gaining fame as Little Lulu’s cartoonist.
  • Dec. 31 – Baum’s Queen Zixi of Ix is granted copyright.
  • Baum writes two stories, “Chrome Yellow” and “The Diamondback,” and mentions two others in correspondence, “Mr. Rumple’s Chill” and “Bess of the Movies.” No complete copies survive. Another story, possibly from this time period, is “The Man With the Red Shirt.” Again, no copy of the original survives, but Baum tells it to his niece, Matilda Gage, who will write it from memory as a class assignment in 1905. Matilda’s version is preserved. Its theme is more consistent with stories Baum wrote in 1896-1897.
  • Denslow begins to capitalize on the success of Oz with work that is independent of Baum: The Scarecrow and Tin-Man booklet is published by G.W. Dillingham, New York, and he creates a comic page with 17 installments.
  • Dec. – Baum’s short story “A Kidnapped Santa Claus” appears in The Delineator with illustrations by Frederick Richardson.
  • The Woggle-Bug Game of Conundrums is produced by Parker Brothers.
  • Baum writes the song “What Did the Wogglebug Say?” with music by Tietjens. It is published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago.
  • Baum writes the book and lyrics for a play called The Pagan Potentate with music by Tietjens ca. 1904. It is never completed.

1905

  • Jan. -Sept. – Baum’s series of nine short stories, “The Animal Fairy Tales,” is printed in The Delineator.
  • Jan. 4 – Sterling Holloway born in Cedartown, Polk County, Georgia. As an actor, he will portray Jack Pumpkinhead in Shirley Temple’s Storybook The Land of Oz (1960).
  • Jan. 12 – Baum’s The Woggle-Bug Book is published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, with illustrations by Ike Morgan.
  • The Woggle-Bug play opens in Milwaukee as a tryout to its premiere. The story is based on Baum’s The Marvelous Land of Oz. Music is written by Fredric Chapin. Fred Mace has the title role. Blanche Deyo is Tip, Hal Godfrey is Jack Pumpkinhead, Phoebe Coyne is Mombi, Mabel Hite is a character named Captain Prissy, and Beatrice McKenzie is General Jinjur. A book of songs and 12 pieces of sheet music are published by M. Witmark & Sons, Chicago/New York. 
  • Feb. 14 – Baum’s mother, Cynthia Stanton Baum, dies.
  • Feb. 15 – Harold Arlen is born in Buffalo, N.Y. He will write the music for the classic MGM film The Wizard of Oz (1939). His biography, Happy With the Blues, is published by Doubleday and Company in 1961.
  • Feb. 26 – Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz comic strip ends.
  • In an apparent publicity stunt, newspapers announce that Baum has purchased PedloeIsland off the coast of California. He will reportedly turn the island into an Oz playground. No records confirm such a purchase, and no records indicate that a Pedloe Island exists. Future reports indicate that though Baum was interested in an Oz amusement park, he never pursued the idea.
  • Feb. – Neill returns to The North American.
  • Feb. 23 – Baum copyrights a new three-act musical, The King of Gee Whiz (a.k.a. The Son of the Sun), with Emerson Hough. The work is never completed, but in 1906 Hough uses the title for a children’s book published by Bobbs-Merrill Co.
  • Mar. 5 – A Baum poem, “Coronado, the Queen of Fairyland,” is published in the San Diego Union.
  • Mar. 7 – Baum gives a public reading of chapters from his books.
  • Mar. 31 – Baum lectures on “The Origin of the Fairy Tale” at the San Diego Club.
  • April 5 – Denslow purchases his Bermuda island using a $2,400 loan from Paul Tietjens.
  • June 4 – The Chicago Weekly Amusement Guide mentions that on one ride at the first modern amusement park, the Chutes, “boats speed through all the enchanted ‘Land of Oz,’ the ‘Poppy Fields,’ Santa Claus Land, and a zoo of small animals.”
  • June 12 – Denslow designs all the character costumes for The Land of Nod, which opens at the Chicago Opera House.
  • June 18 – The Woggle-Bug premieres at the Garrick Theater in Chicago to unanimously bad reviews. One paper notes that not even the summer mosquitoes could have driven audiences away quicker that had “Baum’s bug.” Another prints “An Epitaph” for the show, which, it says, “died a lingering death.”
  • June 18 – A Baum article, “Fairy Tales on the Stage,” is printed in the Sunday Chicago Record Herald. In it, Baum says a “young lady” had suggested he create a musical extravaganza based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • June – Baum’s short story “Nelebel’s Fairyland” appears in The Russ, the San Diego High School paper, following an interview Baum granted a student reporter.
  • June 24 – The Chicago Sunday Tribune includes a reference to “Fairies of Oz” as an attraction at the Chutes, America’s first modern amusement park. Large Oz characters had been erected as a new attraction.
  • July 11 – The Woggle-Bug musical closes.
  • July 16- Boston’s Colonial Theatre presents the first performance of the Denslow/Paul West production of The Pearl and the Pumpkin. A month later, the show moves to New York City for 72 performances. Reviews are favorable and the show goes on the road for several months, traveling as far west as Chicago. The sets are particularly remarkable. For example, an enormous mechanical whale fills the stage; inside it is an apartment for Davy Jones.
  • Aug. – Baum’s short story “Jack Burgitt’s Honor” is copyrighted by the American Press Association and appears in Novelettes.
  • Oct. 1 – Baum’s Queen Zixi of Ix is published by the Century Co., N.Y., with illustrations by Frederick Richardson. Baum considers it one of his finest books. More traditional in its approach to fairy tales, the book sells well but, as Baum’s relentless fan mail indicates, it doesn’t satisfy the demands of children for more stories about Oz.
  • Oct. – The serialization of Baum’s Queen Zixi of Ix in St. Nicholas magazine ends.
  • Denslow prepares preliminary costume designs for Uncle Remus. Tietjens writes the score for the production, which is based on the story by Joel Chandler Harris.
  • The second issue of The Ozmapolitan promotional newspaper is produced by Reilly & Britton, Chicago.
  • Baum’s adult novel The Fate of a Crown is published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, using the pseudonym Schuyler Staunton (the name of a deceased uncle). It is illustrated by Glen C. Sheffer. The first half of the book is serialized in the Philadelphia North American prior to publication. The serialization uses illustrations by John R. Neill.
  • Baum purchases one of the first Ford automobiles. His son Robert, who is at school in Pontiac, Mich., picks the engine by serial number in Detroit and visits the assembly line during the winter to watch the car being produced.
  • 1905-1906 – Baum provides an introduction to The Christmas Stocking series of small books. They are published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, with illustrations by an anonymous artist. His introduction—a short history of the traditional Christmas stocking—is included in all six titles: The Night Before Christmas; Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty; Animal A.B.C.A Child’s Visit to the Zoo; The Story of Little Black Sambo; Fairy Tales from Grimm; and Fairy Tales from Andersen.

