The excellent BibliOdyssey blog has a post up today about an original imprint of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, illustrated by William Wallace Denslow (1856-1915).
I first read this classic in this very form as a child. I've since lost possession of the book (was a really old copy) -- so these beautiful scans are bringing back many memories. Snip:
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' was an innovative book not least because of the twenty four full colour plates and myriad monochromatic illustrations in which the colour changed according to the location in the story (Kansas = grey, Emerald City = green and so on). With the illustrative vignettes often encroaching on the text area, the type was cleverly printed over the top of the coloured images. Such elaborate printing techniques again required that Baum and Denslow fund the printing costs and the book was published by George M Hill and Company of Chicago and New York in 1900 for $1.50 per copy. It was apparently successful.
Each of the books in which Baum and Denslow collaborated was held in joint copyright and it was probably inevitable that these two successful and strongly individual types would end up having royalty conflicts. Denslow published magazine and book illustrations featuring characters from the Goose and Oz books without Baum's knowledge. The partnership ultimately ended over a dispute about the division of spoils from the Broadway musical of Oz in 1902. Denslow continued to produce many successful childrens books and with the fortune amassed from this and his previous work with Baum, he bought an island near Bermuda and installed himself as King, under the hippocampus flag.
You can buy a reprint of this version of the book, with Denslow's illustrations, on Amazon: Link.
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