L. Frank Baum's South Dakota Home
As the Dakota Territory's economic boom drew to a close, L. Frank Baum, future author of The Wonder Wizard of Oz, and his family moved to Aberdeen to make a living, having lost their living off of L. Frank's writing and acting following a fire that destroyed the theater he worked for in New York City. Arriving in Aberdeen in 1888, the Baum's lived in this home until forced to move in 1891 to Chicago, again for economic reasons. The home today is privately owned.
Backstory and Context
For the next three years the family owned a store, Baum's Bazaar, that failed after one year due to L. Frank's generosity of issuing credit. Then for the rest of the time in Aberdeen, L. Frank edited the local The Saturday Aberdeen Pioneer. Even with this more stable employment, the family struggled to eek out a living. In 1892, they sold the house and moved to Chicago, where L. Frank would write The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with South Dakota more than likely the inspiration for Baum's description of Kansas.
Visitors can come see the Baum home, but it is privately owned.
- Koupal, Nancy Tystad. Baum's Road to Oz: The Dakota Years. Pierre, SD, South Dakota State Historical Society, 2000.
- Koupal, Nancy Tystad. Our Landlady. Lawrence, KS, University of Nebraska Press, 1986.
- Rogers, Katharine M. L. Frank Baum, Creator of Oz: A Biography. New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002.