Talk:L. Frank Baum

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Two minor quibbles. According to the article, "Jokes in the script [of the Wizard of Oz play], mostly written by Glen MacDonough, called for explicit references to President Theodore Roosevelt, Senator Mark Hanna, and oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. Although use of the script was rather free-form, the line about Hanna was ordered dropped as soon as Hamlin got word of his death in 2911" (sic). First quibble: the sentence has no period. Second q: the date 2911 is an obvious mistake; however, it is probably not a simple typo for "1911": according to Wikipedia, the senator passed on in 1904. Surely, even in pre-Wiki days, it would not take seven years for the writer of a topical political joke to hear that the butt of his humor had snuffed it! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:01, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

This article as it stands now is way too full of politically correct tut-tutting and preaching. -- Snopes on the coat story, appears it's true. I'm not yet convinced about the birdcage though ;)

sannse 17:44 Mar 12, 2003 (UTC)

I'm convinced the birdcage story is bunk, I've read at least 3 biographies of Baum and none mentioned this (though he did raise fancy birds). And the detail about the morphine is questionable too, though he was very ill and in much pain near the end of his life. It seems unkind to list this, as if it were key, in such a short biography that has so many glaring holes in it. This page needs a lot of work, and I plan to work on it... --Woggly 16:49, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I've removed the sentence: "In his last years Baum was addicted to morphine and wrote most of his books in a large birdcage in his backyard", as this is both questionable and unkind. Also added a bit off the top of my head, there is plenty more to write about this fascinating man. --Woggly 17:05, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I've expanded upon Baum's childhood and youth, and will continue expanding on his adulthood when I have time, today or tomorrow. Also added a link to the International Wizard of Oz Club. --Woggly 10:39, 30 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I have added a mention of Baum's views on the Indians, avoiding the direct use of the words "genocide," "annihilate," "exterminate," etc. I believe that there will probably be many young readers of this page and that the subject of the editorials should therefore be treated delicately. The Wounded Knee link allows people who are interested to read about it in more detail. Gazpacho 04:34, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Women's Sufferage Advocate[edit]

Inaccurate link to radical feminism (historical discrepency). Baum's contemporaries would have been part of the 1st wave feminist movement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:57, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Sally Roesch Wagner, President of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, describes Gage as a radical feminist.--Scottandrewhutchins (talk) 15:53, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Wounded Knee Massacre[edit]

It seems to me that Baum's editorials were satires and not true expressions of actual beliefs. Reading them, I can't help but get the impression that he's trying to show how horrible the treatment of Native American's has been. In his so-called pushing for destruction of the Native Americans, it looks like he's hoping that maybe once people realize the end game of the current policy on Native American's, they will shrink in horror from what they have done. - zboot

I am not qualified to edit anything here, not having read the original or secondary material about this "controversy," but it is probable that the first editorial tries to convey something in an ironic manner about white settlers (their "civilization," their "avocations," [do you know what that word means?] etc.) that is lost in this article. It looks like the reference to Reneau Reneau (I can't access this book) provides this alternative interpretation, although that reference is not incorporated in such a way to balance the literalist reading primarily presented. I'm am sure there is more scholarly work on this subject. I quickly googled and found this from another editorial Baum wrote: " An eastern contemporary, with a grain of wisdom in its wit, says that "when the whites win a fight, it is a victory, and when the Indians win it, it is a massacre." I hope someone can look over this material and do it justice. --CJ — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:20, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Dear Asa, I have reverted your addition to the lead paragraph of this article. I am not trying to hide anything about Baum, there is a link to the Wounded Knee article in the body of this article, and links to the complete text of his editorials. I realise you may feel very strongly offended by these editorials, and I agree that this is an important controversy that must be mentioned in the article - but by making the kind of strong, context-less statement you did in the lead paragraph, you are slanting the article very strongly in a particular direction. I object to that. --Woggly 09:31, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

With respect, that is irrelevant. One question: are the statements you have removed from these two pages factual or not? The context is clear - in articles that advocate Baum as "the creator of one of the most beloved classics of children's literature", in the interests of balance, people should also be made aware that a) he was a massive racist (something my addition does not really address) b) he advocated genocide. Please note I made no commentary on these fact whatsoever. I simply quoted his own words "our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians". The full articles themselves are far more shocking, as I assume you know allready. If I have made a factually incorrect statement, then I would be hapy to correct it, and would be happy to add any relevant "context" you can suggest. Otherwise please undo your deletions. AW

