Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pseudonym for Psex

Please note that today's blog post contains some mature subject matter.

It is always fun to finally acquire a super rarity for one's Oz collection! One can look forward to sharing the new treasure, gloating a bit, and relishing the looks of Ozian envy in the eyes of one's Ozzy friends. Or maybe not.

The most recent addition here in the Tiger Den is a mass market paperback called Playing for Keeps by Joanne Kaye and published in 1982 by Playboy Press.

My more cultured readers probably know why this book belongs in every Oz collection. It was, in fact, written by Rachel Cosgrove Payes, author of Hidden Valley of Oz and The Wicked Witch of Oz.

Rachel wrote well over forty other books: mysteries, "career" novels, and many romance novels. She published under multiple variants of her name: Rachel Cosgrove, Rachel C. Payes, and a half dozen science fiction novels under the name E. L. Arch (an anagram of Rachel).

This is the only Joanne Kaye book that Rachel wrote. I have no idea who wrote the others, but Rachel explicitly stated that this was her only Joanne Kaye novel, though the book is #5 in a series of at least six. Kaye does not seem to be a real person, but is instead a "house name" for Playboy Press. All six books are set in "The World of High Fashion," and from the ads in the back of the book I suspect they all revolve around the main character, Suzanna Blake.

OK, you ask, why did I play up the "rarity" angle in my opening lines. Well, between my collection and my BF Eric's collection we have almost every book Rachel ever wrote. We were good friends of Rachel and her husband Norman for the last ten years of her life. And I had know her casually since we began corresponding in 1980. While Rachel was still alive (she died in 1998) the only books of hers that were relatively easy to obtain were her romance novels - particularly the "bodice ripper" historical romances that she wrote in the last two decades of her life.

As much as I adored Rachel, I could not make myself wade thru such books as The Coach to Hell, and Satan's Mistress. But not long after she died it became much easier to track down her early mystery novels and science fiction via the internet. Eric and I began to snap the various titles up. They were fun, often attractive, if old-fashioned, hardcovers with quaint dust jackets. And I found that I quite enjoyed these books, as they were often loaded with little chunks of biographical detail from Rachel's own life and interests.

Well, this Playing for Keeps book just wasn't turning up. From what I can tell there has not been a single copy on eBay, Amazon, or any of the on-line book sites during the decade I've been looking. I had begun to think that maybe the book had never been published, or the name had been changed and no one told Rachel. But a few weeks ago a copy finally turned up - in Australia! The book was quite inexpensive, but the shipping charge was huge. Obviously, I bought it.

Playing for Keeps is a contemporary novel about the "World of High Fashion." The protagonist, Suzanna Blake, is an important New York fashion designer. She and Elaine Roberts, the owner of a fashion house, decide they should launch a new line of sports clothing and they need a hot young female athlete to "sponsor" the line. They focus on signing sixteen-year-old Ginny Norris, who is dating another male tennis star. There's a good deal of action involving one of the other female tennis pros, Trish Crawford, who is generally known to be gay. Thankfully Trish is one of the good guys in the story. Indeed, the villain is a vile and very homophobic columnist who is out to destroy a couple of the characters.

The book turned out to be rather interesting. Not for its plot, characters, or writing style, but because it is jam-packed with very graphic sex scenes! Pulsing, muscle-clenching, flesh-moistening, anatomically-described sex scenes written by Oz book author Rachel Cosgrove!

Rachel Cosgrove in early 1985 - a couple years after writing Playing for Keeps.
The protagonist sleeps with the journalist she has enlisted to introduce her to the tennis world; Elaine Roberts goes to bed with a friendly competitor; Elaine goes to bed with her friendly investor in the new sports line who has mob ties; Suzanna goes to bed with the sports journalist again; Ginny and Mark go at it with some heavy flirting which nearly turns into rape; and Ginny's step-father actually rapes both Ginny and Suzanna. There is even a graphic lesbian sex scene in which the young Ginny Norris is bedded by Trish Crawford. The next morning, Ginny is a little freaked out and goes to talk to Suzanna Blake to try and make sense of what she's done. Ginny eventually says: "What we did last night isn't natural."

Suzanna closed her eyes, thinking, Give me strength! This girl would be the death of her yet.

