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Baum L. Frank & Thompson Ruth Plumly; The Royal Book of Oz

SKU: Thompson Ruth Plumly; AB-264 $139.95
Original publisher's binding. Spine a bit sun faded and worn with some rubbing to the panels. Rear hinge is cracked. Text a bit shaken. Volume in very good condition. The Royal Book of Oz when first published in 1921 had the author on the book as L. Frank Baum which it was not. Since Baum died in 1919 and had left no notes behind for future Oz adventures this book was wholly devised and written by Thompson who continued to write Oz books for Reilly & Lee. The entire book even though it was stated in the original first edition that the book was expounded on by Ruth Thompson from the notes of L. Frank Baum came from the mind of Ms. Thompson whom was an excellent writer of the Oz books after Baum's death. So this book is the first time that Ruth Plumly Thompson is credited as the true author. Since Baum died in 1919 and had left no notes behind for future Oz adventures this book was wholly devised and written by Thompson who continued to write Oz books for Reilly & Lee. Ruth Plumly Thompson (27 July 1891 6 April 1976) was an American writer of children's stories. Life and work: An avid reader of Baum's books and a lifelong children's writer Thompson was born in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and began her writing career in 1914 when she took a job with the Philadelphia Public Ledger: she wrote a weekly children's column for the newspaper. She had already published her first children's book The Perhappsy Chaps and her second The Princess of Cozytown was pending publication when William Lee vice president of Baum's publisher Reilly & Lee solicited Thompson to continue the Oz series. (Rumors among fans that Thompson was Baum's niece were untrue.) Between 1921 and 1939 she wrote one Oz book a year. (Thompson was the primary supporter of her widowed mother and invalid sister so that the annual income from the Oz books was important for her financial circumstances.) Thompson's contributions to the Oz series are lively and imaginative featuring a wide range of colorful and unusual characters. However one particular theme repeats over and over throughout her novels with little variation. Typically in each of Thompson's Oz novels a child (usually from America) and a supernatural companion (usually a talking animal) while traveling through Oz or one of the neighboring regions find themselves in an obscure community where the inhabitants engage in a single activity. The inhabitants of this community then capture the travelers and force them to participate in this same activity. Another major theme has elderly characters most controversially the Good Witch of the North being restored to ''marriageable'' age possibly because Thompson herself never married. She had a greater tendency toward the use of romantic love stories (which Baum usually avoided in his fairy tales with about 4 exceptions). While Baum's child protagonists tended to be little girls Thompson's were boys. She emphasized humor to a greater extent than Baum did and always considered her work for children whereas Baum while first and foremost considering his child audience knew that his readership comprised all ages. Thompson's last Oz story The Enchanted Island of Oz (1976) was not originally written as an Oz book. Oz books by Thompson: cents 1921 '' The Royal Book of Oz cents 1922 '' Kabumpo in Oz cents 1923 '' The Cowardly Lion of Oz cents 1924 '' Grampa in Oz cents 1925 '' The Lost King of Oz cents 1926 '' The Hungry Tiger of Oz cents 1927 '' The Gnome King of Oz cents 1928 '' The Giant Horse of Oz cents 1929 '' Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz cents 1930 '' The Yellow Knight of Oz cents 1931 '' Pirates in Oz cents 1932 '' The Purple Prince of Oz cents 1933 '' Ojo in Oz cents 1934 '' Speedy in Oz cents 1935 '' The Wishing Horse of Oz cents 1936 '' Captain Salt in Oz cents 1937 '' Handy Mandy in Oz cents 1938 '' The Silver Princess in Oz cents 1939 '' Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz cents 1971 '' Yankee in Oz cents 1976 '' The Enchanted Island of Oz Non-Oz books by Thompson cents The Perhappsy Chaps P.F. Volland Co. (1918) cents The Princess of Cozytown P.F. Volland Co. (1922) cents The Curious Cruise of Captain Santa Reilly & Lee (1926) cents King Kojo illustrated by Marge Donald MacKay (1938) Lyman Frank Baum (May 15 1856 May 6 1919) was an American author of children's books best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He wrote thirteen novel sequels nine other fantasy novels and a host 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 television laptop computers (The Master Key) wireless telephones (Tik-Tok of Oz) women in high risk action-heavy occupations (Mary Louise in the Country) and the ubiquity of advertising on clothing (Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work). Baum's childhood and early life: Baum was born in Chittenango New York in 1856 into a devout Methodist family of German (paternal line) and Scots-Irish (maternal line) origin the seventh of nine children born to Cynthia Stanton and Benjamin Ward Baum only five of whom survived into adulthood. He was named ''Lyman'' after his father's brother but always disliked this name and preferred to go by his middle name''Frank''. His mother