L. Frank Baum lived from 1856 to 1919. He was born in Chittenango, New York State and grew up to be a bit of an entrepreneur. He worked in the theatre, in newspapers and magazines, he manufactured a patent axle grease called 'Baum's Castorine' and managed a general store called 'Baum's Bazaar. For a while he was a poultry farmer and his first book was about raising chickens!
His ideas didn't earn him much money and he had to think again. He had always loved telling his children bedtime stories, so he turned to writing for children. Even in his early books, retellings of traditional stories, he introduced a little girl called Dorothy! His children loved his stories about a land called Oz and in 1900 The Wizard of Oz was published. It was an overnight success and soon became a stage musical extravaganza for which Baum wrote the lyrics. The wonderful 1939 film, starring Judy Garland, gave the story an even higher profile and has become almost as famous as the book. Baum became so identified with Oz that his other books had to be published under pseudonyms.