Lets put it this way: how would you react if someone edited the passage on William Shakespeare, to read: has a reputation as the greatest writer the English language has ever known, and was a rabid antisemite. Based on his portrayal of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, this was probably true. But it is hardly representative of the bulk of Shakespeare's work. I'm not going to defend Baum for the editorials he wrote, which I find deeply disturbing, and especially jarring given the contrast between them and anything else I've ever read by Baum. But the fact is, these editorials stand out and are in no way representative of the great majority of Frank Baum's writings, in particular the writings that made him famous. In fact - in contrast to the infamous editorials - the great majority of Baum's writings, in particular the Oz books, actively preach tolerance and love for mankind. Compared to many of his contemporaries, Frank Baum was an unusually liberal, mild-mannered and tolerant man. His beloved mother in law Matilda Gage who usually had a great deal of influence over Baum was known as an activist for Native American rights.

So what happened with these editorials? If I had to plead for Baum, I'd plead temporary insanity. He was living in South Dakota in very hard times, and had suffered a long string of personal failures. His paper was going down the toilet: shortly after he wrote these editorials, the paper folded, and Baum gave up the hard frontier life and packed up his family to leave for Chicago. In the last weeks that his paper was running, Baum apparantly wrote several vicious and unecessary editorials, picking on everyone in sight, including highschool students in Aberdeen. The Ghost Dance scared him, the death of Sitting Bull and the Wounded Knee massacre horrified him. This, combined with his personal failures, lead him to reach bizarre, misguided and reckless conclusions: he was foaming at the mouth when he wrote these editorials. Luckily, Baum was a mediocre columnist of a third-rate newspaper in a second-rate town, and no one was taking his opinions seriously at the time. The only interest in his South Dakota writings is in light of his later success and popularity - but by the time he wrote most of his famous books, he was sane again.

Read the full text of his editorials again. Note that Baum presents a romantic idealization of the noble Indians of the past, as described by Fennimor Cooper. Notice that he puts full blame on the white man for corrupting the Indians, and justifies the hatred that the Indians developed towards the white man. It seems to me that in his own mind, Baum justified a "final solution" of killing off the Indians, by claiming that these were not "real" Indians at all, in effect, de-humanizing them. However, I sincerely doubt he ever thought his wild statements of desperation through to their genocidal outcomes. Had he been in an actual position to advocate policy, I can't imagine this is the policy he would advocate. This is the man that wrote of an ideal society in which criminals are not to be punished, but re-educated and reformed; in which every individual, be it human or animal or sentient object, has an equal right to exist and to seek happiness.

