Wizard of Oz Collection: now fully catalogued

                                                                                                                                                                        We’re happy to announce that the Library’s Wizard of Oz Collection is now fully catalogued! 

We completed the cataloguing in September 2020. This was thanks to a combined effort from Claire Cannings, Lucy Atkinson (both Cataloguers and Liaison Support Librarians) and Carol Speirs, the long-standing Library Cataloguer for Special Collections who retired in April 2021.  

We are very proud to share this collection, which is one of the largest Oz collections we know about, and certainly one of the best resources for Oz researchers this side of the Atlantic. Now that the Collection is searchable on our online catalogue, people looking for Oz books can easily find what they need. 

This collection first arrived at Special Collections in 2004 as a bequest from Brian Baker, a member of the Children’s Books History Society. He decided that we would be good custodians for his collection after visiting the Library and seeing our extensive Children’s Collection. 

The collection bequeathed to us is quite eclectic; besides the Oz books themselves, Oz criticism, fan-club magazines, audiobooks, sheet music, theatre programmes, pop-up books, comics and paper doll books are all represented. Some of these items posed challenges to our cataloguers—how many ‘pages’ are there in a paper doll book?! 

The centre-point of the collection is its many editions of the fourteen original Oz books by L. Frank Baum. These range from two beautiful copies of the 1900 first edition of The wonderful wizard of Oz through to 21st-century reprints and new editions. There are also translations and adaptations in Russian, Chinese, Hebrew, German and French.   

You can read more about our first editions in the ‘Featured Item’ blogpost from November 2007 here. 

Wonderful wizard of Oz front cover
One of our copies of the first edition of The wonderful wizard of Oz. WIZARD OF OZ COLLECTION–001

Not all the Oz books in the collection are by L. Frank Baum. Such was the popularity and appeal of the world of Oz that many other writers picked up where Baum left off. Sequels and reimaginings by authors such as Ruth Plumly Thompson, John R. Neill, Jack Snow, Rachel Cosgrove Payes and Aleksandr Volkov are numerous. These books were welcomed by Oz fans and many were published by Reilly & Lee, Baum’s own publisher.   

colourful spines Wizard of Oz books
Some early editions of the Oz books, published by Reilly & Lee.

Beyond the original novels are many more treasures for the Oz fan. There are other works by L. Frank Baum such as John Dough and the Cherub, a story about a living gingerbread man, as well as works inspired by the Oz tales. These range from musical adaptations (The Woggle Bug is based on the second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz) to critical scholarship.  

3 books from the Wizard of Oz collection
A small selection of books from the Wizard of Oz Collection

Other treasures of the collection are these beautifully illustrated pop-up books, which took their inspiration from the 1939 film with Judy Garland as well as the L. Frank Baum books themselves. 

pop-up books
A selection of pop-up books from the Wizard of Oz Collection

There are also the fan-club magazines. These fan-made publications range in publication quality—some are home-made photocopies and some are glossy, mass-produced journals. These magazines not only show the history of Oz fandom and scholarship, but the breadth of the community of fans: children and adults alike across the 20th century. Some editions of The Baum Bugle are pictured below. This is the official journal of the International Wizard of Oz fan club, which began as a four-page mimeographed zine-like document in 1957 and is still published today.  

Some issues of fan-club magazine The Baum Bugle
Some issues of The Baum Bugle from our collection. WIZARD OF OZ COLLECTION PERIODICAL–005

If you have any questions about the Wizard of Oz Collection, or if you would like to arrange an appointment to view any of the material in our Reading Room, please contact specialcollections@reading.ac.uk  

 

References 

Hanby, Pat ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz : Special Collections featured item for November 2007’ Available at https://collections.reading.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2020/01/featurewizardofoz.pdf  

Hanff, Peter E. and Douglas G. Greene. Bibliographia Oziana : a concise bibliographical checklist of the Oz books by L. Frank Baum and his successors. The International Wizard of Oz Club, 1988. Available in the Special Collections Open Access rooms 813.49-BAU/HAN 

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