Pictures from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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Author: Thos. H. Russell

Illustrator: W.W. Denslow

DENSLOW, W[illiam] W[allace]. Pictures from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. With a Story Telling the Adventures of the Scarecrow, the Tin man and the Little Girl by Thos. H. Russell. Chicago: George W. Ogilvie & Co [1903]. 8vo, 42pp. Oive cloth spine with color pictorial stiff wrappers as covers. 22 color plates. Covers a bit worn, creased, and lightly soiled, else internally a clean, tight copy of this scarce, fragile book.

First and only edition. When the George M. Hill Company went bankrupt in early 1902 George W. Ogilvie purchased the firm’s stock, which included unused plates from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In an attempt to capitalize on the show-stopping success of the recent Wizard of Oz Broadway musical, the sheet of plates had a new, rather nonsensical, text printed on the back and collected into a single volume with a cover featuring Montgomery & Stone in their costumes as the Tin Man and Scarecrow from the hit show. The original title page for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (which was the first of the 24 color plates) is pasted down to the back of the front cover (and can be faintly seen when carefully examined), while a new title is printed on the back of the first plate. This new title, Pictures from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz credit only Denslow, not Baum, and no reference is made to the book other than in the title. As Baum and Denslow were feuding at the time, this may have been an intentional slight on Denslow’s part or simply an oversite on the part of the publisher. It has been theorized that this book may have been produced as a promotional giveaway at the 125th performance of the musical, which given the scarcity of this booklet, is quite conceivable as a full house would have been about 1,000-1,500 people. Interestingly, the story in this pamphlet ends with “the Little Girl” (the names “Dorothy” and “Oz” never appearing in the text) ends with her waking up and discovering that her fantastical adventures had all been a dream. It wasn’t until the 1925 silent film that the idea of Dorothy’s adventures being a dream were introduced into a version of The Wizard of Oz. A rare and fascinating piece of Oz history. Schiller 336; Bievenue 146.