Tag Archives: broadsides

L Frank Baum’s Forgotten Foray into Theatre


Baum with the cast of ‘Fairylogue and Radio-Plays’ (1908)

Though L Frank Baum is best known as the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the famed author had a rich and varied career. His accomplishments include trade magazines and newspapers, along with an oft-forgotten play based on his sequels to Wizard of Oz.

Early Literary Aptitude

L_Frank_Baum_CadetBorn on May 15, 1856, Lyman Frank Baum was a sickly child. Particularly fond of fairy tales and British authors like Charles Dickens, Baum spent much of his time reading. But Baum found fault with fairy tales because they were so often frightening and gruesome. He would later note, “One thing I never liked then…was the introduction of witches and goblins into the story. I didn’t like the little dwarfs in the woods bobbing up with their horrors.” Thus, from an early age, Baum resolved to write a different kind of fairy tale.

But his first literary exertions weren’t fairy tales: Baum started his own newspaper, The Rose Lawn Home Journal with a printing press purchased by his father. Baum took the publication quite seriously, writing news pieces and editorials, along with poetry, word games, and fiction. The young man’s paper did quite well, and a number of local businesses purchased advertising space in its pages. In 1873, Baum launched two more papers, The Empire and The Stamp Collector.

Meanwhile it had become quite fashionable to breed chickens and other fowl. Baum took up breeding Hamburgs and won several awards with his birds. He also launched The Poultry Record, a magazine devoted to breeding and raising poultry. The publication was rather successful. Then in 1886, Baum published his first book, The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief Treatise upon the Mating, Rearing, and Management of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs.

A Love for Theatre


Baum as Hugh Holcomb in ‘The Maid of Arran’

Baum also found time to nurture his interest in theatre. He frequently memorized passages of Shakespeare and even founded a Shakespearean troupe with his father’s financial backing. The elder Baum had made a fortune in the family business and purchased a number of opera houses in Pennsylvania and New York. He entrusted their management to his son in 1880. Baum proved quite adept, even delving into writing his own plays. The Maid of Arran, considered Baum’s first major literary work, met with immediate success.

But with the decline of the Baum’s father’s health and two unlucky episodes with swindling employees, Baum was left virtually penniless. His wife, Maud, suggested that the family move West. They settled in Dakota territory, where Baum opened a general store called Baum’s Bazaar. Soon Baum had made a reputation for two things: storytelling and extending credit. Thanks to Baum’s generous spirit and a drought that left most of his customers destitute, the bank foreclosed on Baum’s Bazaar in 1890, only two years after it opened. Baum established The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, acting as reporter, printer, and salesman all in one. But that, too, failed in 1891.

Return to Authorship

That year, Baum decided to move his family to Chicago. The World Columbian Exposition was there, so employment opportunities were plentiful. First Baum worked as a reporter for the Evening Post, but the paltry pay was hardly enough to support a family. Next he went into sales for the china company Pitkin & Brooks. He was often on the road. His mother-in-law, noted feminist Matilda Gage, moved in to help with the Baum children. It was she who encouraged Baum to write down the fairy tales he spun for his children and their young friends.

Baum frequented the Chicago Press Club when he wasn’t traveling. It’s been conjectured that Baum met illustrator Maxfield Parrish, resulting in Mother Goose in Prose (1897). But so far as we know, the two never actually met; Chauncey Williams of Way and Williams negotiated for Parrish’s illustrations in the children’s book. Williams also served as publisher of The Show Window when the journal was launched in 1897. The magazine gave Baum an opportunity to make a living without traveling as a salesman.

A Serendipitous Acquaintance

L Frank Baum

This photograph considered a fake, merely an actor holding a facsimile version of the 1st edition.

Soon Baum made the acquaintance of William W Denslow. Though the two had disparate personalities, they decided to collaborate on a companion to Mother Goose in Prose. Together they published Father Goose, His Book in 1899. The beloved book spurred Songs of Father Goose. The pair worked on a few more project, most notably The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Baum had originally submitted the story with the title The Emerald City, which publishers Hill and Company rejected. They finally agreed on a new title, and the first edition appeared in May, 1900.

