Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation

Protecting and Preserving All Life -- By Extending Human Vision

The Wizard of Oz Across the Back Fence

Frank Baum moved with his family to Hollywood in 1910.   His home there becomes known as "Ozcot". The children's, Ernest, Gracie and Arthur Pillsbury's,  encounters with him took place across and over the back fence.  The homes in the area were large with copious back yards.  The Pillsbury back yard included a sit-in train and other attractions of note.  In addition, there were many trees for climbing and games which necessitated equipment such as balls were also included

The kids could also have been curious knowing the author of a book well known to them lived closeby.  The Baum family initially lived in a rental.  Mrs. Baum, the daughter of well-known women's rights advocate Matilda Joslyn Gage, purchased land in 1910 for the much larger home at with money left to her by her mother.  Far more information is available through the website on Matilda than elsewhere.  Visit Ozroom for some interesting insights.  

The Pillsbury family shared a background with the same values and Susan B. Anthony, Frank Baum and with Gage.  This raises multiple questions for which I will seek answers.   

The family legend is that to keep the kids from adventuring, Oz-fashion in his back yard, Baum pelted them with fruit.  Although The Wonderful Wizard of Oz became a runaway best seller  with a large following, as we all know.  His early time in Hollywood was a hard period for Frank, however. Some of his plays had failed while he was trying to make films. other attempts to repeat that success 'baumed' regularly.  

Here are my Dad on the left, about four; Ernest, Junior with his hand to his mouth, and Grace (Gracie) smiling on the right.  

The photo was taken in the back yard of their home just a stone's throw from the Ozcot.