Friday, September 17, 2010


Maud Gage Baum (27 March 1861 – 6 March 1953) was the wife and later the widow of L. Frank Baum, and the mother of his four sons.

She was the daughter of merchant Henry Hill Gage and prominent suffragette and feminist Matilda Joslyn Gage, the youngest of their four children. She studied at Cornell University, where she met her roommate's cousin, Frank Baum. Their first date was on Christmas Eve of 1881; Maud saw Frank act in The Maid of Arran on 15 May 1882. The couple married on 9 November 1882. Their four sons — Frank Joslyn, Robert Stanton, Harry Neal, and Kenneth Gage Baum — were born between 1883 and 1891.

She was fond of candy; her husband bought her a two-pound box every week, up till the week he died.

In their years of financial uncertainty, Maud supplemented the family income by giving sewing lessons; she started in 1894 and continued at least until 1898. Baum dedicated The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to her. Maud was generally considered the more practical of the two; by 1904 if not earlier, she managed the family finances and supplied her husband with an allowance for his personal expenses. (See also: Baum's bankruptcy.)

After the Baums' trip to the Mediterranean and Egypt in 1906, Maud Baum published a collection of her travel letters titled In Other Lands Than Ours (1907). Her husband provided 16 photographs and a preface, and edited the book.

Frank and Maud Baum were married for 37 years, up to his death in 1919. By the reports of both parties, it was an unusually happy marriage. After her husband's death, Maud Baum managed the continuing Oz enterprise; she received $300 per week from the Wizard of Oz radio show that was broadcast in 1933 and 1934, and $40,000 from the 1933 sale the film rights to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that resulted in the 1939 MGM film. She attended that film's premiere on 15 August 1939.

She received royalties both from Baum's works and from the Oz books of Ruth Plumly Thompson and other Royal Historians, which supported her for the remainder of her life. She lived at Ozcot, the Baum home in Hollywood, until her death. She left an estate in excess of $85,000.

Destroyed most of L. Frank Baum's unpublished manuscripts

Was told by her mother that she would be a "durn fool" if she got married to L. Frank Baum the night she told her she wanted to marry him.

Maud Baum was the daughter of feminist Matilda Joslyn Gage. Though largely forgotten today, L. Frank Baum's mother-in-law Matilda was a major force in women's rights.

1856 - 1919 A note from Mr. Baum
"I believe my dears, that I am the proudest story-teller that ever lived. Many a time tears of pride and joy have stood in my eyes while I read the tender, loving, appealing letters that come to me in almost every mail from my little readers. To have pleased you, to have interested you, to have won your friendship, and perhaps your love, through my stories, is to my mind as great an achievement as to become the President of the United States. Indeed, I would much rather be your story-teller, under these conditions, than to be President. So you have helped me to fulfill my life's ambition, and I am more grateful to you, my dears, than I can express in words."

L. Frank Baum
Coronado, 1908

Much to the distress of later fans and scholars, Maud Baum destroyed most of her husband's Oz manuscripts after his death (she considered the MSS. unneeded once the books were in print).

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