I believe there are degrees of racism. I believe there is a difference between a person like Adolph Hitler, who spent his whole career promoting a genocidal agenda, and a person like William Shakespeare, who spat up a popular racist stereotype that was rampant in his day and age, in response to certain current events of the day. I put it to you that Baum was more like Shakespeare than Hitler. What little hatred there was in Baum's soul took the form of fear and hatred of American Indians, at a low point in his life when he was spitting vitriol. He was usually much better at controlling his demons, which is more than can be said for most men. When examining Baum's life and works, the accursed editorials cannot be ignored - but neither should they be used to disqualify and delegitimize the far more influential and noble body of his writing. --Woggly 19:46, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Your arguments are a straw man. I think Shakespeare's anti-semitism should certainly be mentioned in his entry. The hypothetical sentence you give is irrellevant as it is a single sentence, while the material I added was clearly demarked into a new sentence. You should then, have altered instead of deleteing.
I find your long advocation of Baum as a good human being interesting, but irrellevant regarding your actions. Instead of effectively censoring my addition, why not try to mitigate it instead by prefixing it with something like "in a particularly dark time in his life..."? Or altering it in some other way - perhaps moving it to another part of the article. As I understand it, Wikipedia is a place for facts before advocacy. You are letting a love of a personal idol get in the way of facts.
After another reading, I agree with you that the "Wounded Knee massacre horrified" Baum. He was horrified at the "weak and vacillating... General Miles" who had campaigned against the Sioux in 1876 and 1877. It is clear that he thought Miles and the massacre under Colonel Forsyth did not go far enough, killing as it did only some 300 people. AW
A. It already is in another part of the article.
This is simply false. A very weak statement, about a "controversy" is. There is no controversy. He was a racist who advocated genocide on at least two occasions. Fact. This may or may not have come out in his wider works. I have no idea. Doesn't change the facts though. Incidentally, I find it hard to believe that such a strong, clearly articulated opinion was contained to merely these two articles. However, I have made no such speculation in my censored additions, and neither do I intend to.
B. Now you are putting words in Baum's mouth. You can be certain that if Baum had written anything else, earlier, about massacring Indians, I would know about it. Decisive action is not synonymous with aggressive or violent action.
On the contrary. If anything I was understating his views. Read the editorials again. He says nothing about being "horrified" about the deaths of Indians, he just thought the situation overall was a disaster for his side and did not effectively enough kill Indians. This has nothing to do with earlier statements. It's all there in that editorial, unless you choose not to see it.
C. I'm not arguing with you about the facts or the relevance of these editorials, just about their prominence. By placing the sentence you did where you did, you create the impression that racism was a leading trait of Baum's, which colored his life and works. This is quite simply not true. Many biographies on Wikipedia have a subsection entitled "controversy", usually after first describing the individual's contributions. That's where this belongs, too.
And finally, as to my idolizing Baum: I read many books when I was a child, and loved them to bits. I read anything I could get my hands on by Roald Dahl and Hugh Lofting, for example. One only needs to read a Hugh Lofting books through adult eyes to see what a racist he was. Roald Dahl's fiction, too, is imbued with a contempt for mankind and a gleeful vindictive streak, so that I wasn't the least bit surprised to learn that he had repulsive political views. There's a reason I stay loyal to Baum, and not these other authors. He was no politician, he contradicted himself right and left, but overall in his books he promoted love, tolerance and respect for the idiosycracies of others. Presenting him as primarily a racist is a distortion. --Woggly 06:22, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Once again, you are avoiding the issue. I repeat my point: if you are only arguing about the prominance of my additions then why did you censor and not ammend? Please fix this by putting my material back into the two articles, ammended as you see fit. AW
Once again, I repeat, in my opinion the topic is adequately addressed in the last paragraph of this article. (See also above section, where Gazpacho explains his her/wording). The controversy is mentioned, and there is a link to the Wounded Knee Massacre article. There is also an external link to the full text of the editorials. This is not what I call censorship. I've also added a section NPOV tag for your benefit, which points interested readers towards this discussion. As to the article The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I don't feel that this issue is relevant there at all: the issue at question is Frank Baum, not the book he wrote several years later, in which there is not a hint of Baum's views on Native Americans, be they as they were. If this is not sufficient for you, you are welcome to make your own changes, which I may contest if they still strike me as unbalanced. Woggly 08:17, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Since you added it for my benefit, I've removed the NPOV tag, as I can accept the article as it currently stands, after my reintroduction of the facts that you removed from the page. I've moved them to the later paragraph, for your benefit, as you seem to be more acceptable towards this. The previous formulation, presenting it as merely an opinion of "some Native American groups" was inadaquate and marginalising (besides I am a white man and I have come to this opinion independantly). Ths fact of his racism is just that - a fact. It is not a "controversy". This is true even if (as you assert and I find difficult to believe) it was confined to these two editorials. It is a fact even if it is contextualised by comparison to the racist standards of the day. AW
When I refer to controversy, all I mean is that there is a point in contention. I don't believe I've denied any fact you've put forth here or in the article. My disagreement with you is more a matter of what weight should be given to the facts. I feel that you seeing things in terms of black and white, and I'm trying to point out shades of gray. The problem with shades of gray is that it is a slippery slope, I don't mean to justify racism or atrocities commited in the name of some kind of greater good any more than you do, most likely. But the problem with black and white is that you'll end up never seeing any good in anyone. I sincerely believe that if you dig around enough in most great people's pasts, you'll find some things you really wish you hadn't found.
In any case, please do not remove the NPOV tag until we've reached a wording that we can both live with. Woggly 15:00, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I removed it because you said it was for my benefit. If you want to add it for *your* benefit, that is fine. AW