1906

  • Jan. 28 – Frank and Maud Baum sail from New York to see Egypt and parts of Europe. They reach the Strait of Gibraltar on Feb. 6, Alexandria on Feb. 8, and the Italian mainland just as Mount Vesuvius erupts on April 15. Baum described it as “the only thing that smoked more than I did.” Baum’s life-long heart condition keeps him from climbing the Great Pyramid, but Maud goes up. Even in Egypt they encounter Oz fans. One young girl they meet had even carried The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with her while crossing the desert from North Africa in a camel caravan.
  • May 19 – Baum’s six short books The Twinkle Tales with illustrations by Maginel Wright Enright (a sister of architect Frank Lloyd Wright) are published by Reilly and Britton, Chicago, using the pseudonym Laura Bancroft. They are Mr. Woodchuck, Bandit Jim Crow, Prince Mud Turtle, Twinkle’s Enchantment, and Sugar-Loaf Mountain.
  • June 27 – Baum’s son Frank Joslyn Baum marries Helen Louise Snow. The couple has two children.
  • Fall – The Baum family moves from Forest Ave. to an apartment at 5243 Michigan Ave.
  • Oct. 6 – A Harper’s Weekly cover features cartoonist W.A. Rogers’s drawing of W. R. Hearst dressed as a scarecrow standing in a mud puddle. The cartoon is titled “The Wizard of Ooze.” Similar cartoons follow.
  • Baum’s John Dough and the Cherub is published by Reilly & Britton, with illustrations by John R. Neill. This new fantasy also is serialized in the Washington Sunday Star and other papers from Oct. 14 to Dec. 30. The character of the Cherub is described throughout the book with no gender references. A contest blank in the front of the book’s first edition invites readers to participate in a contest by writing an essay describing why they think the Cherub is either a boy or a girl.
  • Baum’s first books for older girls, Aunt Jane’s Nieces and Aunt Jane’s Nieces Abroad, are published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, using the pseudonym Edith Van Dyne. Emile A. Nelson provides illustrations for both books. Baum’s Oct. 6 contract (which he wrote) reads that he “shall deliver to the Reilly & Britton Co. on or before March 1, 1906, a book for young girls in the style of the Louisa May Alcott stories but not so good … the authorship to be ascribed to … some … mythological female.”
  • Baum’s next adult novel, Daughters of Destiny, is published by Reilly & Britton using the pseudonym Schuyler Staunton, with illustrations by Thomas Mitchell Pierce and Harold DeLay.
  • Baum’s new book for girls, Annabel, is published by Reilly & Britton, using the pseudonym Suzanne Metcalf. The illustrations are by H. Putnam Hall.
  • Baum’s first boys’ adventure story, Sam Steele’s Adventures on Land and Sea, is published by Reilly & Britton, using the pseudonym Captain Hugh Fitzgerald. Howard Heath provides the illustrations.
  • The Baums are spending summers in Macatawa, November to January in a Chicago apartment on Michigan Avenue, and the rest of the year at the Hotel del Coronado in California.
  • Denslow illustrates Billy Bounce. The book is published by G.W. Dillingham Co., New York. Both Denslow and Dudley A. Bragdon are credited as authors. The book is based on a comic strip character that Denslow originally illustrated in 1901. Billy Bounce is considered one of the worst efforts of Denslow’s career.
  • Denslow’s wife, Frances (Doolittle) Denslow, leaves him.

1907

  • Jan 11 – Baum’s brother Henry Clay, “Dr. Harry,” marries Elizabeth Grosse Dattam. The couple has two children, Cynthia and Elizabeth.
