Fred Wollrab, like many children, enjoyed reading L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz. Unlike most children, however, he began collecting early copies of the entire series. Recently, Wollrab donated the entire collection to Milner Library’s Special Collections to add to the historical children’s literature collection.

The first Wizard of Oz book was written by Baum in 1899, but the classic American fairy tale was just the beginning. Baum went on to write 13 more Oz books before his death in 1919. From 1920 to 1963, Ruth Plumly Thompson, John R. Neill, Jack Snow, and Rachel Cosgrove added more than 25 books to the series. Early editions of almost every book in the series are on display within Special Collections on the sixth floor of Milner Library.

The bright and colorful exhibit follows the timeline of the classic 1939 movie, with tidbits of trivia about changes from the book to the silver screen. From a monochromatic scene of Kansas, to the defeat of the Wicked Witch of the West, visitors can follow Dorothy and the Yellow Brick Road through editions of the Wizard of Oz from throughout the 20th century.

Special Collections Librarian Maureen Brunsdale sees the potential for research projects based on this collection as well. From studying the evolution of the characters, the images, the differences between the written stories and the movies, and even the books themselves, Wizard of Oz offers a variety of ways to bring original research to class projects.

The exhibit was made possible by the generous donation of books from Wollrab and will be on display until June 15, 2016.

For more information please contact Rebecca Stowe.