Baum, Frank

Baum, (Lyman) Frank

(1856–1919) writer; born in Chittenango, N.Y. A sickly child, he studied at home, became an actor (1870s), worked in the family oil business, then moved to South Dakota. While working as a journalist there, he wrote his first book, Father Goose: His Book, published in 1899 after he had moved to Chicago to work on a trade magazine for window decorators (1897–1902). It was successful, but his next book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), was even more successful; he himself adapted it for the musical stage in 1901. After traveling to Europe, he settled in Pasadena, Calif. (1902), where he turned out 13 more books in the Oz series and many other children's stories—mostly in the fantasy genre—using pen names such as Schuyler Staunton, Laura Bancroft, Captain Hugh Fitzgerald, Suzanne Metcalfe, Floyd Akens, and Edith Van Dyne. Although appreciated primarily as children's tales, the Oz books have also been read as incorporating Baum's views on American society.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.