L. Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum, born in 1856 in Chittenango, New York, was an author for children, screenwriter, and journalist, best known for writing the American classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), which was followed by thirteen novel sequels. He has written nine other novels, countless scripts, short stories, and poems. Baum was married Maud Gage, daughter of the noted feminist and suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage. He started writing for children only at the age of forty, after a series of careers that didn’t take off, and by the encouragement of his mother-in-law. In his writing for children, he deliberately stayed away from popular fairytale themes of the time, which included violence and dark folklore. The Wizard of Oz is considered by many as one of the most important of modern American fairytales, and its popularity in various media is beyond measure. Baum died in 1919, after having suffered a stroke. As he lay dying, he supposedly referenced to the work that made his legacy: “Now we can cross the Shifting Sands,” which are the sands that surround the land of Oz. He never visited Kansas in his lifetime.