"Ginny, There are many different kinds of sexual love. I know that homosexuality has been a no-no in our Western society. Churches have said it was sinful. But there are places in the world, different cultures throughout history, where it has been accepted as normal. Different from some, but still just a variation. Don't feel soiled by what happened between you and Trish."

The nasty homophobic columnist has been spying and decides she can use the lesbian encounter to destroy Ginny's career. But Suzanna and her friends trick the columnist into showing up at Le Monocle, a lesbian bar in Paris, promising to give her the "proof" she needs to go public with her lesbian accusations. But instead the good guys drug the homophobic columnist, and take a series of nude photographs of her engaging in lesbian sex herself. And with the photos they blackmail the columnist into silence and forbid her to ever write anything anti-gay in her column in the future. Hooray! A happy ending!

There is a lot of very specific detail in the book about places in New York City, restaurants, clubs (they go to Michael's Pub one night and find Woody Allen jamming in a session), and there are lots of lovingly described meals and drinks in actual restaurants in both NYC and Paris. In the Paris chunk of the book, Rachel accurately describes streets, locations, hotels - and even stages the downfall of the homophobic columnist in Le Monocle, a historic Lesbian bar in Paris.

A lesbian couple at Le Monocle circa 1932.

I was curious if Rachel and her husband Norman enjoyed night-life or fine dining in New York, or if Rachel had been to Paris and written any of the Parisian locations from memory. I asked Rachel's son Robert and he replied:

I don't recall if the folks ever visited Paree; if they did, it was after my sister and I were in college. They DEFINITELY were not into fine dining, in NYC or elsewhere. (The only exception is when the Nebula Awards banquet was held in the Apple...) I would hazard a guess it was all research.  Trust me, if I'd known they were going to Paris at any point, I would've asked them to bring me home a cancan dancer!

While the food and geography seem well described, the descriptions of the various fashions leave a lot to be desired. Rachel always insisted she was "a verbal, not a visual" person. The combination of colors and fabrics seems garish and generally just tossed off by Rachel. Would a clothing designer really design a pair of sable fur tennis shorts? There's an amusing scene when Ginny laughs at them and points out how ridiculous it would be to play in a fur tennis outfit: "But Suzanna, who can play tennis in fur bloomers? I'd get so hot I'd probably faint." Suzanna replies: "Wait until my sample maker does the originals in suede and fur, satin and leather. The tennis world may never be the same again!"

And that, my readers, is the tale of Playing for Keeps. Isn't it curious where the yellow brick road can lead a person?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Map of Oz Monday - The Emerald City Part II

Last week we explored the layout and design of the Emerald City in John R. Neill's The Wonder City of Oz (1940) and The Scalawagons of Oz (1941) and the first, albeit partial, map of the Emerald City that we have seen.

In the late 1950s, Oz and Baum scholar Robert R. Pattrick began his own endeavor to map the capitol of America's fairyland. He had published a four part article on Oz geography in The Baum Bugle in 1959 and '60 when he died rather suddenly on August 17, 1960, at the age of thirty-three.

Robert R. Pattrick's gravestone at Forest Lawn in Los Angeles.

After Pattrick's death, his notes and maps were shared with fellow Oz scholar Judy Pike who picked up where Pattrick left off. Pike published their research in the Spring 1972 issue of The Baum Bugle. It is the Pike/Pattrick map we will be discussing below.

Emerald City map by Judy Pike and Robert R. Pattrick (1971)

Before we begin analyzing this map I should point out that Judy Pike has flipped Neill's partial map to make it  match directions and orientation with the Oz Club maps (which we haven't discussed yet). Apparently, Pattrick had used the Neill/Thompson "Munchkins on the left and in the west" orientation. I don't know if Pattrick actually preferred the Neill/Thompson orientation, but it makes sense that he would have used it while researching this map and working his way through Neill's books looking for details in the text.

I do think this concentric beltway/spokes design is very appealing. The map above shows only the major streets. Each of the sixteen "segments" or "blocks" in the map is actually interlaced with winding and twisting streets.

Pattrick and Pike also went through the Baum and Thompson books and attempted to work in every textual detail they could find into Neill's EC design.

