How Did L. Frank Baum Die – (1856 – 1919)

Date of Birth May 15, 1856 
Date Of Death May 6, 1919
Age 62 Years
Death Cause  Congestive Heart Failure

Lyman Frank Baum, born on May 15, 1856, and passing away on May 6, 1919, at the age of 62 due to congestive heart failure, was an esteemed American author celebrated for his contributions to children’s literature, with his most iconic work being “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” This timeless classic became the cornerstone of a beloved series, leaving an enduring legacy in the world of children’s fantasy literature. Let’s find out the highlights of his writing era and reveal the health concerns behind his death!

Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable! (L. Frank Baum).

His Early Life And Career Highlights 

Frank Baum had a remarkable career with many creative ventures. He grew up in upstate New York and, after trying his hand at theatre production and playwriting, moved west. In South Dakota, he and his wife ran a store and published a newspaper. Later, they settled in Chicago, where he worked as a newspaper reporter and started writing stories for children. His most famous creation, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” came to life in 1900. Baum didn’t stop at Oz; he wrote 41 other novels, 83 short stories, poems, and scripts. 

Everything has to have a beginning, to speak plainly, and so does a story! (L. Frank Baum).

He even tried his hand at bringing his works to the stage and screen. The 1939 film adaptation of his first Oz book became a cinematic classic. Baum’s creativity extended beyond his time, as his stories foresaw future technologies and progressive ideas, making a lasting impact on literature and entertainment.

L. Frank Baum’s Later Life & Wide-Ranging Writing

Frank Baum had a fascinating and varied career in his final years. His first collaboration with illustrator W. W. Denslow produced “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” but “Dot and Tot of Merryland” in 1901, a mediocre work, ended their association. Baum collaborated with John R. Neill on his fantastical writings, but their styles sometimes clashed. Baum wrote engaging stories that resonated with readers despite these obstacles.

Imagination has brought mankind through the Dark Ages to its present state of civilization. Imagination led Columbus to discover America. Imagination led Franklin to discover electricity! (L. Frank Baum).

Baum’s creativity went beyond literature. He proposed an Oz amusement park in 1905 as a “fairy paradise for children.” This visionary idea of Pedloe Island never materialised. Also, his lifelong love of theatre and stage productions persisted. He often risked his finances to fund grandiose musicals. In 1908, “The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays” merged multimedia with a lecture. Unfortunately, financial issues forced Baum to sell the royalty rights to several of his earlier works, including “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

Baum continued to create and popularise his works despite financial difficulties. He used pseudonyms like Edith Van Dyne and Laura Bancroft for his non-Oz writings, and his literary achievements went beyond Oz. He founded “The Oz Film Manufacturing Company” in 1914, making silent films with Harold Lloyd. The Oz moniker was temporarily “box office poison,” and Baum’s films struggled. As a whole, Baum’s adult life was creative and financially troubled. 

L. Frank Baum’s Personal Life And Relationships

Frank Baum’s personal life and relationships were intricately woven into the fabric of his experiences. He married Maud Gage in 1882, and together they raised four children, among them Frank and Harry. Notably, Baum’s mother-in-law was Matilda Joslyn Gage, a prominent women’s suffrage activist. This familial connection likely influenced Baum’s own progressive views. As a great-grandfather, his legacy continued through Roger S. Baum. 

In addition to his family, Baum’s personal life was characterised by a strong passion for the performing arts and entertainment, as well as a propensity for telling stories and being creative.  That would eventually lead to his lasting contributions to literature, particularly the well-known stories of the Land of Oz.

Health Struggles & Death Story Of L. Frank Baum

Frank Baum’s later life was marked by several health struggles and financial challenges. He faced a series of setbacks, including failed business struggles and financial troubles, partly attributed to his extravagant theatrical productions, such as “The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays.” Baum filed for bankruptcy in August 1911. Despite these hardships, he remained a prolific author and a beloved figure among young readers.

Everything has to have a beginning, to speak plainly, and so does a story! (L. Frank Baum).

In terms of his health, Baum encountered serious health issues, culminating in his tragic passing. On May 5, 1919, he suffered a debilitating stroke and fell into a coma. Tragically, just one day later, on May 6, 1919, he passed away at the age of 62, approximately nine days before his 63rd birthday. The cause of his death was congestive heart failure. During a brief period of lucidity before his passing, his last words were spoken to his wife, stating, “Now we can cross the Shifting Sands.” He was laid to rest in Glendale’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, leaving behind a lasting literary legacy, including the beloved world of Oz.

Literary Legacy of L. Frank Baum

In the late 19th century, Lyman Frank Baum, known as L. Frank Baum, embarked on a diverse career path. After a failed newspaper venture, he moved to Chicago, where he reported for the Evening Post. Baum also ventured into publishing, founding a magazine called The Show Window, which later evolved into VMSD magazine. He explored the importance of visual merchandising, especially during the holiday season, and the role of mannequins in attracting customers. His literary journey included works like “Mother Goose in Prose” and the best-selling “Father Goose, His Book,” co-authored with illustrator W. W. Denslow.

No thief, however skilful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire! (L. Frank Baum).

However, Baum’s most enduring legacy is “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” published in 1900. This beloved classic, adapted into a successful musical stage version in 1902, became a literary sensation. Baum penned thirteen more novels set in the Land of Oz. Though the stage adaptation differed from the original, it garnered attention, notably for launching the careers of actors like Anna Laughlin, David C. Montgomery, and Fred Stone. Despite some challenges and contractual requirements, Baum’s contributions to literature and entertainment remain influential today.

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