Two years later, Baum collaborated with Paul Tietjens and Julian P Mitchell on an adult musical adaptation of Wizard of Oz. A major success, the production toured all over America. The country was absolutely infatuated with the land of Oz and its whimsical characters. Baum published a total of thirteen Oz books and six short Oz stories and came to be known as the “Royal Historian of Oz.” The Ozmapolitan, a promotional piece, was issued in 1904 to help Reilly & Britton advertise The Marvelous Land of Oz, which was the new firm’s first publication. Occasional later versions of The Ozmapolitan were also issued.

Baum_Bancroft_Twinkles_EnchantmentThough he indulged his audience with all these tales of Oz, he longed to delve into other projects. Baum often used pseudonyms for these endeavors, so that he didn’t have to worry about their critical reception. One notable project was Aunt Jane’s Nieces, a series for teenage girls Baum published under the pen name Edith Van Dyne. He also wrote under the names Laura Bancroft, Floyd Akres, Captain Hugh Fitzgerald, Suzanne Metcalf, and John Estes Cooke.

Baum also launched a traveling show called “Fairylogue and Radio Plays.” The show featured live actors costumed as characters from several of Baum’s fantasy books, a live orchestra, motion-picture clips, and colored lantern slides. Baum traveled with the show as master of ceremonies. The endeavor proved a commercial failure.

Return to the Stage

In 1913, The Tik-Tok Man of Oz made its debut on the stage. Producer Oliver Morosco inserted three songs he wrote (with music composed by Victor Schertzinger). Billed as “a companion play to The Wizard of Oz, The Tik-Tok Man of Oz met with great success in Los Angeles, but didn’t resonate with other audiences. Chicago critics were particularly unimpressed. Though the show made money, Morosco decided not to keep producing it.

Only an early manuscript of the musical is extant, and the play probably would have faded into obscurity were it not for the published music and advertisements. Promotional materials for the production have proven exceedingly rare; a survey of auction records and other online sources indicate only two extant playbills. One, from December 2, 1913 at the Babcock Theatre in Billings, Montana, comes from the collection of Fred M Meyer and can be viewed at the International Wizard of Oz Club website. The other, from the play’s opening night in San Francisco on April 21, 1913, is pictured here. We’re proud to offer this item as one of this month’s select acquisitions, which features a diverse collection of broadsides.

We invite you to peruse the entire list! Should you have a question about any item, please feel free to contact us.

Many thanks to our esteemed friend Peter E Hanff for his contributions to this article. The Deputy Director of the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, Hanff is a great scholar of L Frank Baum. He collaborated with Douglas G Greene on Bibliographia Oziana, the main bibliographic record and resource on Oz literature. 


A Brief History of Broadsides

“Broadsides are the most legitimate representatives of the most ephemeral literature, the least likely to escape destruction, and yet they are the most vivid exhibitors of the manners, arts, and daily life, of communities and nations. They imply a vast deal more than they literally express, and disclose visions of interior conditions of society, such as cannot be found in formal narratives.”

-Samuel F Haven

Samuel F Haven, former librarian for the American Antiquarian Society, presided over one of the largest collections of broadsides in the world. Historians and rare book collectors alike cherish broadsides because they offer snapshots of moments in time, helping us to understand the zeitgeist of that era. Broadsides make ideal complements to a rare book collection, granting the collection greater depth and context.

What a Broadside Is (and Isn’t)

Broadsides are single-sheet documents that are printed on only one side. They’re sometimes also called broadsheets. They’re different from handbills, which are smaller and printed on both sides. Broadsides should also not be confused with leaflets or booklets, which are folded from a single sheet of paper. The size of broadsides varies greatly, but they are generally smaller than posters and billboards.

Early broadsides didn’t include illustrations. They were simple documents printed in black ink. As printing processes got more sophisticated over time, the broadside also evolved. They began to include stock illustrations done from copper or wood engravings and eventually bore more intricate and relevant illustrations.

The Emergence and Decline of Broadsides

In Europe, broadsides came into use almost as soon as the printing press was invented. They first appeared in the United States during the seventeenth century, which the technology of moveable type and the printing press finally made its way to the colonies. For centuries, the broadside was the preferred format for delivering public announcements. They were also a cost effective way to distribute poetry, songs, and satire.


Bonnie Prince Charlie declares the illegitimacy of Parliament and calls all its attendees traitors. A fantastic artifact from the Jacobite rebellion.

