The Lost Princess of Oz [with Biographical Introduction]

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It has been criticized for its simple language and themes and was no doubt written stylistically for a child to comprehend. However, as in most fairy tales, there is room for the reader to interpret beyond the black and white on the page.

the lost princess of oz with biographical introduction Manual

What is it about The Wizard of Oz that makes it so special, so enduring? Do we know who stands behind this classic and how it came to be? Have we ever heard of L. Frank Baum or his life story? As one might expect, L.


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The Wizard of Oz has been one of my all time favorite movies, in which I believe I am not alone. Frank Baum by the film his work inspired. He never used his first name since he preferred Frank. A rather sickly child who was both timid and shy, he kept to himself and made up imaginary places and playmates since he had to refrain from any kind of strenuous exercise due to his faulty, weak heart. Although, it never impeded his creativity, drive and talent. When Frank was about 5 years old, his father, Benjamin Baum, struck it rich in the oil business, and the family moved to Rose Lawn Estate, a country home near Chittenango.

Rose Lawn was an idyllic place for young Frank to grow up. He was very happy there except for the constant reminder of his heart condition. It is possible that young Frank developed his creative side more than most since he was not allowed to play physically like other children his age. It is reasonable to assume that the foundations for his storytelling sensibilities were laid and nurtured during this time. Frank read fairy tales and British writers voraciously, and he especially enjoyed Dickens.

One thing I never liked then, and that was the introduction of witches and goblins into the story.

Frank made the decision that he would write a different kind of fairy tale. This decision was not a wise one, for it did not curb his whimsical nature but instead resulted in his suffering a heart attack or a nervous breakdown it is not clear which.

Frank had always been home schooled prior to this experience. He did not like Peekskill Military School at all and it is understandable since he was not accustomed to such strict, regimented schedules and physical punishment.

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His parents finally allowed Frank to withdraw from Peekskill after they realized the negative effect it had on him and his health. His father bought him a small printing press after he showed an interest in a larger, more commercial one. He was fifteen years old when he began this paper with his younger brother Harry, and he took his writing abilities seriously.

The newspaper contained articles, editorials, fiction, poetry, and word games. The Rose Lawn Home Journal did well and some of the local stores bought advertisement space for their services. In , Frank started a new paper called The Empire as well as The Stamp Collector , a magazine not surprisingly for stamp collectors. Early on Frank demonstrated his resourcefulness, drive and creativity.

Throughout his life, he was always productive with his time and energy and was never idle.


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  • Frank always had many interests and one of them was tending chickens. With the help of his father and brother Harry, he began to breed Hamburgs, small colorful birds which were popular at the time and they soon won awards. Frank then began a new magazine called The Poultry Record. His most influential interest was the theatre, which developed in his teens and loved and supported throughout his life.

    He took acting seriously and viewed it as an art. He memorized passages from Shakespeare, and then, with money from his father, he formed a Shakespearean troupe.

    Baum, L. Frank

    He finally got a taste of the stage with Albert M. Frank took the pen names of Louis F. Baum and George Brooks. After whetting his thirst for the theatre and seeing what delighted the audiences, Frank set to work on writing original plays. Overall, the reviews were very positive and this spark ignited the flame of passion for the theatre. It was while Frank was home on holiday that he met the other love of his life, Maud Gage.

    After the holiday season came to a close, Maud left to go back to school to the admiration of other male suitors and Frank stayed with the Company. Maud came from a prosperous family who lived in Fayetteville, NY. Anthony in her later years. It was in the Gage home that these three women wrote History of Woman Suffrage published in four volumes from to At every opportunity I returned to Syracuse, borrowed a horse and buggy from father, and drove the eight miles to Fayetteville.

    However, against the wishes of her mother Maud and Frank were married on November 9 th , They lived a nomadic existence while touring. However, when Maud became pregnant with their first child, they settled down and rented a home in Syracuse. Baum found a new leading man to take his place and trained a new company manager. In many respects, Frank and Maud were exact opposites. She was headstrong, strong willed and temperamental. Frank, on the other hand, was low key, optimistic, even-tempered and whimsical. Once settled in Syracuse, Baum worked in sales for the family business.

    During the time of the investigation, the bookkeeper conveniently disappeared. Everything suffered but again Frank managed to stay afloat by working as head salesman in the family Castorine Business.

    During this time, Frank was preoccupied with his own fragile health and hectic sales schedule, Maud having their second son, and the failing health of Uncle Doc who handled the business finances. The business was left in the hands of a clerk. Ironically and sadly, again their money was swindled from them, gambled away while the bills went unpaid and they lost everything. He unlocked the door, entered, and was stunned to find the clerk sprawled across the desk dead. The revolver with which he had shot himself was still in hand. This may have been another factor in their decision besides the hope of economic possibilities.

    The store opened on October 1, and it sold a variety of goods from tableware, household goods, tinware, and lamps to toys and candy. There were always plenty of children around the store for they liked to listen to Frank tell them stories of faraway places and enchanted lands. Many came to hear stories that Baum could be persuaded to tell.

    Soon after, he began a new position managing a weekly newspaper called The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer. He sold advertisements, set the type, ran the press, and wrote. It seemed the skills he acquired as a boy came in handy. In the paper he wrote about all sorts of social events. Unfortunately, however, and to his discredit, it also included editorials that had disparaging racial comments and illustrated an intolerant attitude towards Native American Indians during their conflicts with the government.

    Nonetheless, it was a well liked paper but the scarce Dakota years got the best of him and in Frank lost the Pioneer to bankruptcy. Throughout his lifetime, Frank genuinely loved children and they adored him.

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    He never stopped believing in the creative powers of the imagination. He would sit down on the edge of the dusty wooden sidewalk and spin one of his yarns of magic countries. Through these tough economic years, Baum remained optimistic which could not have been easy at the time. In , Chicago had the World Columbian Exposition so it seemed a logical place to try to find employment. Frank first took a position as a reporter for the Evening Post but the pay was so slight he instead he worked as a traveling salesman for a china company, Pitkin and Brooks.

    She told him that he should write these stories down and publish them. They would ask him, for instance, how blackbirds baked in a pie could later come out and sing and got what Harry remembered as a satisfactory answer. Often neighborhood friends of the older boys would drop in for the storytelling hour.