Asa - I have no time yet to edit the change you made, but I will. I promise you that I am trying to be balanced, and not just automatically undo your contributions. When you refer to the stereotypes against African Americans - I assume one of them is the "Hottentot" race in The Patchwork Girl of Oz, but which is the second you refer to? --Woggly 13:54, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

In Rinkitink in Oz. According to AW
Then read a little more carefully. What was removed by Books of Wonder from Rinkitink in Oz was one of the illustrations by John R. Neill. Nothing in Baum's text was altered. Baum and Neill never met in person to work on the books, Baum would turn his texts in and Neill would illustrate them. This is hardly testimony to Baum's racism. As for The Patchwork Girl of Oz: when you write of "perpetuating racial stereotypes", I have to wonder, have you actually read the passages in question, or just jumped to conclusion based on the summary on Eric Gjovaag's webpage? Eric was giving these passages as an example of "censorship" of Baum's text. Several Oz fans were FURIOUS at Books of Wonder for making the very minor changes that they made to their books (sold as "facsimiles of the original") in the name of politically correctness - among other reasons, because some of them did not feel the sentences in question to be that offensive to begin with. Once again, it's a question of degree. I can't honestly say that there's nothing racist in Baum's depiction of the non-human Hottentots - but just to give some perspective, there are more negative racial stereotypes in one page of Huckleberry Finn than in all the Oz books put together. Roald Dahl's Oompah Loompahs are by far more offensive (though toned down in later editions), and Roald Dahl was probably far more aware of the implications of the stereotypes he was using. I understand that you're looking for evidence showing Baum to be a racist. I can almost guarantee it will be a lot easier to find evidence that Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa and Ghandi were racists. --Woggly 16:05, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I have no idea why you keep on bringing up the racism of other authors and famous figures, except to divert attention from the issues. All that has no bearing on the present article, as I've already added the qualification "Like many Americans of his day". Go and change those articles and point out their racism too if you have the time and inclination.
As to your substantive point: note my wording "work" and "author". If I had chosen "writer", then that might have warranted a change in wording. Are you suggesting a famous author had no influence on the illustrations in his own work? If he had had the illustrations changed during his lifetime then, although the racist stereotype would still have been perpetutated, it would have shown that he himself did not share such missconceptions. As it was, we have no reason to think he did not (on the contrary, he was a man who advocated genocide against another racial group). If you want to expand that sentence to clarify the difference between the drawing itself and the approval of the drawing, feel free. AW
When Baum denounced the Indians as "whining curs who lick the hand that smites them," he was observing something that Sitting Bull had also observed—the development of the plains Indians from independent people to wards of a hostile government, in Sitting Bull's words, "slaves to a piece of fat bacon." I grant that the government left them no real choice, but I still object to identifying Baum's "whining curs" remark as "de-humanizing" when Sitting Bull made the same observation more eloquently.
We need not get into the question of the politics of racist terminology (e.g. the word "nigger" coming from a black man has different implications(OH DOES IT?? You just keep lying to yourself old son, just keep it up!!)). Sitting Bull did not use the term, "whining curs", to my knowledge, so your point is simply moot. It is clear that Baum thought of the Indians as some sort of untermensch from his use of the word "creatures" to describe them. In the light of this comment, as well as the whole context of the two editorials "whining curs" has clear implications - "they" are not as good, pure or human as "us"; therefore the supreme crime of genocide against them is really no crime at all.
Also, I never removed the word "annihilated," I just linked it to genocide. Gazpacho 13:34, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Well, you did remove it in one of your revisions. But -fair enough- you put it back in the final one of the series. Sorry - my comment was based on an initial mixup between versions.
The figure of 300 was gleaned from the Massacre article itself and I have no reason to doubt it. In includes those from Wounded knee who died afterwards as a result of their displacement. I have now clarified this. AW

Disingeneous? The section on Redskins (Native Americans) is quite clear: Baum wanted them dead, which seems extreme at the least However, to go on about the term niggers etc is a bit disingeneous as that was the normal term used in that time. Of course, with current values having changed - and niggers or negroes being derogatory in the US, IIUC - a person using "niggers" casually would seem strange and racist. My point is that probably every white person at that time was strange and raciest - perhaps a good thing to point out.