This map shows four gates to the Emerald City, one facing each of the four countries of Oz, as established by Baum in The Patchwork Girl of Oz on page 184. The map also shows: Unk Nunkie's cottage just outside the Munchkin gate;  the location of Notta Bit More's circus tent in the far suburbs; the public square (where Ozma's Road to Oz birthday festivities took place) is on the south side of the palace. The Love Magnet is hanging above the South Gate, and Pike has added in many textual locations from the Neill Oz books.

Judy Pike seems to have gotten confused about Jack Pumpkinhead's "Pumpkin Park." She has moved it from its textually explicit location north of the Emerald City and repositioned it to the west having drawn in a wedge of Winkie Country to accommodate it. I suspect Pike believed she was restoring Jack's gigantic hollowed-out pumpkin home to its proper Winkie location. But, in fact, Jack's "Pumpkin Park" location is his "second" home where he stays in the old Ozoplane when he wants to be closer to the Emerald City.

One problem I have with this map and this research is that Pike is not clear about what detail is explicitly based on textual evidence and what detail Robert R. Pattrick seems to have invented.

"Pattrick discovered that four main streets in the city connect the four gates to the palace. They are Celery Street (Winkie Gate), Custard Court (Quadling Gate), Pumpkin Place (Munchkin Gate), and Strawberry Street (Gillikin Gate). Each, as researched by Pattrick in the Neill books, has certain extensions into the countryside, and these extensions are noted on my map."

Personally I'd like the references. From my admittedly hasty look through the Neill books I can not find that all four streets are named and that all four road extensions are named. It's possible I missed them. It is also possible that those details are in Neill's original manuscript for The Wonder City of Oz (the published book is heavily rewritten by a staff writer) or possibly from Neill's original manuscript for The Runaway in Oz, both of which Pattrick had access to. Anyway, I haven't had time to plow through the three books and two manuscripts. If any of my readers want to post text references in the comments section of this post I'd be delighted!

Pike does imply later that all these streets are mentioned in the text as she deliberately leaves off a few names Pattrick did invent, such as calling the road he adds around the palace Tangerine Terrace.

Pike's article is generally very solid and she has worked meticulously through Neill's books to place some of the locations such as Pancake Park:

"Although Pattrick always located this park on his maps between Strawberry Street and Doughnut Drive, he enlarged and shrank it in his various map versions. He was trying, I think, to reconcile some of the facts given in the Neill books, primarily the statement that as Sir Hokus comes into the city from Pumpkin Park, he takes a shortcut through Pancake Park to the Castle. In addition, I found that one must be able to look down Pudding Place and see the park, and that, when within the park boundaries, he should be able to see the sun rise. As I've placed Pumpkin Park in the West, Sir Hokus would enter on Celery Street. By locating Pancake Park straddling Celery Street and Pudding Place and fairly close to the walls of the Castle, one may reconcile the facts into an acceptable location. In spite of the high Castle Wall, the sun's rays at daybreak might well reach into the park at the Pudding Place boundary."

I will try to add a PDF version of the full article when I have a few minutes. It's very detailed and quite good.

Next week, we'll explore some additional ways Neill's Emerald City design and these maps impacted more recent Ozian iconography.

Click here for the next Oz map blog post.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Meet Walt Spouse

For years Eric Shanower and I have been curious about exactly who Walt Spouse was and what he did with his life. As most Oz folk know, Walt Spouse was the writer artist of the 1932-33 comic strip adaptation of five Baum Oz books: The Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz, The Emerald City of Oz, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, and Tik-Tok-of Oz.

The adaptations of Land, Patchwork Girl, and Tik-Tok were later collected in The Funnies, the early strip-reprint comic book. And Land, Ozma, and Emerald City have been collected into individual trade paperbacks here at Hungry Tiger Press. Click here to check them out!  But Walt Spouse himself has been a complete mystery!
Well, thanks to online genealogy websites, recently released census records, and digitized newspaper archives, I was finally able to track our boy down.

Walter Woolston Spouse was born in Camden, New Jersey, on January 21, 1894, to John James Spouse (b. 1861) and Annie McGrory (b. 1866). Walt was a middle child. The 1900 census lists four older siblings: J. Alfred, older sisters May and Edith, and a brother Charles (just a year older than Walt). Finally, there is a younger brother named Thomas Manley Spouse.

Walt's father had been born in England and his mother had been born in Scotland. They immigrated with their first three children to the U.S. on December 30, 1891. They first settled in Camden, New Jersey, where Charles was born in October 1892, and Walt was born in January 1894. Walter's father was a controversial Baptist minister and union organizer. For a time Walt's father was working in Philadelphia, but by 1899 the family had resettled in Saginaw, Michigan.

Saginaw News, November 21, 1899

Considering how much loving detail was worked into The Wonderland of Oz, I always assumed Walt must have been a Baum/Oz fan. Now I can see he was the perfect age to be one. He was six years old when The Wizard of Oz was published and thus he was probably reading the Oz books as fast as they were being originally published..

By the 1910 census, Walt's father is listed as working for the wireless telegraph. That's the same year, coincidentally, in which Ozma cut Oz off from the big outside world in every way - except, of course, by "wireless."

Not surprisingly, Walt seems to have been drawing all of his life.

Walt won a prize for a drawing of Santa Claus, December 27, 1906. He was eleven years old.

And while in high school, Walt won first prize from the Saginaw Art Club for a poster sign advertising the club's free art exhibition, announced below in the March 8, 1910, Saginaw News. Walt was sixteen. He completed only two years of high school.

March 8, 1910, Saginaw News announces Walt Spouse wins prize for poster.

According to Walt Spouse's World War I draft card (dated 1917) he was short, stout, had brown eyes and dark brown hair. He was now living in Indianapolis, where he was working as a staff artist for the Indiana Daily Times. Note how similarly Spouse printed his name at the top of the card (below) to how he signed his Oz comics (see above). His actual signature at the bottom of the card is very ornate and quite handsome. I love the highly flourished capital S! I'm making an assumption that Spouse himself filled in the bulk of the information on the card.

Walt Spouse's WWI Draft Card.
In May 1924 Walt immigrated to Canada. His immigration application says he is moving to obtain work in advertising and he seems to have a job with an agency, but I can not read the company name on the application. He returned to the U. S. in August 1926. By 1928, Walt's older brother Charlie was living in Toledo, Ohio. And it is perhaps on a visit to his brother that Walt met his future wife, as on November 30, 1929, while in Ohio, Walt married a woman named Adelaide Rader.  Adelaide had been previously married to a Mr. Cassady with whom she had a daughter, Elaine. Mr. Cassady seems to have died.

The 1930 census shows Walt living in Dearborn, Michigan. And it lists Elaine Rader as Walt's step-daughter. Walt listed his occupation as an  "artist" working in "commercial art." So Walt had a young child at home while he was drawing Wonderland of Oz in 1932-1933.

Splash panel from Spouse's adaptation of Baum's Land of Oz.

A page from the comic book reprint of Spouse's Patchwork Girl of Oz.

On August 5, 1937, Adelaide filed for divorce from Walt, citing "cruelty and no support." The divorce was granted on June 23, 1938. There are no specifics, but Walt did not contest the divorce. The judge also said "no alimony."

In the 1940 census Walt is living in Detroit as an "artist," working in "advertising." He lived in a rented home that cost $40 a month. In the week prior to the census being taken, Spouse worked a 48 hour week. His total income in 1939 was $2750. The census also shows that Adelaide and Elaine have moved in with the parents of Adelaide's first husband.

Walt's World War II draft registration card says that he is still living in Detroit and he is working for the Ralph L. Woolf Co., and then the information on Walt Spouse comes to an abrupt halt.  I find no more information until Walt's death on May 10, 1975. He was eighty-one. It's too bad no one tracked him down for an interview about The Wonderland of Oz.  I would love to know more about Walt's exposure to Baum and Oz, how he liked working in comics for those few short years, and what else he did with his life.

So now you've met Walt Spouse! Come check out his Oz comics!

Buy Walt Spouse's WONDERLAND OF OZ!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Map of Oz Monday - The Emerald City Part I

There has been one major thing missing from every Oz map we have discussed so far. That is any sort of detail in the Emerald City. As a rule, Oz maps seem to indicate the city's location by a large jewel or a small illustration of an Emerald City skyline as in the Oz Club's maps. What use is that?

I can remember wanting more detail about the Emerald City when I was a kid and there was very little to go on. Yes, it was lovely, marble everywhere, set with emeralds and chased in gold . . . blah, blah, blah . . .  Give me details!

