Our Landlady*

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Author: L. Frank Baum


BAUM, L[yman] Frank. Our Landlady. Edited & annotated by Nancy Tystad Koupal. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press [1996]. 8vo, xiv 285pp. Beige cloth with spine stamped in red. Purple endpapers; pictorial title page and 12 pages of photographs at center. A fine copy in original color pictorial dust jacket (spine lightly sunned). With a bookplate signed by the editor, Nancy Tystad Koupal, laid in.

First complete edition. From January 1890 to February 1891 Baum wrote a column entitled "Our Landlady" that ran regularly in the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer. In all, he wrote forty-eight installments, each treating with practiced naivete the problems facing the brand-new state of South Dakota. Through his fictional landlady, Sairy Ann Bilkins, Baum commented on drought, railroads, suffrage, prairie populism, the Ghost Dance Movement, prohibition, and dozens of other matters. Together, the "Our Landlady" columns constitute a satirical history of South Dakota's troubled first year. Thirteen of the original columns were compiled in a 1941 South Dakota Writers’ Project pamphlet (part of the WPA), but this hardcover volume is the first time that all 48 installments appeared in one volume and is the only publication to include both annotations and a scholarly introduction.