Section dispute resolution[edit]

Since Woggly and Gazpacho have not edited this page for over a week, can I assume that you no longer dispute that section's neutrality? If not then please make your edits. I'll wait a week or so for you to reply before removing the NPOV dispute tag. AW

No objection. Gazpacho 03:59, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I actually still do dispute it, just did not have the time for serious edits. Please do not remove the tag yet. --Woggly 07:06, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Fair enough, but please be aware that AFAIK the NPOV tag is supposed to be a temporary measure. I ask that you make your changes as soon as possible. AW 16:19, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)
"The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries, we had better, inorder to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth. In this lies future safety for our settlers and the soldiers who are under incompetent commands. Otherwise, we may expect future years to be as full of trouble with the redskins as those have been in the past." - is the quote that is currently disputed as 'racist'. It is clear, however, that when properly contextualized, it is satirical in nature. archaios
I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you're joking. AW 10:24, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
In isolation, it seems satirical to me. Has anyone the proper perspective? Was L.F.B. a seriously genocidal, dark hour of his soul or not, or was he rather a satirist?--Fred 09:50, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

There's nothing I'd like more than to relieve LFB of the charge of racism, but I don't agree that these paragraphs can be clearly labeled satire. Yes, he wrote plenty of satire, and no, he wrote nothing else that can be interpreted as any kind of a racist *plan*, whether or not he had some incidentally racist opinions. But I don't think he was trying to be funny in these two editorials, not that I quite understand what *was* going through his mind at the time. --Woggly 10:15, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Woggly: As it's been so long since your last edit of this article, I've removed the NPOV dispute tag. I don't think this is unreasonable since the tag implies a current, ongoing debate. If you have a problem with this please edit the article rather than just putting the tag back. AW 01:02, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

It's POV to reject the political allegory interpretation out of hand, even as it has received extensive treatment in scholarly journals and textbooks. True the Baum fans strongly dislike the political angle, but they are unable to explain why there are so many obvious political references in the 1900 book (done with Denslow) and very few in later Oz books (done without Denslow). Political cartoonists as early as 1906 used Oz scenes and characters in editorial cartoons, and often do so today. RJensen Rjensen 02:35, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

I don't really have time to edit the article, I happen to be currently translating a biography of Baum. Actually, this whole article on Baum is pretty bad, partly my fault for devoting so much space to his early life and then running out of time to write the more important parts. I'm not happy with how you've presented the facts, but it will just have to stay that way until I can fix it. --Woggly 08:57, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Oz[edit]

I have created a new WikiProject about Oz: WikiProject Oz. I hope to create a community to help guide the continued development of the articles about the series and its authors, characters, etc. toward even more quality articles. If you are interested, please add your name under the "Participants section" and please leave any comments or questions on the project's talk page or my user talk page. [[User:JonMoore|— —JonMoore 20:24, 29 May 2006 (UTC)]] 23:51, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

POV in Politics[edit]

I revised the allegory section to make clear that the people who love the 14-volume series do not want to see any political allegories, while historians of the 1890s celebrate the original 1900 book as the best expression of political ideas in American fiction. These are two contrasting POVs and the article should point them out and not tell readers that one is true and one is false. What did Baum himself think? He never said much on tne subject. What did Baum's children think? They knew nothing about the 1890s and were not old enough when the 1900 book was written to understand politics, so their views as literary critics do not carry much weight. Rjensen 00:21, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Since the political interpretations now have their own article, I've summarized the arguments on this page and added Template:seemain. I hope that I've done justice to both sides and that the summary is NPOV. In an edit summary, The stuart expressed a concern that the section would grow unduly. If all parties can agree on a summary section (not necessarily mine) we could add a note in hidden text saying something like "This is a summary of arguments for and against the political interpretations of The Wizard of Oz. Detailed discussion is at Political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." This would encourage additions and emendations to be put in the spin-out article rather than here. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 17:47, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

