Many of L. Frank Baum's delightful children's books, including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, owe their distinctive illustrations to artist William Wallace Denslow. Born on May 5, 1856, in Philadelphia, Denslow, drawn by a fascination with politics, went on to become an editorial cartoonist. While in Chicago during the 1890's, he formed a partnership with L. Frank Baum, adding quaint illustration's to the author's whimsical works and sharing the copyrights jointly with him. The two men eventually severed their business ties due to an argument over the royalties from their collaborative stage adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. Baum and Denslow never worked together again. Denslow did receive royalties from the stage and print versions of The Wizard of Oz; the amount was, in fact, so enormous that Denslow bought himself an island off the coast of Bermuda. Additionally, once settled in his new home, he promptly coronated himself King Denslow I of the island! On a less amusing note, however, his extravagant behavior extended to alcoholism, quickly depleting his aquired wealth. "King" William Denslow was taken by pneumonia in 1915, sequestered and solitary in his little kingdom.
Works by William Wallace Denslow:
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (illustrator)
- By the Candleabra's Glare (illustrator)
- Father Goose: His Book (illustrator)
- Dot and Tot of Merryland (illustrator)
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