VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 9 POSTED ON: 10/29/2011
My Favorite Oz Things I thought I would share with you some prized Oz-related items from my personal collection. Most really nice things end up in my Ebay store, but certain things speak to me, and I keep them. Here are some of my favorites: First printings of Aunt Jane’s Nieces and Aunt Jane’s Nieces Abroad. This was a popular girl’s series published with L. Frank Baum writing under the pseudonym of Edith Van Dyne. While the later printings of this series have tan covers and are fairly easy to find, these beautiful green cover versions from 1906 are extremely rare. Watercolor Envelope by W.W. Denslow. The first illustrator and book designer of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was William Wallace Denslow, who became one of the best known children’s illustrators of the early 1900s. This envelope hand painted by Denslow is postmarked 1893, but no information on its addressee, Miss Mae Belle Curry, is known. The art is titled “Life on the Farm” and signed “DEN” in the corner, a signature used by Denslow before he established his hippocampus (seahorse) mark. This is the most expensive Oz item I’ve bought and was originally in Fred Meyer’s collection. I like that Denslow actually touched and created this piece, as well as the Fred Meyer connection. First Edition of The Emerald City of Oz. I came across this gem a few years back and while it’s worth big bucks, I just couldn’t sell it. It’s a near perfect copy of the hard-to-find first that features 16 metallic green color plates by John R. Neill. Just look at that spine—isn’t that gorgeous??! And notice the delicate detail in the last image. If you blow it up, you’ll see lots of interesting figures. The Oziads by Fred Otto. Here is a book that you’ve probably never seen or even heard of. It’s a book of Oz poetry by Fred Otto, who was considered “Poet Laureate of Oz” by the International Wizard of Oz club. He would read the poetry at Oz conventions and after he died, his friends published this elaborate book in very limited quantities. I actually haven’t read the poetry, but cherish the book for the many full- color illustrations by Rob Roy MacVeigh. MacVeigh was deemed one of the “Royal Illustrators of Oz” and died in 1992. I didn’t know much about his work until seeing this book—aren’t the images nice? Roycrofters Ye Ancient Mariner, illustrated by W. W. Denslow. Before Denslow worked on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with L. Frank Baum, he was friends with Elbert Hubbard. Hubbard was an interesting character who started his own Roycroft press creating elaborate, finely bound books. Denslow worked with the Roycrofters for several years and not only illustrated, but also designed some of their earliest books. While I haven’t been fortunate enough to find one of the books he hand illustrated, I do have a nice copy of Ye Ancient Mariner, printed in 1899. Denslow designed the book and created the cover and interior art. While copies from the limited edition of 910 are not too hard to find, those from the specially illuminated edition of 400 are more difficult to find. While the cover of this one is a little beat up, the interior vignettes are great. Check out the seahorses framing the anchor. Black Leather Version of The Wizard of Oz. This gorgeous Oz binding is of unknown origin. Inside is an early Bobbs Merrill printing of the Wizard of Oz with eight color plates. I have never seen another like it, so I can only assume it was elaborately rebound by a fine bookbinder. The interior has newer yellow endpapers and the title page is a little beat up, so it makes sense that it may have been rebound. I was waffling about buying it because I wasn’t sure what it was, but I’m so glad I did. The Cowardly Lion and Hungry Tiger are quite fine, aren’t they? The book looks incredible on a display shelf. W.W. Denslow Postcards. Denslow was very prolific and illustrated not only books, but also posters, comic strips, advertising brochures, and postcards. Below are complete sets of two of his postcard series: The first is “Thanksgiving Humor” (notice Father Goose in the 3rd card) and the second is an advertising set for “Teddy Bear Bread”. Cards in the Thanksgiving series come with both silver and gold lettering and I’m trying to collect both types. The Thanksgiving cards are postmarked 1910-1913, while the TBB cards are a bit earlier, from 1909. John R. Neill Easter Postcards. Have you noticed by now that I’m partial to W. W. Denslow? Lest you Neill fans feel left out, here is a set of comic postcards drawn by another great Oz book illustrator, John R. Neill. As far as I know, these six constitute a complete set of baggy-pantsed rabbits playing various musical instruments. There were two versions published by Stetcher, one with rather plain lettering and one with more elaborate gold trimmed lettering—those cards are harder to find. Many of these are postmarked from 1921-1922, although like the Denslow cards, they are often unmarked. I think people just bought them for the entertaining art. First Edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Of course I couldn’t forget my first edition copy of the Wonderful Wizard published by Geo M Hill—the pictures say it all! The Collector’s Guide to L. Frank Baum. While most of the treasures listed here are 100 years old, this one was published in 2009 and has already become a trusted friend. Covering many more Oz-related titles than Bibliographia Oziana, including the Baum’s non-Oz books as well as those published under pseudonyms. Meticulously researched and chock-full of color photographs of rare Oz variants, including many fabulous dust jackets. Swiss Ooze Bindings of John R Neill Illustrated Poetry Books. In 1909 and 1910, Reilly & Britton published a series of four poetry books elaborately illustrated by Neill: Snow-bound, Hiawatha, Evangeline, and The Raven. Even the cloth-bound versions of these books are hauntingly beautiful, but R&B also released them with a “Swiss Ooze” suede binding which is very difficult to find today; only a handful are known to exist. I only have these two, and my copy of The Raven has been professionally restored.
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