Cynthia Stanton was a direct descendant of Thomas Stanton one of the four Founders of what is now Stonington Connecticut. Benjamin Baum was a wealthy businessman originally a barrel maker who had made his fortune in the oil fields of Pennsylvania. Baum grew up on his parents' expansive estate Rose Lawn which he always remembered fondly as a sort of paradise. As a young child he was tutored at home with his siblings but at the age of 12 he was sent to study at Peekskill Military Academy. He was a sickly child given to daydreaming and his parents may have thought he needed toughening up. But after two utterly miserable years at the military academy he was allowed to return home. Frank Joslyn Baum in his biography To Please a Child claimed that this was following an incident described as a heart attack though there is no contemporary evidence of this (and much evidence that material in Frank J.'s biography was fabricated). Baum started writing at an early age perhaps due to an early fascination with printing. His father bought him a cheap printing press and he used it to produce The Rose Lawn Home Journal with the help of his younger brother Henry (Harry) Clay Baum with whom he had always been close. The brothers published several issues of the journal and included advertisements they may have sold. Roselawn was the name of the family home and previously located in Mattydale New York. Sadly the house burned down in the 1950s and in its place today is an abandoned skating rink. All that remains are a few concrete steps located behind the building. By the time he was 17 Baum had established a second amateur journal The Stamp Collector printed an 11-page pamphlet called Baum's Complete Stamp Dealers' Directory and started a stamp dealership with his friends. At the age of 20 Baum took on a new vocation: the breeding of fancy poultry which was a national craze at the time. He specialized in raising a particular breed of fowl the Hamburg. In March 1880 he established a monthly trade journal The Poultry Record and in 1886 when Baum was 30 years old his first book was published: The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief Treatise upon the Mating Rearing and Management of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs. Despite financial difficulties Frank was always the spotlight of fun around the household. Due to the fact that one of his trades was selling fireworks he always made the Fourth of July memorable. His skyrockets roman candles and fireworks filled the sky while many people around the neighborhood would gather in front of the house to watch the displays. Christmas was even more festive. Frank played Santa for the family. While his father placed the Christmas tree in the front parlor behind closed drapes Frank would decorate the tree and talk to them from behind the drapes although they never could manage to see him. He kept up this tradition all his life. Theater: At about the same time Baum embarked upon his lifetime infatuation with the theater a devotion which would repeatedly lead him to failure and near-bankruptcy. His first such failure occurred when a local theatrical company duped him into replenishing their stock of costumes with the promise of leading roles that never came his way. Disillusioned Baum left the theatre''temporarily''and went to work as a clerk in his brother-in-law's dry goods company in Syracuse. At one point he found another clerk locked in a store room dead an apparent suicide. This incident appears to have inspired his locked room story''The Suicide of Kiaros'' first published in the literary journal The White Elephant. Yet Baum could never stay away from the stage long. He continued to take roles in plays performing under the stage names of Louis F. Baum and George Brooks. In 1880 his father built him a theatre in Richburg New York and Baum set about writing plays and gathering a company to act in them. The Maid of Arran a melodrama with songs based on William Black's novel A Princess of Thule proved a modest success. Baum not only wrote the play but composed songs for it (making it a prototypical musical as its songs relate to the narrative) and acted in the leading role. His aunt Katharine Gray played his character's aunt. She was the founder of Syracuse Oratory School and Baum advertised his services in her catalog to teach theatre including stage business playwriting directing and translating (French German and Italian) revision and operettas though he was not employed to do so. On November 9 1882 Baum married Maud Gage a daughter of Matilda Joslyn Gage a famous women's suffrage and radical feminist activist. While Baum was touring with The Maid of Arran the theatre in Richburg caught fire during a production of Baum's ironically-titled parlor drama Matches and destroyed not only the theatre but the only known copies of many of Baum's scripts including Matches as well as costumes. The South Dakota years: In July 1888 Baum and his wife moved to Aberdeen Dakota Territory where he opened a store''Baum's Bazaar''. His habit of giving out wares on credit led to the eventual bankrupting of the store so Baum turned to editing a local newspaper The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer where he wrote a column Our Landlady. In December 1890 Baum urged the wholesale extermination of all America's native peoples in a column he wrote