L. Frank Baum is Born

Lyman Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was born on May 15, 1856, in Chittenango, New York.

The son of a successful entrepreneur, Baum embarked on many careers before beginning to write for children. In his youth, he ran a small printing press to produce a monthly magazine for family and friends. As an adult, his creative work as an actor, playwright, and journalist was interspersed with commercial pursuits including poultry farming, store keeping, and window dressing.

Baum's career as a children's author began with the 1897 publication of Mother Goose in Prose. The book sold well, and Baum followed it in 1899 with the poetry collection Father Goose: His Book. Although Father Goose was the children's bestseller of the year, it was soon overshadowed by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). The demand for additional stories about Dorothy and her friends was so great that Baum wrote thirteen more Oz books. Other fictional works created for boys and girls were published by Baum under the pen names "Floyd Akers" and "Edith Van Dyne." After Baum's death in 1919, a new generation of authors continued the Oz series as well as several of Baum's other story lines.

Lyman Frank Baum (May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919) was an American author, poet, playwright, actor and independent filmmaker, best known today as the creator, along with illustrator W. W. Denslow, of one of the most popular books in American children's literature, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He wrote thirteen sequels, nine other fantasy novels, and a plethora of other works (55 novels in total (plus four "lost" novels), 82 short stories, over 200 poems, an unknown number of scripts, and many miscellaneous writings), and made numerous attempts to bring his works to the stage and screen. His works predicted such century-later commonplaces as color television, laptop computers (The Master Key), wireless telephones (Tik-Tok of Oz), and the ubiquity of advertising on clothing (Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work).

Come along, Toto... We will go to the Emerald City and ask the Great Oz how to get back to Kansas again.”

— Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz