In episode two of “Chilly,” we were able to jump into some of the relationships Frank Baum developed with the people around him, his life, and his commentary on turn of the century America in and near 1900. He was deeply affected by what he saw. Being able to open up what was happening around Baum will allow you to “unpack” what and why he wrote “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”
Lest anyone forget that the book was written nearly 40 years prior to the 1939 classic movie. William McKinley was the President and he had defeated William Jennings Bryan that year. The United States led the world in agricultural output, the USA was the newest emerging power in the world, and Secretary of State John Hay announced the Open Door policy that opened the door to trade with China.
In the same year “The Wizard” was published, scientific theories about the Earth’s magnetism were coming out as well as the Boxer Rebellion raging on. As a matter of fact, one of the major battles of the Boxer Rebellion, the Siege of Mafeking happened the same day as the Wizard was published. 60 Chinese Christians died that day.
One dollar in 1900 would be comparable to $33.47 today. A man’s suit cost anywhere from $7 – $12. Women’s shoes were thirty five cents. Coffee was thirty five cents per pound. Eggs were twenty one cents per dozen, milk fourteen cents per gallon, and butter was twenty six per pound. The average yearly wage was $432 and a home averaged $5,000.
I hope the podcast and information therein is enjoyable. My goal is to shed some light on a multi-layered story. This is one of the classic American tales and it has ingrained itself into our American culture and cultures around the world. Leave a comment below after reading and/or listening. Comments are always welcomed!