on December 20 1890 nine days before the Wounded Knee Massacre. Later on January 3 1891 Baum reverted to the subject in an editorial response to the event: The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extirmination [sic] of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries we had better in order to protect our civilization follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth. Baum's description of Kansas in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is based on his experiences in drought-ridden South Dakota. During much of this time Matilda Joslyn Gage was living in the Baum household. While he was in South Dakota Baum sang in a quartet that included a man who would become one of the first Populist (People's Party) Senators in the U.S. James Kyle. Baum becomes an author: After Baum's newspaper failed in 1891 he Maud and their four sons moved to Humboldt Park section of Chicago where Baum took a job reporting for the Evening Post. Beginning in 1897 for several years he edited a magazine for advertising agencies focused on window displays in stores. The major department stores created elaborate Christmas time fantasies using clockwork mechanisms that made people and animals appear to move. In 1900 Baum published a book about window displays in which he stressed the importance of mannequins in drawing customers. He also had to work as a traveling salesman. In 1897 he wrote and published Mother Goose in Prose a collection of Mother Goose rhymes written as prose stories and illustrated by Maxfield Parrish. Mother Goose was a moderate success and allowed Baum to quit his door-to-door sales job (which had had a negative impact on his health). In 1899 Baum partnered with illustrator W. W. Denslow to publish Father Goose His Book a collection of nonsense poetry. The book was a success becoming the best-selling children's book of the year. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: In 1900 Baum and Denslow (with whom he shared the copyright) published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to much critical acclaim and financial success. The book was the best-selling children's book for two years after its initial publication. Baum went on to write thirteen more novels based on the places and people of the Land of Oz. The Wizard of Oz: Fred R. Hamlin's Musical Extravaganza: Two years after Wizard's publication Baum and Denslow teamed up with composer Paul Tietjens and director Julian Mitchell to produce a musical stage version of the book under Fred R. Hamlin. Baum and Tietjens had worked on a musical of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1901 and based closely upon the book but it was rejected. This stage version the first to use the shortened title ''The Wizard of Oz'' opened in Chicago in 1902 then ran on Broadway for 293 stage nights from January to October 1903. It returned to Broadway in 1904 where it played from March to May and again from November to December. It successfully toured the United States with much of the same cast as was done in those days until 1911 and then became available for amateur use. The stage version starred David C. Montgomery and Fred Stone as the Tin Woodman and Scarecrow respectively which shot the pair to instant fame. The stage version differed quite a bit from the book and was aimed primarily at adults. Toto was replaced with Imogene the Cow and Tryxie Tryfle a waitress and Pastoria a streetcar operator were added as fellow cyclone victims. The Wicked Witch of the West was eliminated entirely in the script and the plot became about how the four friends being allied with the usurping Wizard were hunted as traitors to Pastoria II the rightful King of Oz. It is unclear how much control or influence Baum had on the script: it appears that many of the changes were written by Baum against his wishes due to contractual requirements with Hamlin. Jokes in the script mostly written by Glen MacDonough called for explicit references to President Theodore Roosevelt Senator Mark Hanna and oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. Although use of the script was rather free-form the line about Hanna was ordered dropped as soon as Hamlin got word of his death in 1904. Beginning with the success of the stage version most subsequent versions of the story including newer editions of the novel have been titled ''The Wizard of Oz'' rather than using the full original title. In more recent years restoring the full title has become increasingly common particularly to distinguish the novel from the Hollywood film. Baum wrote a sequel The Woggle-Bug but since Montgomery and Stone balked at appearing when the original was still running the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman were omitted from this adaptation of The Marvelous Land of Oz which was seen as a self-rip-off by critics and proved to be a major flop before it could reach Broadway. He also worked for years on a musical version of Ozma of Oz which eventually became The Tik-Tok Man Of Oz. This did fairly well in Los Angeles but not well enough to convince producer Oliver Morosco to mount a production in New York. He also began a stage version of The Patchwork Girl of Oz but this was ultimately realized as a film. Later life and work: With the success of Wizard on page and stage Baum and Denslow hoped lightning would strike a third time