The Theosophical argument is much stronger than the political argument, as it can be demonstrated through all 14 books, while the political cannot. --Scottandrewhutchins 17:56, 12 November 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't the quotations be moved to Wikiquote? Most biographical articles, even of authors, don't have as many detailed quotations... —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 05:37, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Agree absolutely. The article is far too long. I've never edited Wikiquote, so please could someone else do it? --woggly 05:57, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Done, although I hadn't edited Wikiquote myself before today... —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 21:13, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

blatant apologism[edit]

After hearing about how several of Baum's descendants have gone to the Sioux to apologize for the editorials he wrote I came to see what the wiki had to say. I find apologistic double talk stating Baum didn't actually mean what he said and free-ranging interpretations of pretty straightforward events that beggars the imagination. Examples:

  • The article states By the editorial's end, he described them as "whining curs" in sharp contrast to the opening lines of the same editorial in which he speaks respectfully of Sitting Bull and expressed contempt for the behavior of white men toward him.* I have just added the editorial to wikisource (The Sitting Bull editorial) and Sitting Bull is clearly described as admirable for his "white man's spirit of hatred and revenge" and that the Indians merit genocide because Sitting Bull was the last worthy person among them.
  • The clause "written when he was ill and the community was living in terror" inserted into the sentence about the editorials needs to be sourced. The "The South Dakota years" section in the bio says nothing about either an illness or source of fear. If he was under such immense stress and hardship that he temporarily lost his mind and a call for genocide just slipped out, twice, why isn't this stress mentioned in his bio section?
  • The article spends a paragraph about how Matilda Joslyn Gage was an adopted Mohawk (in 1893, after the time in question), and doesn't really point out that she was a white feminist from New York. If anything, the lack of an recorded argument casts doubt on Gage's Indian advocacy credentials rather than excuse Baum.
  • In Aunt Jane's Nieces and Uncle John: "He even used a fictional tribe, the Moki, in order to avoid any particular attack." The editorials make quite clear that he thought the Indians were great in the mythical past and that the actual Indians were miserable wretches who would be better off put out of their misery. I don't see how he could say anything positive about an actual tribe, so this positive portrayal of made-up Indians isn't particularly surprising. The ending "in order to avoid any particular attack" is telling. If this was a positive portrayal, why could it be perceived as an "attack"? Or is it not so positive?
  • This point is reinforced in the description of the Navajo in Aunt Jane's Nieces and Uncle John: He describes them (presumably reflecting how his characters see them) as "uninteresting," "lazy", and "filthy", and "unfortunate", conditions that many Native Americans would describe reservations as being like today The attempt to explain away the racism here is so strained that it actually requires the apologism at the end of the sentence to ignore the subject of the sentence. Baum was not describing the reservation; he was describing the people in the reservation.

The advocacy nature of the writing is clear from the wordiness, e.g. "It is unfortunate", "It should also be pointed", and "It should be noted". Let's get this out of the way: Baum called for the murder of every Indian. The context of such a call both in terms of his life and society as a whole would be both interesting and encyclopedic. Desperate attempts to state that he somehow didn't really do any such thing, that he wasn't really aware of what he was doing, or that he didn't really mean it when he said it are both unconvincing and unencyclopedic.

I have made significant changes, removed the long quote from the first editorial that was seemingly attributed to the second, removed much of the phrasing that served only to get between the reader and facts being presented, and added a ref. - BT 15:29, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Scottandrewhutchins 12:04, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Ooh, is this aimed at me? Source? Though I should note that it'll probably take me another year and half to return and see the reply. (My goodness, I must have been irritated in the above post.) - BanyanTree 11:51, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh, interesting. I would obviously dispute his interpretation of my post but, since the section in question appears to have expanded in the past year and half, it seems the issue is moot. Thanks, BanyanTree 20:57, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

I have a problem with this paragraph:

These editorials are the only known occasion on which Baum expressed such direct views. For example, aside from the vocabulary, he did acknowledge many Americans of non-White ancestry in The Woggle Bug Book to an extent unheard of in other 1905 children's publications.[citation needed] The short story, "The Enchanted Buffalo", which purports to be a American Indian fable, speaks respectfully of Indians.

The Woggle-Bug Book is easily the most racist work of fiction in Baum's oeuvre. "The Enchanted Buffalo" does not purport to be an Ameircan Indiana fable--it says it's a tale of the tribe of the Okolom. This is not even a fictional Indian triebe--it is the tribe of buffalo, and is done from the point of view of the buffalo. There is a passing reference toward the end saying that the Utes, Apaches, and Commanches were aware of the story and incoprorated it into their legends, but it's matter-of-fact and cannot really be judged as respectful or disrespectful. In Aunt Jane's Nieces and Uncle John he describes poor conditions in two Indian reservations, and has his characters repulsed by a ritual with rattlesnakes. While the poor conditions of the reservations are not blamed on the Indians, they one of the tribes is said to be lazy, and the other blatantly commercial. There is little or nothing to indict the government for establishing the reservations other than making them appear as an unfortunate ghetto imposed upon them. --Scottandrewhutchins (talk) 14:51, 23 August 2008 (UTC)


I don't know how many people would actually want to use the disambiguation notice, but Whitman was being intentionally ambiguous by crediting the author of The Laughing Dragon of Oz as "Frank Baum", so I thought it might be worth including, even though there are other links to him in the article already. --Scottandrewhutchins 15:30, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Why is it so hard to place people within the times they lived? Baum certainly reflected prevailing attititudes, Sioux = dangerous, "Hottentots" = inferior people in the chain of being, but he was no raving racist or genicidist. He raised his kids in ethical culture!

--Shrinkie89 19:03, 18 March 2007 (UTC)



Because that is a separate, lengthy page worthy of its own article. --Scottandrewhutchins 17:35, 29 November 2006 (UTC)


Under the photo, Baum s birthplace is listed as Chittenango but in the article it is listed as Rochester. I am pretty sure it's Chittenango. Fix please.

Thank You :-)--Melisandebrat 02:34, 14 May 2007 (UTC)melisandebrat

"door to door"[edit]

The section L._Frank_Baum#Baum_becomes_an_author said that the sucess of a book allowed him to quit his "door to door" job. Since the last jobs listed were journalism, I suspect "day to day" was intended. I just deleted the modifier as unnecessary. Pete St.John 18:14, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

He was working as a traveling salesman. --Scottandrewhutchins 20:13, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

First Modernist Fairytales?[edit]

Just a couple of thoughts: Wizard = Edison? Emerald City = Electrified Chicago for world's Faire? Stories being reported back via wireless telegraphy? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Utilly (talkcontribs) 22:54, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Descendant of Thomas Stanton[edit]

I've removed this assertion, which was added by an anonymous editor in January 2006 and has been unreferenced ever since. While of course not definitive, a quick Google search on " 'Cynthia Stanton' 'Thomas Stanton' " turns up only Cynthias who would have been far too old to bear Baum in 1856. If someone can provide a reliable source, please add the sentence back in; but otherwise it should stay out. Thanks. JohnInDC (talk) 19:25, 23 May 2013 (UTC)


Quoting the present Contents:

6 Bibliography

6.1 Oz works
6.2 Non-Oz works
6.3 Short stories
6.4 Under pseudonyms
6.5 Miscellanea
6.6 Plays and adaptations
6.7 The Wizard of Oz on screen and back to stage

The first six sections evidently cover works by Baum, the usual scope of an embedded list of works (usual heading 6. Works or Selected works). The last is not in list format but a prose account of adaptations by others (usual format new section 7. Adaptations).

Subsecs 2, 4, 5 include no Oz works. Subsec 1 is all Oz, subsecs 3 and 6 include some Oz works; none of those three makes clear its relation to Oz works. Nor does 6.1 annotate The Woggle-Bug Book or distinguish the 14 novels that the "main" List of Oz books emphasizes.

Evidently all Oz works by Baum were published under his own name. Offhand I suggest: say that in preface to new section 6.1 Oz that covers novels, short stories, plays and adaptations by Baum (perhaps incompletely with appropriate linkage to the List of Oz books, but it should be clear which subsections are complete on this page). New section 6.2 Other works as by Baum covers novels, short stories, plays and adaptations (all of 6.2, 6.5; some of 6.3, 6.6). Then 6.3 Under pseudonyms.

--P64 (talk) 21:02, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

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