First edition, second state, of the classic American fairy tale, a remarkably beautiful 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 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.
This is a remarkable, beautiful, clean copy of the first edition.
Read more: Gardner, The Wizard of Oz and Who He Was; Bibliographia Oziana; Loker, Grolier One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature; Hanff/Greene I.2 binding state C.
Chicago: George M. Hill, 1900. 8.25'' x 6''. Original full green cloth stamped in red and green, "Geo. M. Hill Co." stamped in red serif typeface on spine, "o" within the "C." Illustrated pastedowns in black and grey (front) and black and red (rear). With no box around ads on page 2, 1st line on page 14 reads "low wail of", p.81 fourth line from bottom spells "pieces" correctly, p. 1st line reads "While the Woodman", colophon in 13 lines with no box, verso title page has copyright, imperfect type on pages 100, 186, color plates perfect on p. 34 and 92. 216,  pages. Housed in custom archival box.
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