  • Feb. 10 – The San Diego Union publishes Baum’s “Witty Presentation Speech” honoring Morgan Ross, manager of the Hotel del Coronado. At the event, Baum presents Ross with a gold watch set with diamonds that follows a crown design used like a logo in Coronado publicity literature.
  • A Wizard of Oz float is featured in the children’s literature parade during New Orleans’ Mardi Gras festivities. Attendees include L. Frank Baum. A penny postcard pictures the colorful carnival attraction.
  • July 22 – Baum’s Father Goose’s Year Book is published by Reilly & Britton, with illustrations by Walter J. Enright.
  • Baum’s new fantasy, Policeman Bluejay, is published by Reilly & Britton, using the pseudonym Laura Bancroft.
  • July 29 – Baum’s second Oz sequel, Ozma of Oz, is published by Reilly & Britton, with illustrations by John R. Neill. In it, Dorothy Gale returns to Oz for her second adventure. In order for his central character to be more fashionable, Dorothy is now blonde. Apparently for contrast, Ozma, who had “ruddy gold tresses” in The Marvelous Land of Oz, is suddenly a brunette. Also to be in fashion, Dorothy speaks in a lisping baby-talk style. New characters include Tik-Tok, a copper clockwork man; a yellow hen named Billina; and a new antagonist, the Nome King. (Note: In later Oz books “Nome” is spelled “Gnome.”)
  • Aug. 15 – John Frederick “Jack” Snow born in Piqua, Ohio. As an author, he will write The Magical Mimics in Oz (1946), The Shaggy Man of Oz (1949), and Who’s Who in Oz (1954). He also will do extensive Baum research and be one of the first private “collectors” of Oz/Baum material.
  • Aug. 18 – A lengthy interview with Baum appears in the Grand Rapids Herald accompanied by interior photos taken at his summer cottage, “The Sign of the Goose.”
  • Sept. 1 – A Baum poem, “To Macatawa,” is published in the Grand RapidsSunday Herald.
  • Nov. 9 – Baum’s invitation to his and Maud’s 25th anniversary reads in part: “Quarrels: just a few. Wife in tears: three times (cat died; bonnet spoiled; sore toe). Husband swore: one thousand one hundred and eighty-seven times; at wife, 0. Broke, occasionally; bent, often.”
  • Baum privately prints a new novel for adults, Tamawaca Folks, a Summer Comedy, using the pseudonym John Estes Cooke. Publisher credit is listed as Tamawaca Press, U.S.A. “Tamawaca” is a thinly veiled reference to Macatawa Island, where the Baum family spends summers. Area residents and community activities are satirized, including “an author fellow … stubborn, loud-mouthed and pig-headed … He had about as much diplomacy as a cannon ball.”
  • Baum’s first boys’ series continues with Sam Steele’s Adventures in Panama, published by Reilly & Britton using the pseudonym Captain Hugh Fitzgerald with illustrations by Howard Heath.
  • Maud Baum writes In Other Lands Than Ours. Her record of their recent travels abroad is printed privately. The preface and photographs are Baum’s.
  • Baum begins two plays, though neither is produced and may not have been completed. They are Down Missouri Way and Our Man.
  • Denslow illustrates The Jeweled Toad by Isabel Johnston. It is published by Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • An undated clipping from this period reports that students at a school in Muskogee, Indian Territory, are asked to vote on the greatest American who ever lived. Their results: Abraham Lincoln, 7; George Washington, 14; L. Frank Baum, 68.

