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Roger S. Baum, Author

Story & Photo By: Dee (DEEDUN) Dunheim

Roger Baum

Roger S. Baum is the eldest living great-grandson of L. Frank Baum, author of the most widely read and beloved children's book of all times - THE WIZARD OF OZ - penned more than 100 years ago.

The writer's filing cabinet was divided into two sections: One went from A to N, the other from O through Z. He took the O and the Z and made it 'OZ ' This bit of trivia and much about the famous author comes from Roger Baum.

'Most people don't realize that The Wizard of Oz was written in Chicago, and the Yellow Brick Road was named after winding cobblestone roads in Holland, Michigan,' he explains 'where great-grand father spent vacations with his family.'

Despite a heart problem, L. Frank Baum continually worked to support his four sons: He was a traveling salesmen, published a small newspaper and ran a dry goods shop. But the magic in his life was story-telling.
He became so well known and well loved by neighborhood kids that they waited on his doorstop for him to come home to or out of his apartment to listen to his magical tales. 'So, my great-grandfather's stories were not only tested on his four sons at home, but on all the kids in the neighborhood waiting for him to come home,' says Roger Baum. 'He told these stories for the love of the young at heart.'

L. Frank Baum's wife Maud prodded her husband to write down what he so far had only been reciting. Reluctant at first, he finally consented, sat pen in hand, and of course we all know the results: All in all Baum, wrote 61 more books - several under pen names.

Children of the world lost a dear friend when he passed on at the age of 62, but a century later, he still lives in our hearts. His wife survived him by 30 years and lived to be 92. Roger Baum was blessed with the opportunity to hear stories directly from his great grandma as she sat in her big winged back chair. 'Yes! She did get to see the movie in 1939,' he says, 'and she even visited the set with Judy Garland.

Just as L. Frank Baum's wife prompted her husband to continue his fabulous writings, Roger Baum's wife Charlene also gently motivates her husband to follow his great grandfather's footsteps to continue down the Yellow Brick Road to write his own series of Oz books which have been - and continue to be - highly successful and well received by fans around the world.

'Whether you're young or old,' says Baum, 'the Wizard of Oz book, the MGM movie classic and Chesterton, Indiana's Wizard of Oz Festival each September, hit nostalgic, responsive and emotional cords in all who love the life's lessons learned from it.'
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