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L. Frank Baum, Author of The Wizard of Oz, Grave and Tombstone, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, photo

L. Frank Baum, Author of The Wizard of Oz, Grave and Tombstone, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, photo

The tombstone and grave site of L. Frank Baum, the author of the well known Wizard of OZ book series. Born on May 15, 1856 at Chittenango, New York as Lyman Frank Baum, he was the seventh born of nine children. Baum was interested in writing from an early age; his first book was published at age 20: The Book of the Hamburgs which was a book about the raising of Hamburgs, a fancy breed of poultry. In 1888 at the age of 32, he moved to the town of Aberdeen, then in Dakota Territory, where he opened a store known as Baum's Bazaar. The store soon failed and Baum then took a position as a newspaper writer and editor. In 1897, Baum published his first book for children: Mother Goose in Prose. This was followed in 1899 by Father Goose, His Book. The book Baum is most known for came in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of OZ. This was followed by thirteen more OZ related books published between 1904 and 1920. Each of the additional OZ books expanded the story of the original characters and locations plus introduced numerous additional characters and locations. Here is the full list of OZ books authored by L. Frank Baum:
1. The Wonderful Wizard of OZ, 1900
2. The Marvelous Land of OZ, 1904
3. Ozma of OZ, 1907
4. Dorothy and the Wizard of OZ, 1908
5. The Road to OZ, 1909
6. The Emerald City of OZ, 1910
7. The Patchwork Girl of OZ, 1913
8. Tik-Tok of OZ, 1914
9. The Scarecrow of OZ, 1915
10. Rinkitink in OZ, 1916
11. The Lost Princess of OZ, 1917
12. The Tin Woodman of OZ, 1918
13. The Magic of OZ, 1919
14. Glinda of OZ, 1920 (published after Baum's death)
After the death of Baum, the OZ series was continued by other authors including Ruth Plumly Thompson and John R. Neill.

Baum was a prolific writer beyond the OZ series. During the years he was writing the OZ series he wrote numerous other non OZ related books, plays, musicals, poems and short stories. During this time he also wrote under a number of other pen names including several female names: Floyd Akers; Laura Bancroft; Louis F. Baum; George Brooks; John Estes Cooke; Capt. Hugh Fitzgerald; Suzanne Metcalf; Schuyler Staunton; and Edith Van Dyne. One his more successful non OZ books during this time was The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, published in 1902. None of the non OZ books ever reached the popularity of the OZ books so he continually returned to the OZ theme for the remainder of his career.

Baum suffered a serious stroke on May 5, 1919 and died on the following day. He was 62 years old. L. Frank Baum and his wife, Maud Gage Baum are buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.

Twenty years after Baum died, The Wonderful Wizard of OZ was introduced to a greatly expanded audience with the release of the 1939 movie The Wizard of OZ, produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In 1956, the movie premiered on television and was re-broadcast numerous times, typically each year during the Christmas season. The Library of Congress states that this is the most watched movie on television of all time. The cast of the movie included:
Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale
Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow
Jack Haley as the Tin Man
Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion
Frank Morgan as six different characters including Professor Marvel and The Wizard
Billie Burke as Glinda, The Good Witch
Margaret Hamilton as The Wicked Witch of the West

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