1908

  • Jan. 16 Ethel  Zimmerman “Merman” born in Astoria, Queens, New York.  As an actress, she will be the voice of Mombi in Journey Back to Oz (1971).
  • April 2 – Christian “Buddy” Ebsen, Jr., is born in Belleville, Ill. He will be briefly cast by MGM as the Scarecrow for The Wizard of Oz (1939), switch roles with Ray Bolger to be the Tin Man, then be replaced by Jack Haley following a life-threatening allergic reaction to his character’s metallic makeup.
  • April 5 – Baum writes a poem to a new baby born at the Hotel del Coronado. The guests present the new parents with a silver loving cup.
  • May 30 – Melvin “Mel” Blanc born in San Francisco. The voice actor and comedian will be the voice of Mombi’s crow in Journey Back to Oz (1971).
  • June 18 – Baum’s Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz is published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, with illustrations by John R. Neill. It returns Dorothy to Oz for her third adventure.
  • Mendel Berlinger “Milton Berle” born in New York City.  The popular actor and comedian will be the speaking voice of the Cowardly Lion in Journey Back to Oz (1971).
  • July 13 – Baum’s first grandchild, Joslyn Stanton Baum, is born in Chicago to Helen Snow and Frank Joslyn Baum. The Road to Oz is dedicated to him, and soon he is nicknamed Tik-Tok after the popular Oz character.
  • Sept. 24 – Baum’s Fairylogue and Radio-Plays open in Grand Rapids, Mich. In this traveling stage production filled with special effects, Baum supports a two-hour lecture he wrote with a show that includes live actors, music, color film (hand-tinted in Paris using a technique invented by Michel Radio), and slides to tell Oz stories and John Dough and the Cherub. The Chicago Tribune describes it as “a travelogue that takes you to Oz instead of China.”William Nicholas Selig, Chicago, does the film production work. Frank Jr. is the projectionist. The cast includes Romola Remus as Dorothy; Frank Burns as the Scarecrow; Joseph Schrode as the Cowardly Lion, Imogene the Cow, and the Gingerbread Man; and Grace Elder as Chick the Cherub. An orchestra travels with the cast and crew.
  • Nov. 8 – The first of 12 issues of St. Nicholas magazine includes Denslow illustrations of the theme “When I Grow Up.” Each illustration describes a child’s perspective on life in a certain profession. This material is published later in a single volume in When I Grow Up (The Century Co., New York, 1909).
  • Dec. 16 – Fairylogue and Radio-Plays closes in New York City. Baum had seriously underestimated the financial backing needed to sustain such a large show.
  • Baum’s adult novel The Last Egyptian: A Romance of the Nile is published anonymously by Edward Stern & Co., Philadelphia, with illustrations by Francis P. Wightman. Baum had met Stern during his own Egyptian adventure (1905-1906) and submitted the book at the publisher’s request. “It will have to be published under a pen name (if it has the luck to be published at all) because I cannot interfere with my children’s books by posing as a novelist,” wrote Frank.
  • The two Sam Steele books (1906 and 1907) are reissued by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, under the titles The Boy Fortune Hunters in Alaska and The Boy Fortune Hunters in Panama, with the pseudonym changed to Floyd Akers. The original illustrations are maintained.
  • Baum continues his boys’ series with The Boy Fortune Hunters in Egypt published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, using the pseudonym Floyd Akers and with illustrations by Howard Heath.
  • Baum continues his successful girls’ series with Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Millville published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, using the pseudonym Edith Van Dyne. A frontispiece is provided by Emile A. Nelson.
  • Baum’s American Fairy Tales are reprinted by Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, Ind., with 16 two-color plates by George Kerr. Three new stories are included.
  • Denslow moves to Buffalo, N.Y., and becomes increasingly dependent on post and advertising work. Niagara Lithography Co. of Buffalo, N.Y., provides many of these jobs, including The Teddy Bear’s Christmas.
  • Baum designs the crown chandeliers in the Hotel del Coronado’s dining room. They are still in use at the CoronadoIsland resort 90 years later. Circa 1908.

