|Lyman Frank Baum was born May 15, 1856 in Chittenango, New York. His education consisted of being tutored at home and attending Peekskill Military Academy, Peekskill, New York, for two years. From 1878 to 1883 he was an actor and playwright. Baum wrote, produced and acted in his own plays touring as far West as Kansas. After marrying Maud Gage in 1881, he worked as a traveling salesman selling axle grease and other products manufactured by the family business, Baum’s Castorine.|
Baum and his wife moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota in 1888 where Baum opened a variety store called Baum’s Bazaar. Due to a depression and drought, the store failed in 1890. Undaunted, Baum quickly started the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer. As editor, he used his imagination to create the column called “Our Landlady” who “commented on all things going on in Aberdeen.” Baum was also known for his evening story telling time with the local children. Unfortunately, the paper failed in 1891 and the Baum’s next moved to Chicago. He again worked as a traveling salesman, this time for a china-ware company. He also wrote stories for several newspapers. At the urging of his mother-in-law, he wrote his first book, "Mother Goose in Prose" in 1897. This book launched his career and he went on to write many books for children, young adults and adults both under his own name and seven pseudonyms. The most famous of Baum’s work is "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Countless children’s letters urged him to write 13 more Oz titles during his lifetime. The Oz series has been loved and enjoyed by many generations. It is believed that Baum’s description of Kansas in the Wizard of Oz is really based on his experiences in South Dakota.
Historians and scholars have discovered much about L. Frank Baum’s early life and literary works by studying his imaginative editorials and writings in the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer and the years he spent in South Dakota.
L. Frank Baum passed away on May 16, 1919 at his home, “Ozcot” in Hollywood, California. He is buried in the family plot at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California.
|Home Town (Chittenango, NY)|