American journalist, playwright, and author of juvenile stories
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Frank Baum , usually abbreviated to L. Frank Baum ( Chittenago , 15 May 1856 -
Glendale , 6 May 1919 ), was a writer U.S. . A Baum was responsible for the
novel 's most famous children's literature American, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Baum was born in Chittenango , in upstate New York . Son of Benjamin Ward Baum
and Cynthia Stanton, a native of Germany , was the seventh of nine children, of
whom only five reached the age of majority. It was named "Lyman" in honor of his
paternal uncle, but always preferred to be called "Frank".
Benjamin Baum was a wealthy businessman who had made his fortune in the oil
fields of Pennsylvania . Frank grew up in the big house of the parents, Rose
Lawn ("meadow of roses"), a place she remembered for a lifetime as a kind of
paradise. As a child he had a teacher who taught him and his brothers at home,
but at the age of 12 he was sent to the Military Academy in Peekskill . Frank
was a sickly child and a dreamer, and perhaps the decision to send him to the
Academy was motivated by the desire of parents to reinforce its character and
constitution. After two painful years at the academy, Frank had an accident that
was described by doctors as a heart attack , and he was allowed to go home.
early age, Frank proved to love the printed paper and writing. His father bought
him a small printing press , Frank, with the help of his younger brother Harry
Clay Baum, used to make a newspaper, The Rose Lawn Home Journal . The journal
were published several numbers and the two brothers went so far to be able to
sell some advertising space on their pages. At the age of 17 years, Frank had
started a second newspaper amateur, The Stamp Collector ("The Collector of
same time, Frank develop a passion for the theater that would have accompanied
him throughout his life, leading him several times close to bankruptcy. His
first failure was at the age of 18, when a local theater company convinced him
to finance the purchase of a new wardrobe of costumes, promising to make it act
as a protagonist on the stage, that promise was not kept then. Disillusioned,
Baum moved away (temporarily) from the theater and began working as a clerk in
the company of his brother in Syracuse .
At twenty, Baum discovered a new vocation, ' poultry , and specialized in
breeding of a particular breed of chicken , the ' Hamburg . In 1880 he founded a
new paper on the rearing of poultry exhibition, The Poultry Record , and in 1886
, thirty years, he published his first book, The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief
Treatise upon the Mating, Rearing, and Management of the Different Varieties of
Hamburgs ("The Book of Hamburg: short treatise on mating, breeding and
management of different varieties of Hamburg").
The poultry farm, however, was not enough to keep Baum far from the theater.
Baum recited several times with the pseudonym of Louis F. Baum, and in 1880 he
became director of a chain of theaters owned by the father. From that moment
Baum began writing for the theater and companies to hire actors that act. Was a
great success with The Maid of Arran , a melodrama based on a popular novel, for
which he also wrote some songs and in which he played the title role.
On 9 November 1882 , Baum married Maud Gage , daughter of Matilda Joslyn Gage ,
a well-known activist in the women's suffrage .
In July 1888 , Baum and his wife moved to Aberdeen in South Dakota , where Baum
opened a store, "Baum's Bazaar." The habit of Baum to make systematic credit to
customers, however, soon brought the store into bankruptcy. Returning to his old
passions, Baum founded a new newspaper, The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer , which
took care of personally heading "Our Landlady". The description that Baum would
years later of Kansas , in the Wonderful Wizard of Oz , is largely based on his
memories of the arid land of South Dakota
The Pioneer failed (in 1891 ), and Baum moved to Chicago , where Frank began
working as a reporter for the ' Evening Post and, at the same time, such as
door-to-door seller of porcelain. The turning point came in 1897 , when Baum
published Mother Goose in Prose , a collection of nursery rhymes of Mother Goose
transcribed in prose and illustrated by Maxfield Parrish . The book was a great
success, and Baum was able to leave his job as a salesman.
In 1899 , in collaboration with illustrator WW Denslow , Baum published Father
Goose: His Book , a collection of poems nonsense , which became the children's
book of the year's best-selling.
In 1900 , Baum and Denslow published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , which was a
huge success, critical acclaim, the Wizard of Oz was also a bestseller for two
consecutive years. On the basis of this success, Baum realized in the years
following thirteen novels set in the Land of Oz .
Two years after the publication of The Wizard of Oz , Baum and Denslow joined
the composer Paul Tietjens and conductor Julian Mitchell to make an adaptation
of the novel in musicals . The show was performed in Broadway 293 times from
1902 to 1911 , and was later taken on tour for all the United States . We
recited Dave Montgomery (in the role of the Tin Woodman ) and Fred Stone (the
Scarecrow ), who became famous with its spectacle. The stage adaptation was a
bit 'different from the novel and was intended for an adult audience. The dog
Toto was replaced with "the cow Imogene," were also introduced two new
characters, victims of the cyclone with Dorothy : the waitress Tryxie Tryfle and
In 1901 , Baum and Denslow collaborated on a new project, the novel Dot and Tot
of Merryland , which proved a failure, and put an end to the partnership between
continued to write novels on the Land of Oz, although on several occasions
claimed to want to stop and engage in romances with other settings (among them,
we can mention The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus and Queen Zixi of Ix ).
Request of the public and children, however, in the end he always returned to
his Baum series luckier.
books "non-Oz," Baum used several pseudonyms, including Edith Van Dyne (for the
series Aunt Jane's Nieces ), Laura Bancroft ( Twinkle and Chubbins , Policeman
Bluejay ), Floyd Akers (the series of Sam Steele ) Suzanne Metcalf ( Annabel ),
Schuyler Staunton ( Daughters of Destiny ), John Estes Cooke and "Captain" Hugh
Fitzgerald. He also published an anonymous book, The Last Egyptian: A Romance of
the Nile .
In the last years of his life, Baum went into debt, and his situation was made
worse by health problems. He continued to write and fund musical , obtaining
further economic damage. One of the most catastrophic fiascos was his
Fairylogues and Radio Plays ( 1908 ), a play that combined experimental slide
and film sequences, the actors on stage and Baum who read a sort of travel diary
in the Land of Oz. Baum was not able to repay the company that made the film,
and it took almost a decade to fix up its economy. Among other things, he had to
sell the rights to most of his works, including the Wizard of Oz .
died on 6 May 1919 and was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in
Glendale (California) .
His latest book, Glinda of Oz , was published in 1920 , a year after his death.
The series of Oz was continued by other authors, including Ruth Plumly Thompson
(who wrote nineteen novels of the series).
During the events that led to the Wounded Knee Massacre , Baum wrote an
editorial racist for Saturday Pioneer , defining "dogs whining" the Native
Americans and hoping that they were exterminated . After the massacre, Baum
rising dose in a second editorial, in which he criticized the U.S. government
for being too bland and insisting that the natives were "wiped off the face of
the Earth." Both editorials were written by Baum in the period in which his
fortune was in decline. Some of the books of Baum, including two series of Oz,
have been criticized for using racist stereotypes in reappresentazione of
African Americans .
common error in the interpretation of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz is to read it
as a parable on populism (especially with reference to bimetallism ). Nothing in
his biography of Baum supports this interpretation, although there are some
curious parallels between certain passages in the book and some historical
Baum was originally a follower of the Episcopal Church , but in 1897 he and his
wife became theosophists . His religious opinions, however, do not show through
in his writings. In the whole series of Oz appears only once a church, that of
porcelain that Dorothy knocks in the Wizard of Oz .
The Baum sent their sons to "Ethical Culture Sunday School" in Chicago, which
gave moral teachings but not religious.
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