1909

  • July 10 – Baum’s The Road to Oz, published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, with illustrations by John R. Neill, is Dorothy’s fourth trip to Oz. The plot includes a birthday party for Ozma attended by Santa Claus and other central characters from Baum’s earlier fairy tales. Neill illustrates a visit by Dorothy and Toto to statues of themselves. The statues are styled after Denslow’s original drawings, with his distinctive seahorse mark at each sculpture’s base. All illustrations for this Oz book are detailed line drawings. The publishers used colored paper for interior pages. As Dorothy travels from country to country, the pages of the text change to mirror a dominant color of that country. Thus, when action is taking place in the Emerald City, the pages are green.
  • A lengthy interview with Baum is published in The Advance, a journal of the Congregational Church.
  • Aug. – Denslow mortgages his island to Paul Tietjens for $500. In less than two years a $3,000 mortgage follows. Neither loan is ever repaid. The island eventually becomes the home of Arthur William Bluck, a former mayor of Hamilton, Bermuda.
  • Aug. - Theater magazine reports that a “pet project” of Mr. Baum’s is a children’s theater being built in New York City on West 57th Street near Carnegie Hall.
  • Denslow’s When I Grow Up (a.k.a. Dreams of Childhood) is published by the Century Company, New York. The book reprints material published in St. Nicholas magazine (1908-1909), with 10 additional episodes.
  • Dec. 9 – A Baum short play, “The Fairy Prince,” is published in Entertaining complete with a toy theater and miniature puppets to cut out and assemble
  • Winter – The Baums rent a home on CoronadoIsland.
  • Aug. 19 – Baum’s article about writing for children, “Modern Fairy Tales,” is printed in The Advance.
  • Baum’s girls’ story Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Work is published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, using the pseudonym Edith Van Dyne. The frontispiece again is provided by Emile A. Nelson.
  • Baum’s The Boy Fortune Hunters in China is published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, using the pseudonym Floyd Akers. The story reflects Frank J. Baum’s tour of duty in the Pacific in 1904.
  • Baum begins the book and lyrics with Charles Dillingham for an opera, Peter & Paul, with music by Arthur Pryor. It is never produced and may not have been completed. Reportedly, it is being developed for Montgomery and Stone.
  • With George Scarborough, Baum writes the book and lyrics for a three-act musical comedy, The Pipes O’ Pan, which is never produced. It was reportedly written to be staged by the Shuberts at the Lyric in New York City early in the fall. Paul Tietjens writes the music.
  • Following the failure of his Fairylogue and Radio-Plays, financial difficulties for Baum increase. He establishes a contract with Reilly & Britton for a monthly salary based on his 1908 sales.
  • Denslow visits his brother, Norton, in England.
  • In 1909-1910 Neill illustrates The Little Journeys of Nip and Tuck, with verses by W. R. Brandford, for the Philadelphia North American.
  • Baum writes an unproduced play, The Girl from Oz, about a girl named Elile. Circa 1909.
  • Baum begins and possibly completes an unproduced musical extravaganza, also planned with Montgomery and Stone in mind: The Rainbow’s Daughter, or the Magnet of Love (a.k.a. Ozma, or the Rainbow’s Daughter). Circa 1909.
  • Baum writes the book and lyrics for a musical, Ozma of Oz, with music by Manuel Klein. It may be a rewrite of The Rainbow’s Daughter. Circa 1909.
  • Baum begins and possibly completes an unproduced musical extravaganza, The Koran of the Prophet. Circa 1909.

