Makes you nostalgic for the old days
Way back on the prairie
When men were men
And ladies were… acceptable!
The Wizard of Oz on Theosophy
Lyman Frank Baum (1851-1919), author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and prototype of the Wizard himself, joined the Theosophical Society along with his wife, Maud Gage, on September 4, 1892. Their membership records are in the archives of the Theosophical Society with headquarters in Pasadena, California (kindly made available by Grace F. Knoche and Kirby Van Mater).
The Baums joined the Society while they were living in Chicago, about eight years before he published what was to become the best-known American children’s book. But Frank knew about Theosophy earlier than that, doubtless first learning of it from his mother-in-law, the noted feminist, Matilda Joslyn Gage, who herself had joined the Society on March 26, 1885. Not only did Frank Baum know about Theosophy, but he also wrote about it more than two years before he joined the Society and ten years before he wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
For fourteen months (January 25, 1890, to March 21, 1891), Baum published and edited a South Dakota weekly newspaper called The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer. Baum frequently contributed to the paper a feature he called "The Editor’s Musings." The following is that feature from the very first issue of the newspaper under his editorship. It shows, not only his knowledge of Theosophy, but the Theosophical frame of mind with which he viewed the world.