THE "MARVELOUS" WINDOWS OF OZ
In L. Frank Baum's family scrapbooks there is a tantalizing photograph of a 1904 window display at Siegel & Cooper Co. department store in New York City celebrating the release of Baum's second book, THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ.
The exhibit is lavish with detail: first printing copies of the book abound (in what appears to be both green and red cloth variants of the original binding), large doll like figures recreate the book's endpaper design (dedicated to Fred Stone and David Montgomery as the Scarecrow and Tinman from the 1903 stage production of The Wizard of Oz ) and a large poster teases "What Did The Woggle Bug Say? - a much heralded campaign that offered newspaper readers the chance to win weekly prizes.
Circling the entire window - on hangers and easels of various shapes and sizes are illustration boards, featuring John R. Neill's original pen and ink drawings for the book. The photograph in Baum's scrapbook is grainy, and it's been a fun and fascinating puzzle to try to guess which pieces of artwork are included. With special thanks to the sharp eye of our friend Bill Campbell of The Oz Enthusiast, we think we've been able to solve a bit of the mystery...
Top: Original photograph from Baum's scrapbooks. Bottom: Our estimation of the featured artwork.
Can you guess any of the illustrations hanging in the back?
Interestingly, none of the illustration boards identified here are among the small handful known to have survived. The caption under the photograph states a similar display was at Wanamaker Store in Philadelphia. For those who love to follow New York 'then and now,' the Sixth Avenue location of Siegel and Cooper Co. is currently the home of Bed, Bath and Beyond; the window display still retaining its original green patina molding
Special thanks to The International Wizard of Oz Club for images featured in the L. Frank Baum family scrapbooks.
Brady Schwind is a writer, director, and Oz Enthusiast on a mission to definitively catalogue the existing original artwork from the famed "Famous Forty" Oz books.