Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Craig's Bookshelf: The Christmas Stocking Books

Several weeks ago I started posting photos of books from my Oz and Baum collection to the Wizard Of Oz Collectors United! page on Facebook. Jared invited me to cross-post them on the Royal Blog of Oz, so here we go.

Today I’m sharing photos of an item that I had sent to Sophia Bogle of Save Your Books for restoration work. If you’re a member of the International Wizard of Oz Club, then you may remember reading a couple of articles she wrote about book repairs in recent issues of the Baum Bugle.

The item is a "steamer trunk" containing a set of six Christmas Stocking Books, each with an introduction about the origin of the custom of the Christmas stocking written by L. Frank Baum. These tiny little books were first published by Reilly & Britton – the publisher of the Oz books – in 1905. A later printing of the books was issued with the cardboard steamer trunk around 1913.

I bought my trunk and books from Wonderful Books of Oz, which is run by Cindy Ragni. The very fact that the books were still housed in the original trunk means that they were relatively undamaged, although they’re still fragile little books. Unfortunately, the trunk itself was missing the lid.

Now here’s what’s cool. I remembered seeing Bill Campbell's photos of his original trunk and books on his Oz Enthusiast blog. His trunk wasn’t missing the lid. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind sending me a high-resolution scan of the lid (which was intact, but detached), so that Sophia could use it to make a facsimile lid. Lo and behold: not only did Sophia do a beautiful job with the facsimile lid, but she also did some restoration work on the individual books, and she made new glassine wrappers for each book, since that’s the way the set was originally issued.

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