Page from the Past: Over the Rainbow, Into the Library

This post is republished from the September–October issue of LCM, the Library of Congress magazine. Read the issue in its entirety online.

Color plate illustration from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” ranks as one of the greatest American books for children, and its evocative original artwork today is both cherished and exceedingly rare.

The phenomenally successful book, written by L. Frank Baum and published in 1900, soon inspired adaptions for the stage, silent film and, most famously, the iconic 1939 color film starring Judy Garland.

Baum’s book was illustrated by his friend William Wallace Denslow, with whom he collaborated on other books such as “Father Goose: His Book,” “By the Candelabra’s Glare” and “Dot and Tot of Merryland.”

The design of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was lavish for the time, with several color plate illustrations, backgrounds in different colors and illustrations on many pages.

The Library holds, among other Oz-related items, a first edition of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” that’s available for reading online and the original pen-and-ink drawing Wallace produced for the volume shown below (it appears on page 105 of the book).

Pen and ink drawing by William Wallace Denslow.

The image is a familiar one, depicting the Tin Woodsman and the Scarecrow saving the Cowardly Lion from the deadly poppy field with the help of the Queen of the Field Mice and her followers: “Soon they rolled the Lion out of the poppy bed into the green fields, where he could breathe the sweet, fresh air again, instead of the poisonous scent of flowers.”

Baum and Denslow eventually ended their collaboration in a dispute over money, and Denslow used part of his royalties from his work on “Oz” to buy an island off Bermuda and proclaimed himself King Denslow I.

Today, Denslow’s original artwork brings readers back to the original presentation of the classic “Oz” story, long before multiple publications and motion pictures altered the original vision of Munchkins, wicked witches, flying monkeys and the Great Humbug.

Pic of the Week: Battle of the Bulge Vets Visit the Library

Earlier this week, Battle of the Bulge Association veterans gathered in the Great Hall of the Library’s Jefferson Building for an event marking the battle’s 74th anniversary. While at the Library, they visited the offices of the Veterans History Project and viewed a special display of battle-related collection items prepared for them. Pictured here are […]

An 1848 Christmas Story: The Gift of Freedom

This is a guest post by Lavonda Kay Broadnax, digital reference specialist in the Library’s Research and Reference Services Division. December is a month of holidays and festivities that bring families and friends together to celebrate their good fortune and look forward to the year ahead. For the enslaved couple William and Ellen Craft, the […]

New Acquisition: Billy Strayhorn Archive

This is a guest post by Larry Appelbaum, senior reference librarian and jazz specialist in the Music Division. It was first published on “In the Muse,” the division’s blog. Appelbaum interviewed Gregory Morris, nephew of Billy Strayhorn, to mark the Library’s acquisition of the Billy Strayhorn Music Manuscripts and Estate Papers. In January 2017, I […]

Happy 30th Birthday, National Film Registry

Today we announced the 2018 National Film Registry selections! Read the following guest post by Stephen Leggett, program coordinator for the National Film Preservation Board, to find out how the registry helps to ensure the survival of our cinematic heritage. Scroll to the bottom to see video clips of this year’s selections. From an unexpected […]

TCM Celebrates 30 Years of the National Film Registry

Tomorrow is the big day! On Wednesday, December 12, we will announce the 2018 National Film Registry selections. Be the first to know by subscribing to our news alert. This is the 30th year of the registry and we have been highlighting films added each year on our “Now See Hear” blog. Our friends at […]

Uncovering Surprises in the Collections, Serendipitously

This is a guest post by Jer Thorp, the Library’s innovator-in-residence. On November 8, he took over the @LibraryCongress Twitter account to host a #SerendipityRun in which participants connected with one another and shed new light on Library holdings by taking a serendipitous “run” through the online collections. Here Thorp describes the inspiration behind this […]

“Forbidden Planet”: National Film Registry 30/30

The following is part of a 30-post series on the Library’s Now See Hear! blog celebrating 30 years of our National Film Registry, which selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation. The 30th National Film Registry selections will be announced next month. This […]

Letters About Literature: A Life-Changing Book

This is a guest blog post by Maya Mau, a 10th-grade student at West Windsor–Plainsboro High School North in Plainsboro Township, New Jersey. She is a national winner of the 2017–18 Letters About Literature contest, a reading and writing competition for students in grades four through 12 that involves reading a work and writing to […]