About Lyman Frank Baum
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L. Frank Baum
Born May 15, 1856(1856-05-15)
Chittenango, New York
Died May 6, 1919(1919-05-06) (aged 62)
Lyman Frank Baum (May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919) was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He wrote thirteen novel sequels, nine other fantasy novels, and a host of other works (55 novels in total (plus four "lost" novels), 82 short stories, over 200 poems, an unknown number of scripts, and many miscellaneous writings), and made numerous attempts to bring his works to the stage and screen. His works predicted such century-later commonplaces as television, laptop computers (The Master Key), wireless telephones (Tik-Tok of Oz), and the ubiquity of advertising on clothing (Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work).Baum was born in Chittenango, New York in 1856, into a devout Methodist family of German (paternal line) and Scots-Irish (maternal line) origin, the seventh of nine children born to Cynthia Stanton and Benjamin Ward Baum, only five of whom survived into adulthood. He was named "Lyman" after his father's brother, but always disliked this name, and preferred to go by his middle name, "Frank". His mother, Cynthia Stanton, was a direct descendant of Thomas Stanton, one of the four Founders of what is now Stonington, Connecticut.
1856 Lyman Frank Baum is born on 15 May in Chittennango, NY (near Syracuse). His father is a barrel maker, who subsequently goes into the oil business and becomes wealthy.
1866-1880 As a young boy and then teenager he starts up several newspapers and a magazine. In his late teens he becomes interested in the theater, and his father gives him a number of theaters and operas in New York and Pennsylvania to manage.
1881 Writes and publishes a successful musical play, "The Maid of Arran".
1882 Marries Maud Gage. Her mother is a leading figure in the Women's Rights Movement of the time, and a close associate of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.
1887-1891 Baum's father dies and the family fortunes wane. A number of Maud's family have moved to the Dakota Territory, so Frank, Maud, and children join them in Aberdeen (South Dakota). For several years he operates a store, "Baum's Bazaar." It falls victim to hard times in 1890, so he turns to running the local weekly newspaper, "The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer."
1891 When the newspaper fails, Frank and family move to Chicago where he takes a job as a reporter for the "Evening Post." To make ends meet he also works as a traveling salesman for a china company. He develops characters and situation outlines while on these trips to help him with story telling to his children when back at home.
1897 Teamed with illustrator Maxfield Parrish, he publishes his first childrens book, "Mother Goose in Prose". It becomes a modest success and allows him to end his traveling job, which has been difficult for his health.
1899 Teamed with illustrator William Wallace Denslow, he publishes "Father Goose, His Book." It is an instant success becoming the best selling childrens book of the year.
1900 The Baum-Denslow team produce another best seller, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Having produced the nation's best selling childrens book for two years running, Baum's reputation as a writer is firmly established.
1902 Baum and Denslow team up with Paul Tietjens and Julien Mitchell to produce an "adultized" version of the Wizard of Oz as a musical extravaganza stage play. It becomes a major hit, touring the nation, and having a 293 night run on Broadway (1902 through 1911).
1902-1908 Baum continues to write childrens books under his own and various pen names. Begins the Oz series with the first sequel in 1904, "The Marvelous Land of Oz."
1908 Baum produces a traveling film show, a combination of theater and motion picture, titled "Fairylogue and Radio-Plays". It is very expensive to produce and stage, and being for children it is not profitable, so it closes by the end of the year. (The film is subsequently released in 1910 by Selig as four short movies.)
1910 Frank Baum and his family move to Hollywood, California. His home there becomes known as "Ozcot". He continues to write and publish childrens books.
1914 With several business associates, Baum forms the Oz Film Manufacturing Company. Their studio is located next to the Universal Film Company. They make a number of films based on the Oz books, but the movie audiences judge them to be for children and the films are not successful. At this early stage of the motion picture industry a children's market has not yet developed. In effect, Baum was before his time! So the Oz Film Manufacturing Company was sold to Universal.
1915-1919 In failing health, Baum continues to write more childrens books, include one Oz story each year.
1919 L. Frank Baum dies on 5 May, leaving America bereft of its most beloved storyteller of the time. His last book, "Glinda of Oz," is posthumously published in 1920.
Frank was born in Chittenango, New York, into a Protestant family of German (father's side) and English/Scots-Irish (mother's side) origin, the seventh of nine children born to Cynthia Stanton and Benjamin Ward Baum, only five of whom survived into adulthood. He was named "Lyman" after his father's brother, but always disliked this name, and preferred to go by "Frank". His mother, Cynthia Stanton, was a direct descendant of Thomas Stanton, one of the four Founders of what is now Stonington, Connecticut.
Benjamin Baum was a wealthy businessman, who had made his fortune in the oil fields of Pennsylvania. Frank grew up on his parents' expansive estate, Rose Lawn, which he always remembered fondly as a sort of paradise. As a young child Frank was tutored at home with his siblings, but at the age of 12 he was sent to study at Peekskill Military Academy. Frank was a sickly child given to daydreaming, and his parents may have thought he needed toughening up. But after two utterly miserable years at the military academy, following an incident described as a heart attack, he was allowed to return home.
Frank started writing at an early age, perhaps due to an early fascination with printing. His father bought him a cheap printing press, and Frank used it to produce The Rose Lawn Home Journal with the help of his younger brother, Harry Clay Baum, with whom he had always been close. The brothers published several issues of the journal and were even able to sell ads. By the time he was 17, Baum had established a second amateur journal, The Stamp Collector, printed an 11-page pamphlet called Baum's Complete Stamp Dealers' Directory, and started a stamp dealership with his friends.
At about the same time Frank embarked upon his lifetime infatuation with the theater, a devotion which would repeatedly lead him to failure and near-bankruptcy. His first such failure occurred at age 18, when a local theatrical company duped him into replenishing their stock of costumes, with the promise of leading roles that never came his way. Disillusioned, Baum left the theatre—temporarily—and went to work as a clerk in his brother-in-law's dry goods company in Syracuse.
At the age of 20, Baum took on a new vocation: the breeding of fancy poultry, which was a national craze at the time. He specialized in raising a particular breed of fowl, the Hamburg chicken. In 1880 he established a monthly trade journal, The Poultry Record, and in 1886, when Baum was 30 years old, his first book was published: The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief Treatise upon the Mating, Rearing, and Management of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs.
Yet Baum could never stay away from the stage long. He continued to take roles in plays, performing under the stage names of Louis F. Baum and George Brooks.
In 1880 his father made him manager of a string of theaters that he owned, and Baum set about writing plays and gathering a company to act in them. The Maid of Arran, a musical melodrama based on William Black's novel A Princess of Thule, proved a great success. Baum not only wrote the play but composed songs for it, and acted in the leading role. His aunt, Katharine Gray, played his character's aunt, and she hired him to teach theatre, including stage business, playwriting, directing, and translating (French, German, and Italian), revision, and operettas at Syracuse Oratory School, which she founded.
On November 9, 1882, Baum married Maud Gage, a daughter of Matilda Joslyn Gage, a then famous women's suffrage activist. - 
L. Frank Baum's Timeline
May 15, 1856
Chittenango, Madison, NY, US
Salina, Onondaga, NY, US
November 9, 1882
Fayetteville, Onondaga, NY, US
December 4, 1883
Syracuse, Onondaga, NY, US
February 12, 1886
Syracuse, Onondaga, NY, US
December 17, 1889
Aberdeen, Brown, SD, US
March 24, 1891
Aberdeen, Brown, SD, US
May 5, 1919
Ozcot Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, US