1910

  • Mar. 26 – The Selig Polyscope Production Co. releases a new feature film, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Baum may have written the scenario for this and later Selig film releases.
  • April 19 – The Selig Polyscope Production Co. releases a film short, Dorothy and the Scarecrow in Oz. Selig releases both this and The Land of Oz as payment for his last investment in the Radio Plays (1908). The films use either outtakes or new material reusing sets and costumes from the Fairylogue and Radio-Plays – opinions differ, and no authoritative records remain.
  • April 24 – Leonard Lebitsky “Jack E. Leonard” born in Chicago. As an actor, he will voice the Signpost in Journey Back to Oz (1971).
  • May 19 – The Selig Polyscope Production Co. releases a film short, The Land of Oz.
  • July 20 – Baum’s The Emerald City of Oz is published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, with illustrations by John R. Neill. Baum insists that Dorothy’s fifth Oz adventure will be his last. In it, she, Toto, Aunt Em, and Uncle Henry take up permanent residence in Oz, which is magically cut off from the rest of the world. Twenty thousand copies sell in the first year of publication.
  • Oct. 22 – Baum’s son Harry Neal marries his second wife, Mary L. Niles.
  • Dec. – Baum’s short story “Juggerjook” is published in St. Nicholas.
  • Dec. – Baum’s short story “The Man Fairy” is published in Ladies World.
  • Dec. 19 – The Selig Polyscope Production Co. releases another Baum film short, John Dough and the Cherub.
  • Dec. – The Baums move to “Ozcot,” a new family home built on a double lot at 1749 Cherokee (a.k.a. 149 Magnolia Ave. – the house was located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Cherokee and Yucca, or the northwest corner of the 1700 block) in Hollywood with money Maud inherits from her mother. The home includes an aviary and fish pond in an enclosed garden. Baum becomes a champion amateur horticulturist, receiving 21 prizes for his flowers during his lifetime. He plants chrysanthemums to spell Oz in the garden. He also keeps chickens (Rhode Island Reds). In the house, one wall is covered with favorite photos of Maud.
  • Baum’s Aunt Jane’s Nieces in Society is published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, using the pseudonym Edith Van Dyne. The frontispiece is provided by Emile A. Nelson.
  • Baum’s The Boy Fortune Hunters in Yucatan is published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago, using the pseudonym Floyd Akers. The frontispiece is provided by George A. Reiman.
  • L. Frank Baum’s Juvenile Speaker; Readings and Recitations in Prose and Verse, Humorous and Otherwise is published by Reilly & Britton, Chicago. This collection of short stories, poems, and other readings is drawn from previous Baum books and reuses original illustrations by John R. Neill and Maginel Wright Enright.
  • Baum writes an untitled poem on the occasion of the birth of a grandson to his friend P. M. Musser.
  • Baum writes two plays: The Pea-Green Poodle, based on one of his Animal Fairy Tales, and The Clock Shop.

Denslow’s son from his first marriage, W. W. Denslow III, marries Annalia Delemmo.