Perhaps the most famous broadside in the United States is the broadside version of the Declaration of Independence published by John Durham on July 4 and 5, 1776. Thanks to this document, news of the declaration swept through the colonies. The John Durham broadside is a perfect example of how these artifacts can encapsulate a pivotal moment in history. Only a few decades earlier, Prince Charles of Wales had used a broadside to make a truly shocking announcement. He declared Parliament illegitimate and branded its participants as traitors. The broadside captures the heat of the Jacobite rebellion.

Before the end of the nineteenth century, broadsides had begun to fall into disuse. They’d been replaced by newspapers and radio for delivering news. Posters and billboards had replaced broadsides as advertisements. Today the occasional fine press artist produces a broadside, but the form has been rendered obsolete by technology.

Preserving and Collecting Broadsides

Broadsides fall into the category of ephemera because they weren’t made to last long. They were intended for quick consumption and therefore were often printed on cheap paper. Few people thought to keep broadsides, and the ones that did get saved are often in less than ideal condition. They may have folds and rips, or they may have been poorly repaired using the wrong materials. To protect broadsides from further damage, it’s important to protect them with a mylar sheath. Your broadsides can then be stored flat in a climate controlled environment.


The broadside edition of Macdonald’s “A Song for Chistmas” is incredibly rare. This is an inscribed presentation copy.

Meanwhile the ephemeral nature of broadsides is what makes them so valuable to rare book collectors. Some people actually specialize in broadsides. But the avid collector may supplement works by a favorite author with related broadsides. For example, a collector of George Macdonald would be interested in the broadside edition of Macdonald’s poem “A Song for Christmas.” Published around 1887, the broadside is the first appearance of the poem. It’s not published again until the 1890’s, when it appears in a collected volume. Macdonald’s “A Song for Christmas” broadside is now extremely rare; OCLC and KVK document only one other copy, at the Library of Scotland.


Chatto referred to this very broadside in his “Facts and Speculations on the Origin and History of Playing Cards”

Sometimes broadsides even served as sources for authors. William Andrew Chatto wrote about leisurely pursuits such as fly-fishing, smoking, and playing cards. In his 1848 Facts and Speculations on the Origin and History of Playing Cards, Chatto cites a Catnatch broadside called “The Perpetual Almanack; or, Gentleman Soldier’s Prayer Book.” The broadside tells the tale of Richard Middleton, who was taken before the mayor for using cards during a church service. Chatto notes that his own cards have been a “moral monitor and help to devotion.”

As your rare book collection progresses, incorporating broadsides is an excellent step to broaden the scope of the collection. What was the first broadside in your collection? And why did it appeal to you?


Bonnie Prince Charlie Takes a Treasonous Stand


Bonnie Prince Charlie cuts quite the dashing figure, but was he really the romantic hero history makes him out to be?

The Jacobite uprisings, especially the last in 1745, have often been romanticized. We may even see Prince Charles of Wales as a romantic hero, personifying the age-old conflict between Scotland and England. Yet his character and the conflict were much more complex, and they fascinate historians to this day.

A Brief History of the Jacobites

The issue of religion had long been a divisive one in England. King Henry VIII first separated the English Church from Rome in 1534, primarily because he wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. Pope Paul III excommunicated Henry, who then declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England. Subsequent monarchs introduced further reforms, and England has had an uneasy relationship with the Catholic Church ever since.

Fast forward to 1689. That year King James VII of Scotland (II of Britain) fled Britain to escape the invading armies of William of Orange. The British government feared that James would re-instate Catholicism as the national religion, so Parliament invited James’ daughter Mary and her Protestant husband William to take the throne. James certainly didn’t go quietly, but he was utterly defeated in the Battle of the Boyne and left the British Isles altogether. But James still had plenty of supporters, called Jacobites, throughout Britain.

Generations in Exile

James’ son, James Frances Edward Stuart had been born only one year earlier, in 1688. He would have been James III of Britain but instead grew up in exile. But he took up his father’s fight, staging more unsuccessful uprisings and earning the nickname “the Old Pretender.” Though James was extremely brave and honorable, he also had atrocious luck. In 1718, he entered negotiation with King Charles XII of Sweden for 10,000 troops. But the king died before they reached an agreement. And in 1719, the Spanish Armada was promised to back James, but the fleet was thwarted by terrible weather.

