Best known as the author of the Wizard of Oz series, Lyman Frank Baum was born on May 15, 1856, in New York. When Baum was a young man, his father, who had made a fortune in oil, gave him several theaters in New York and Pennsylvania to manage. Eventually, Baum had his first taste of success as a writer when he staged The Maid of Arran, a melodrama he had written and scored. Married in 1882 to Maud Gage, whose mother was an influential suffragette, the two had four sons. Baum often entertained his children with nursery rhymes and in 1897 published a compilation titled Mother Goose in Prose, which was illustrated by Maxfield Parrish. The project was followed by three other picture books of rhymes, illustrated by William Wallace Denslow. The success of the nursery rhymes persuaded Baum to craft a novel out of one of the stories, which he titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Some critics have suggested that Baum modeled the character of the Wizard on himself. Other books for children followed the original Oz book, and Baum continued to produce the popular Oz books until his death in 1919. The series was so popular that after Baum's death and by special arrangement, Oz books continued to be written for the series by other authors. Glinda of Oz, the last Oz book that Baum wrote, was published in 1920.
W. W. Denslow (1856-1915) was a prolific illustrator, cartoonist, and caricaturist, best remembered for his work in collaboration with author L. Frank Baum, especially his illustrations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , the first of the Oz books. An editorial cartoonist with a strong interest in politics, Denslow also illustrated his own books including Denslow's Mother Goose (1901), Denslow's Night Before Christmas (1902) and the 18-volume Denslow's Picture Books series (1903-4). The royalties from the print and stage versions of The Wizard of Oz were sufficient to allow Denslow to purchase Bluck's Island in Bermuda, and crown himself King Denslow I. However, he drank his money away, and he died in obscurity, of pneumonia.