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Encyclopedia > American Fairy Tales

American Fairy Tales is the title of a collection of twelve fantasy stories by L. Frank Baum, published in 1901 by the George M. Hill Company, the firm that issued The Wonderful Wizard of Oz the previous year. The cover, title page, and page borders were designed by Ralph Fletcher Seymour; each story was furnished with two full-page black-and-white illustrations, by either Harry Kennedy,[1] Ike Morgan,[2] or N. P. Hall. Fantasy is a genre of art that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. ... The Laughing Dragon of Oz, see Frank Joslyn Baum . ... See also: 1900 in literature, other events of 1901, 1902 in literature, list of years in literature. ... For the film, see The Wizard of Oz (1939 film) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a childrens book written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow. ...



L. Frank Baum was doing well in 1901, better than ever before in his life. He had written two popular books, Father Goose and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and was determined to capitalize on this success. In addition to American Fairy Tales, Baum's Dot and Tot of Merryland and The Master Key would appear in 1901. A male companion to Mother Goose, Father Goose was a recurring character in the works of L. Frank Baum. ... After the publication of THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, L. Frank Baum wrote another fairy tale entitled DOT AND TOT OF MERRYLAND. This book was illustrated by Baums friend, W.W. Denslow, who had illustrated two of Baums book which were, FATHER GOOSE: HIS BOOK and THE WONDERFUL...

Publisher George M. Hill sold the serialization rights to the twelve stories in AFT to five major newspapers, the Pittsburgh Dispatch, the Boston Post, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the St. Louis Republic, and The Chicago Chronicle. The stories appeared between March 3 and May 19, 1901; the book followed in October. The first three papers used or adapted the book's illustrations for their publications of the stories, while the Chronicle and the Republic had their own staff artists do separate pictures. The Pittsburgh Dispatch was a newspaper for which Nellie Bly worked. ... The Boston Post was the most popular daily newspaper in New England for over a hundred years before it folded in 1956. ... The Cincinnati Enquirer is a daily morning newspaper published at Cincinnati, Ohio. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Nickname: The Windy City, The Second City, Chi Town, City of the Big Shoulders, The 312, The City that Works Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in Chicagoland and Illinois Coordinates: Country United States State Illinois County Cook & DuPage Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government...

Book Design

The first edition of AFT had an unusual and striking design: each page was furnished with a broad illustrated border done in pen-and-ink by Seymour, which took up more than half the surface of the page, like a medieval illuminated manuscript. This probably reflected the influence of the medieval-revival book designs produced in the late nineteenth century by William Morris at his Kelmscott Press. In the strictest definition of illuminated manuscript, only manuscripts decorated with gold or silver, like this miniature of Christ in Majesty from the Aberdeen Bestiary (folio 4v), would be considered illuminated. ... William Morris, socialist and innovator in the Arts and Crafts movement William Morris, publisher Davids Charge to Solomon (1882), a stained-glass window by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris in Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts. ...

The Stories

The twelve stories were published in this order in the first edition.

  1. "The Box of Robbers." Illustrated by Ike Morgan.
  2. "The Glass Dog." Illustrated by Harry Kennedy.
  3. The Queen of Quok." Morgan.
  4. "The Girl Who Owned a Bear." Kennedy.
  5. "The Enchanted Types." Morgan.
  6. "The Laughing Hippopotamus." Morgan.
  7. "The Magic Bon Bons." Morgan.
  8. "The Capture of Father Time." Kennedy.
  9. "The Wonderful Pump." The single story illustrated by N. P. Hall.
  10. "The Dummy That Lived." Morgan.
  11. "The King of the Polar Bears." Morgan.
  12. "The Mandarin and the Butterfly." Morgan.

The stories, as critics have noted, lack the high-fantasy aspect of the best of Baum's work, in Oz or out. With ironic or nonsensical morals attached to their ends, their tone is more satirical, glib, and tongue-in-cheek than is usual in children's stories; the serialization in newspapers for adult readers was appropriate for the materials. "The Magic Bon Bons" was the most popular of the tales, judging by number of reprints. Oz is an imaginary region containing four countries under the rule of one monarch. ...

Two of the stories, "The Enchanted Types" and "The Dummy That Lived," employ "knooks" and "ryls," the fairies that Baum would use in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus the next year, 1902. "The Dummy That Lived" depends upon the idea of a department-store mannequin brought to life, an early expression of an idea that would re-used by many later writers in television and films. It has been suggested that Kilter be merged into this article or section. ...

Later Editions

Bobbs-Merrill, the firm that bought the rights to Baum's books when George M. Hill went out of business in February 1902, published a second edition of AFT in 1908, with a new cover and sixteen two-color illustrations by George Kerr to replace the originals by Seymour, Morgan, Kennedy, and Hall. This second edition also added an Author's Note by Baum and three more stories—"The Strange Adventures of an Egg," "The Ryl," and "The Witchcraft of Mary-Marie." A third edition appeared ca. 1923-4, with dropped half the color illustrations; this edition kept the book in print as late as 1942.


  1. ^ Kennedy had illustrated two of Baum's earlier books, The Army Alphabet and The Navy Alphabet (both published in 1900).
  2. ^ Morgan would illustrate Baum's The Woggle-Bug Book (1905).


  • Baum, L. Frank. American Fairy Tales. Introduction by Martin Gardner. Reprinted, New York, Dover Publications, 1978.
  • Rogers, Katharine M. L. Frank Baum: Creator of Oz. New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002.



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