Unfortunately James’ Catholicism proved an extraordinary obstacle in gaining new supporters. It didn’t help that he’d settled in Rome and received the support of the Pope. By this time James also had two sons, Charles and Henry, who grew up in Rome. Both received considerable support from the Catholic Church, especially in their later years. Henry would even go on to become a cardinal.

Charles, however, aspired to the British throne. He furthermore believed in the divine right of kings and planned to make himself the absolute ruler of Britain–which would have required dissolving Parliament. Whatever his intentions, Charles’ efforts often undermined the Jacobites’ efforts; a heavy drinker, he lost his temper when conditions grew unfavorable. The Prussians actually withdrew their support of the Jacobites because Charles publicly insulted them while intoxicated.

The Jacobites still enjoyed support in both Scotland and England. Jacobites wore a white rose on the Old Pretender’s birthday, and they sported white cockades on their hat to show their loyalty to the Jacobite cause. Wearing a tartan waistcoat also became a symbol of support, as traditional kilts were temporarily banned because of their affiliation with the rebel forces.

A Portrait of Misplaced Confidence

In 1745, Charles, who had by now earned the nickname “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” decided to stage another uprising. He landed on the small island of Eriskay and gathered a group of loyal Clan chiefs to fight alongside him. The troops easily too Edinburgh, thanks to a brilliant surprise attack in the marshes of Prestonpans.

Charles Prince of Wales-Jacobite Rebellion

Prince Charles issued this inflammatory broadside at the height of the Jacobite rebellion. He denies the authority of Parliament and calls its members traitors.

That early victory lent Charles an early–and misguided–sense of confidence. At the apex of the rebellion, he issued a fascinating broadside. In it he proclaimed that the British Parliament lacked legitimacy and called those who attended it both traitors and rebels. Charles even goes so far as to declare the “pretended union of these Kingdoms now at an End.” Only six of these broadsides are known to survive.

Final Defeat

The Highlanders only wanted to take Scotland, but Charles had bigger ideas. He deceived his troops, promising that English Jacobites would meet them further south. In reality, the English Jacobites had decided not to participate in the uprising at all. Under these false pretenses the Highlanders advanced with Charles through Carlisle and Manchester.

But when they reached Derby, they faced three different armies. It was only then that the Highlanders realized Charles had lied. They hastily retreated. Charles reportedly drank and moaned all the way home. Then at Culloden the British troops cornered them. As they slaughtered the Highlander soldiers, Charles managed to escape. This defeat marked the final blow for the Jacobite cause.

Charles made his way out of Scotland despite a £30,000 reward offered for information leading to his capture. Countless Scots helped him on his journey, and he always managed to stay one step ahead of the British government. He eventually found passage aboard the French frigate L’Heureux and arrived in France in September 1745. He’d live the rest of his life in exile.

Last Attempts at Power

Charles returned to France, where he lived until 1748. That year he was expelled under the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which ended the war between France and Britain. He then lived for several years with his Scottish mistress Clementina Walkinshaw, whom he’d likely met during the 1745 rebellion. The couple had an illegitimate daughter, Charlotte. Later, many would suspect Charlotte of being a spy for the Hanoverian government of Great Britain.

Meanwhile Charles acknowledged that his Catholicism was a huge stumbling block and committed to becoming Protestant if that would help his cause. Thus in 1750 he entered England incognito and took Anglican communion. His conversion wasn’t widely advertised; indeed by the time he married in 1772, Charles seemed to have returned to the Roman Catholic Church.

Almost a decade later, in 1759, French foreign minister Duc De Choiseul summoned Charles to a meeting in Paris. De Choiseul planned a full-scale invasion of England and hoped to rally the remaining Jacobites behind his cause. The Seven Years War had reached its height, and De Choiseul saw this as a golden opportunity. Unfortunately he was none too impressed with Charles stubborn idealism and gave up on attaining Jacobite support. This French invasion marked Charles’ last real opportunity to retake the British throne, but the effort was thwarted by naval defeats at both Lagos and Quiberon Bay.

The final blow came in 1766, when Charles’ father James died. Pope Clement XIII had recognized James as king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, along with James III and James VIII. He didn’t grant Charles the same legitimacy. This very public snub undermined any last claim to the throne that Charles had had.

Charles died on January 31, 1788. He was interred first at the Cathedram of Frascati, where his brother Henry was a bishop. But when Henry died in 1807, Charles’ remains were relocated to St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Both brothers are interred there, along with their parents.