and in 1901 published Dot and Tot of Merryland. The book was one of Baum's weakest and its failure further strained his faltering relationship with Denslow. It would be their last collaboration. Baum would work primarily with John R. Neill on his fantasy work beginning in 1904 but Baum met Neill few times (all before he moved to California) and often found Neill's art not humorous enough for his liking and was particularly offended when Neill published The Oz Toy Book: Cut-outs for the Kiddies without authorization. Several times during the development of the Oz series Baum 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 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. Even so his other works remained very popular after his death with The Master Key appearing on St. Nicholas Magazine's survey of readers' favorite books well into the 1920s. In 1905 Baum declared plans for an Oz amusement park. In an interview he mentioned buying Pedloe Island off the coast of California to turn it into an Oz park. Trouble is not only is there no evidence that he purchased such an island no one has ever been able to find any island whose name even resembles Pedloe in that area. Nevertheless Baum stated to the press that he had discovered a Pedloe Island off the coast of California and that he had purchased it to be ''the Marvelous Land of Oz'' intending it to be ''a fairy paradise for children.'' Eleven year-old Dorothy Talbot of San Francisco was reported to be ascendant to the throne on March 1 1906 when the Palace of Oz was expected to be completed. Baum planned to live on the island with administrative duties handled by the princess and her all-child advisers. Plans included statues of the Scarecrow Tin Woodman Jack Pumpkinhead and H.M. Woggle-Bug T.E. Baum abandoned his Oz park project after the failure of The Woggle-Bug which was playing at the Garrick Theatre in 1905. Because of his lifelong love of theatre he often financed elaborate musicals often to his financial detriment. One of Baum's worst financial endeavors was his The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays (1908) which combined a slideshow film and live actors with a lecture by Baum as if he were giving a travelogue to Oz. However Baum ran into trouble and could not pay his debts to the company who produced the films. He did not get back to a stable financial situation for several years after he sold the royalty rights to many of his earlier works including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This resulted in the M.A. Donahue Company publishing cheap editions of his early works with advertising that purported that Baum's newer output was inferior to the less expensive books they were releasing. Baum had shrewdly transferred most of his property except for his clothing his library (mostly of children's books such as the fairy tales of Andrew Lang whose portrait he kept in his study) and his typewriter (all of which he successfully argued were essential to his occupation) into Maud's name as she handled the finances anyway and thus lost much less than he could have. Baum made use of several pseudonyms for some of his other non-Oz books. They include: cents Edith Van Dyne (the Aunt Jane's Nieces series) cents Laura Bancroft (The Twinkle Tales Policeman Bluejay) cents Floyd Akers (The Boy Fortune Hunters series continuing the Sam Steele series) cents Suzanne Metcalf (Annabel) cents Schuyler Staunton (The Fate of a Crown Daughters of Destiny) cents John Estes Cooke (Tamawaca Folks) cents Capt. Hugh Fitzgerald (the Sam Steele series) cents Baum also anonymously wrote The Last Egyptian: A Romance of the Nile. Baum continued theatrical work with Harry Marston Haldeman's men's social group The Uplifters for which he wrote several plays for various celebrations. He also wrote the group's parodic by-laws. The group which also included Will Rogers was proud to have had Baum as a member and posthumously revived many of his works despite their ephemeral intent. Although many of these play's titles are known only The Uplift of Lucifer is known to survive (it was published in a limited edition in the 1960s). Prior to that his last produced play was The Tik-Tok Man of Oz (based on Ozma of Oz and the basis for Tik-Tok of Oz) a modest success in Hollywood that producer Oliver Morosco decided did not do well enough to take to Broadway. Morosco incidentally quickly turned to film production as would Baum. In 1914 having moved to Hollywood years earlier Baum started his own film production company The Oz Film Manufacturing Company which came as an outgrowth of the Uplifters. He served as its president and principal producer and screenwriter. The rest of the board consisted of Louis F. Gottschalk Harry Marston Haldeman and Clarence R. Rundel. The films were directed by J. Farrell MacDonald with casts that included Violet MacMillan Vivian Reed Mildred Harris Juanita Hansen Pierre Couderc Mai Welles Louise Emmons J. Charles Haydon and early appearances by Harold Lloyd and Hal Roach. Silent film actor Richard Rosson appeared in one of the films whose younger brother Harold Rosson photographed The Wizard of Oz (1939). After little success probing the unrealized children's film market Baum came clean about who wrote The Last Egyptian and made a film of it (portions of which are included in Decasia) but the Oz name had for the time being