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L. Frank BAUM

American L. Frank BAUM

born Lyman Frank BAUM

American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Source :  Tim DOWLING

Born: on May 15, 1856 in Chittenango, New York, USA
Died: on May 06, 1919 in Hollywood, California, USA


Biography

Baum was born in Chittenango, New York, into a devout Methodist family of German (paternal line) and Scots-Irish (maternal line) origin, the seventh of nine children born to Cynthia Stanton and Benjamin Ward Baum, only five of whom survived into adulthood. He was named "Lyman" after his father's brother, but always disliked this name, and preferred to go by his middle name, "Frank". His mother, Cynthia Stanton, was a direct descendant of Thomas Stanton, one of the four Founders of what is now Stonington, Connecticut.

Benjamin Baum was a wealthy businessman, originally a barrel maker, who had made his fortune in the oil fields of Pennsylvania. Baum grew up on his parents' expansive estate, Rose Lawn, which he always remembered fondly as a sort of paradise. As a young child, he was tutored at home with his siblings, but at the age of 12 he was sent to study at Peekskill Military Academy. He was a sickly child given to daydreaming, and his parents may have thought he needed toughening up. But after two utterly miserable years at the military academy, he was allowed to return home. Frank Joslyn Baum, in his biography, To Please a Child, claimed that this was following an incident described as a heart attack, though there is no contemporary evidence of this (and much evidence that material in Frank J.'s biography was fabricated).

Baum started writing at an early age, perhaps due to an early fascination with printing. His father bought him a cheap printing press, and he used it to produce The Rose Lawn Home Journal with the help of his younger brother, Henry (Harry) Clay Baum, with whom he had always been close. The brothers published several issues of the journal and included advertisements they may have sold. Roselawn was the name of the family home and previously located in Mattydale, New York. Sadly the house burned down in the 1950s and in its place today is an abandoned skating rink. All that remains are a few concrete steps located behind the building. By the time he was 17, Baum had established a second amateur journal, The Stamp Collector, printed an 11-page pamphlet called Baum's Complete Stamp Dealers' Directory, and started a stamp dealership with his friends.

At the age of 20, Baum took on a new vocation: the breeding of fancy poultry, which was a national craze at the time. He specialized in raising a particular breed of fowl, the Hamburg. In March 1880 he established a monthly trade journal, The Poultry Record, and in 1886, when Baum was 30 years old, his first book was published: The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief Treatise upon the Mating, Rearing, and Management of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs.

Despite financial difficulties, Frank was always the spotlight of fun around the household. Due to the fact that one of his trades was selling fireworks, he always made the Fourth of July memorable. His skyrockets, roman candles, and fireworks filled the sky, while many people around the neighborhood would gather in front of the house to watch the displays. Christmas was even more festive. Frank played Santa for the family. While his father placed the Christmas tree in the front parlor behind closed drapes, Frank would decorate the tree and talk to them from behind the drapes, although they never could manage to see him. He kept up this tradition all his life.

Source :  http://www.wikipedia.org/

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