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  Wikipedia: L. Frank Baum

Wikipedia: L. Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Lyman Frank Baum (May 15, 1856 - May 6, 1919) was an Americann author.

Born in Chittenango, New York, he was the son of Benjamin Baum, who made his fortune in the oil fields of Pennsylvania. He tried journalism in his youth, starting a number of newspapers and magazines as well as writing plays for theater. After he married and had a son, he moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota, where he started a local newspaper called The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer. The newspaper eventually failed.

Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and thirteen other novels based on the places and people of Oz. Several times during the development of the series, he declared that he had written his last Oz book and devoted himself to other works of fantasy fiction based in other magical lands, including The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, The Adventures of Father Goose and Queen Zixi of Ix. However, persuaded by popular demand, letters from children, and the failure of his new books, he returned to the series each time. All of his novels have fallen into public domain in most jurisdictions, and many are available through Project Gutenberg. In his last years Baum was addicted to morphine and wrote most of his books in a large birdcage in his backyard. His final book was published after his death in 1919 but the Oz series was continued long after his death by many other authors. He was buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale, California.

An urban legend about Baum's work that is in fact true is that when the wardrobe department of MGM began to buy costumes for the movie The Wizard of Oz they bought many second hand clothes from rummage sales around Hollywood. When the part of the wizard was cast many overcoats were chosen for him to wear, one was picked and on the first day of shooting, the actor noticed the lining of the coat had a label saying, "Property of L. Frank Baum".

Baum's Politics

Baum has been called a socialist and Oz a barely disguised socialist utopia,though some Baum scholars differ strenuously[1]. Advocates of this theory support it using this quotation from The Emerald City of Oz:

"There were no poor people in the land of Oz, because there was no such thing as money, and all property of every sort belonged to the Ruler. Each person was given freely by his neighbours whatever he required for his use, which is as much as anyone may reasonably desire. Every one worked half the time and played half the time, and the people enjoyed the work as much as they did the play, because it is good to be occupied and to have something to do. There were no cruel overseers set to watch them, and no one to rebuke them or to find fault with them. So each one was proud to do all he could for his friends and neighbors, and was glad when they would accept the things he produced."

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