become box office poison and even a name change to Dramatic Feature Films and transfer of ownership to Frank Joslyn Baum did not help. Unlike with The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays Baum invested none of his own money in the venture but the stress probably took its toll on his health. On May 5 1919 Baum suffered from a stroke. He died quietly the next day nine days short of his 63rd birthday. At the end he mumbled in his sleep then said''Now we can cross the Shifting Sands.'' He was buried in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. His final Oz book Glinda of Oz was published on July 10 1920 a year after his death. The Oz series was continued long after his death by other authors notably Ruth Plumly Thompson who wrote an additional nineteen Oz books. Baum's beliefs: Literary: Baum's avowed intentions with the Oz books and other fairy tales was to tell such tales as the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen told bringing them up to date by making the characters not stereotypical dwarfs or genies and by removing both the violence and the moral to which the violence was to point. Although the first books contained a fair amount of violence it decreased with the series: in The Emerald City of Oz Ozma objected to doing violence even to the Nomes who threaten Oz with invasion. His introduction is often cited as the beginnings of the sanitization of children's stories although he did not do a great deal more than eliminate harsh moral lessons. His stories still include decapitations eye removals maimings of all kinds and other violent acts but the tone is very different from Grimm or Andersen. Another traditional element that Baum intentionally omitted was the emphasis on romance. He considered romantic love to be uninteresting for young children as well as largely incomprehensible. In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz the only element of romance lay in the backstory of the Tin Woodman and his love Nimmie Amee which explains his condition and does not otherwise affect the tale and that of Gayelette and the enchantment of the Winged Monkeys: the only other stories with such elements were The Scarecrow of Oz and Tik-Tok of Oz both based on dramatizations which Baum regarded warily until his readers accepted them. Political: Women's suffrage advocate: Sally Roesch Wagner of The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation has published a pamphlet titled The Wonderful Mother of Oz describing how Matilda Gage's radical feminist politics were sympathetically channeled by Baum into his Oz books. Much of the politics in the Republican Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer dealt with trying to convince the populace to vote for women's suffrage. Baum was the secretary of Aberdeen's Woman's Suffrage Club. When Susan B. Anthony visited Aberdeen she stayed with the Baums. Nancy Tystad Koupal notes an apparent loss of interest in editorializing after Aberdeen failed to pass the bill for women's enfranchisement. Some of Baum's contacts with suffragists of his day seem to have inspired much of his second Oz story The Marvelous Land of Oz. In this story General Jinjur leads the girls and women of Oz in a revolt by knitting needles take over and make the men do the household chores. Jinjur proves to be an incompetent ruler but a female advocating gender equality is ultimately placed on the throne. His Edith Van Dyne stories including the Aunt Jane's Nieces The Flying Girl and its sequel and his girl sleuth Josie O'Gorman from The Bluebird Books depict girls and young women engaging in traditionally masculine activities. Editorials about Native Americans: During the period surrounding the 1890 Ghost Dance movement and Wounded Knee Massacre Baum wrote two editorials about Native Americans for the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer which have provoked great controversy in recent times because of his suggestion that the safety of White settlers depended on the ''extermination'' of the remaining Indians. The first piece was published on December 20 1890 five days after the killing of the Lakota Sioux holy man Sitting Bull (who was being held in custody at the time). Following is the complete text of the editorial: Sitting Bull most renowned Sioux of modern history is dead. He was not a Chief but without Kingly lineage he arose from a lowly position to the greatest Medicine Man of his time by virtue of his shrewdness and daring. He was an Indian with a white man's spirit of hatred and revenge for those who had wronged him and his. In his day he saw his son and his tribe gradually driven from their possessions: forced to give up their old hunting grounds and espouse the hard working and uncongenial avocations of the whites. And these his conquerors were marked in their dealings with his people by selfishness falsehood and treachery. What wonder that his wild nature untamed by years of subjection should still revolt? What wonder that a fiery rage still burned within his breast and that he should seek every opportunity of obtaining vengeance upon his natural enemies. The proud spirit of the original owners of these vast prairies inherited through centuries of fierce and bloody wars for their possession lingered last in the bosom of Sitting Bull. With his fall the nobility of the Redskin is extinguished and what few are left are a pack of whining curs who lick the hand that smites them. The Whites by law of conquest by justice of civilization are masters of the American continent and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians. Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled their spirit broken their manhood effaced: better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are. History would forget these latter despicable beings and speak in latter ages of the glory of these grand Kings of forest and plain that Cooper loved to heroize. We cannot honestly regret their extermination but we at least do justice to the manly characteristics possessed according to their lights and education by the early Redskins of America. Following the December 29 1890 massacre Baum wrote a second editorial published on January 3 1891: The peculiar policy of the government in employing so weak and vacillating a person as General Miles to look after the uneasy Indians has resulted in a terrible loss of blood to our soldiers and a battle which at best is a disgrace to the war department. There has been plenty of time for prompt and decisive measures the employment of which would have prevented this disaster. The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries we had better in order to protect our civilization follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth. In this lies safety for our settlers and the soldiers who are under incompetent commands. Otherwise we may expect future years to be as full of trouble with the redskins as those have been in the past. An eastern contemporary with a grain of wisdom in its wit says that ''when the whites win a fight it is a victory and when the Indians win it it is a massacre.'' These two short editorials continue to haunt his legacy. In 2006 two descendants of Baum apologized to the Sioux nation for any hurt their ancestor had caused. These editorials are the only known occasions on which Baum articulated such views. For example aside from the vocabulary he did acknowledge many Americans of non-White ancestry in The Woggle Bug Book though in a stereotyped manner for the sake of comedy. The short story''The Enchanted Buffalo'' claims to be a legend of a tribe of bison and states that a key element made it into legends of Native American tribes. Father Goose His Book contains poems such as ''There Was a Little Nigger Boy'' and ''Lee-Hi-Lung-Whan.'' In The Last Egyptian Lord Roane uses ''nigger'' to insult the title character while in The Daring Twins set in the American South the only character to use the term is a boy from Boston complaining that his mother uses their money to help ''naked niggers in Africa.'' Baum mentions his characters' distaste for a Hopi snake dance in Aunt Jane's Nieces and Uncle John but also deplores the horrible situation of Indian Reservations. Aunt Jane's Nieces on the Ranch has a hard-working Mexican present himself as an exception to reiterate Anglo stereotypes of Mexican laziness. Political imagery in The Wizard of Oz: Although numerous political references to the ''Wizard'' appeared early in the 20th century it was in a scholarly article by Henry Littlefield an upstate New York high school history teacher published in 1964 that there appeared the first full-fledged interpretation of the novel as an extended political allegory of the politics and characters of the 1890s. Special attention was paid to the Populist metaphors and debates over silver and gold. As a Republican and avid supporter of Women's Suffrage it is thought that Baum personally did not support the political ideals of either the Populist movement of 1890-92 or the Bryanite-silver crusade of 1896-1900. He published a poem in support of William McKinley. Since 1964 many scholars economists and historians have expanded on Littlefield's interpretation pointing to multiple similarities between the characters (especially as depicted in Denslow's illustrations) and stock figures from editorial cartoons of the period. Littlefield himself wrote the New York Times letters to the editor section spelling out that his theory had no basis in fact but that his original point was''not to label Baum or to lessen any of his magic but rather as a history teacher at Mount Vernon High School to invest turn-of-the-century America with the imagery and wonder I have always found in his stories.'' Baum's newspaper had addressed politics in the 1890s and Denslow was an editorial cartoonist as well as an illustrator of children's books. A series of political references are included in the 1902 stage version such as references by name to the President and a powerful senator and to John D. Rockefeller for providing the oil needed by the Tin Woodman. Scholars have found few political references in Baum's Oz books after 1902. When Baum himself was asked whether his stories had hidden meanings he always replied that they were written to please children and generate an income for his family. Religion: Originally a Methodist (albeit a skeptical one) Baum joined the Episcopal Church in Aberdeen to participate in community theatricals. Later he and his wife encouraged by Matilda Joslyn Gage became Theosophists in 1897. Baum's beliefs are often reflected in his writing. The only mention of a church in his Oz books is the porcelain one which the Cowardly Lion breaks in the Dainty China Co