Extremely rare first state of the book that gave Americans their own fairy tale, the exceptionally beautiful Pat McInally copy.
THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
"Dorothy's adventures [...] had become as deeply embedded in American culture as the ageless tales of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty." – Grolier 100
Although it was only one of four books Baum published in 1900, THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ was his most ambitious as a publication: he and illustrator W.W. Denslow envisioned an elaborate production of color-printed plates to reflect the role that color plays in the story. The expense turned publishers away until Baum and Denslow took the gamble to pay for the printing costs themselves. Their instinct was right: the book quickly became the fastest selling children's book in the United States, and was soon turned into a sensation at the theater. Denslow and Baum would soon part acrimoniously over the share of the profits (Denslow purchased, no joke, an island from his); the rest of the Oz books in Baum's lifetime were illustrated by John R. Neill.
Baum has a complicated legacy: he was also a newspaperman whose opinions on Native American rights were especially pernicious. The Oz books offered a dream world for the children of Manifest Destiny, emigrating across the West. Yet over the years Dorothy's journey with her motley friends has proven fertile soil for a variety of new interpretations, including THE WIZ (1978) and WICKED (1995), demonstrating its power as a modern mythos. The original story may surprise readers, with silver shoes instead of ruby slippers, and an Emerald City that is green only because the visitors must wear colored goggles.
The book's bibliography is notoriously complicated, with more than a dozen different points, and the appearance of mixed states common. This copy has every single point of the first state in its plates, text, and binding – and is remarkably scarce as such.
A gorgeous example, with few rivals in condition and edition still surviving.
Read more: Gardner, The Wizard of Oz and Who He Was; Bibliographia Oziana; Loker, Grolier One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature.
Chicago: George M. Hill Company, 1900. 8.25'' x 6'' Original full green cloth stamped in red and green, "Geo. M. Hill Co." stamped in sans-serif typeface on spine, with "o" not within "C." Illustrated pastedowns in black and grey (front) and black and red (rear). Ads facing title page boxed. 24 full-page color plates, including title page (verso blank); two blots on moon in plate facing p.34, red shading on plate facing p.92. Single-color vignettes (in red, blue, green, grey, yellow, and brown) throughout. Page 14 line one reads "low wail on"; page 81 with "peices"; page  begins "While Tin Woodman." Eleven-line boxed colophon. 216,  pages. Gift inscription dated in year of publication on front free endpaper. Housed in a custom full green goatskin slipcase and cloth chemise. Cloth remarkably fresh with little soiling, hinges sound.
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