Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Baum, L. Frank
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(Lyman Frank Baum)(bôm), 1856–1919, American journalist, playwright, and author of children's stories, b. Chittenango, N.Y. He and his family moved to South Dakota in 1888, where he ran a newspaper, and to Chicago in 1891, where he worked as a journalist. At various times, he also worked as an actor, playwright, shop owner, and salesman. His first children's book, Mother Goose in Prose (1897), was followed by Father Goose: His Book (1899), which was an immediate best seller. In 1900 he published his most famous work, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a story about a little girl carried by a tornado to the magical land of Oz. Baum's dramatization of the book was produced in 1902; the story was made into a popular motion picture in 1938. Although he wrote more than 70 children's books, Baum's fame rests largely on The Wizard and his 13 other stories of Oz, including Ozma of Oz (1907) and The Scarecrow of Oz (1915), all of which emphasize practicality, self-reliance, tolerance, egalitarianism, and other attributes regarded as American virtues.

  • See Hearn, M. P. , ed., The Annotated Wizard of Oz (1973, upd. ed. 2000);.
  • biographies by K. M. Rogers (2002) and R. Loncraine (2009);.
  • Schwartz, E. I. , Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story (2009).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

Related Articles

Full text Article Baum, L(yman) Frank
Continuum Encyclopedia of Children's Literature

Desiring to write a modern fairy tale without didacticism, cruelty, or terrifying characters, and one set in America, B....

Full text Article Baum, L(yman) Frank (1856 - 1919)
The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English

Born in New York, the son of a wealthy businessman, Baum worked as a journalist and playwright before setting off across...

Full text Article Baum, L(yman) Frank [Floyd Akers, Laura Bancroft, Captain Hugh Fitzgerald, Suzanne Metcalf, Schuyler Staunton, Edith Van Dyne] 1856-1919
The Cambridge Guide to Children's Books in English

American writer, best known for his Oz series books. L. Frank Baum had a wide and varied career; educated mainly at home...

See more from Credo