One place I could find details was in Neill's artwork. Good examples were Neill's drawings of the walls and gates in The Marvelous Land of Oz and the intricate drawings of the Emerald City architecture in The Road to Oz. And finally, the pièce de résistance, the lovely double page drawing of the Emerald City in John R. Neill's The Wonder City of Oz.

Click to Enlarge

And of course The Wonder City of Oz is none other than the Emerald City, and finally we have a book featuring a vast amount of detail on Emerald City architecture and some clear indication of the city's layout. I really do love Neill's design of the Emerald City. It is charming, lovely, and funny all at the same time! It is also a very intelligent design with the wide concentric boulevards circling the palace in the center of the city and the wide avenues radiating outward from the palace like bicycle spokes. It seems very appropriate that the design of the capital city of the American fairyland should in many ways echo the L'Enfant/Banneker aesthetics of our own capital, Washington, DC.

The image above shows the city from the north side. Strawberry Street runs pretty much directly north from Ozma's palace to the north gate of the Emerald City. Most interestingly, in the same book Neill gives us another double-page illustration looking north from Ozma's palace up Strawberry Street toward the Gillikin hills in the far distance.

Click to enlarge

Comparing the architecture in the two drawings it is pretty clear Neill had diagrammed the city and palace to some extent. I truly wish his design sketches would turn up!

I noticed one other detail showing how thoroughly Neill seems to have envisioned the city. In The Road to Oz (1909) Neill drew a lovely and detailed picture of Dorothy being welcomed by Jellia Jamb on an elaborate curving staircase leading up to Ozma's palace. You can actually see the staircase drawn into the big city-scape above that was drawn for Wonder City of Oz thirty-one years later as you can see in the image comparison below. Jellia and Dorothy's positions are noted by green dots in the latter image.

EC stairway in ROAD (1909) and same stairway in WONDER CITY (1940).

One thing I am not totally sold on is that the city is itself alive, each house having a personality of its own and limited mobility. It's not so much a bad thing as much as it has never been that way in the past. There is certainly some justification for it as even W. W. Denslow in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz anthropomorphized Oz architecture. And Neill continued that tradition in his portrayal of the domed Oz houses with the dual "stick-em up!" chimneys. Wonder City just takes it to an extreme. Do you really want a house that bickers with you? It's not unlike Living Island on Pufnstuf.

Another thing I have trouble with is the names Neill gave to the city streets. Banana Boulevard, Strawberry Street, Celery Street, Pudding Place, etc. It just doesn't seem to fit the Emerald City. Why should everything be named after food? Why not named after important Oz characters? I'd much prefer Pastoria Boulevard to Pudding Place. Or named after shades of green: I'd  prefer Chartreuse Court to Celery Street. Neill's street names just feel arbitrary and a bit twee.

But to continue . . .  I suspect the lovely city-scape drawing from Wonder City proved popular with the kids, or the publisher, or Neill himself, as he reworked it by adding a night sky and using it as the pictorial endpapers for The Scalawagons of Oz.

And further on in Scalawagons we find two maps! One of which provides the first ever actual map of the Emerald City. Showing Banana Boulevard and Strawberry Street, this map is clearly following the design of the city as laid out in Wonder City the year before.

As you can see, this map shows Ozma's Castle with a wall or road around it, and it shows Strawberry Street, the main thoroughfare leading to the north-wall gate to the Gillikin Country. It also shows Banana Boulevard, the major circular thoroughfare in the city, and it shows Jenny's Turnstyle Shop.

There are some problems with this map. The outer wall surrounding the entire city seems to be missing. Did Neill simply fail to draw it in? A logical place to add the wall would be to start at the point where Strawberry Street becomes Peanut Pike and draw a large concentric circle around the city.

Revision showing addition of the outer wall of the Emerald City.

But this solution raises problems. It puts the city wall directly through Pumpkin Park. Jenny's Turnstyle Shop is in the middle of a block, not on a corner of Banana Boulevard and Strawberry Street as explicitly stated in Wonder City. And the Yellow Road from the Winkie County extends a good way into the city which it should not do. It should end at the city gate.

As a reminder, Pumpkin Park is not Jack Pumpkinhead's pumpkin-shell home in the Winkie County. Pumpkin Park is where Jack lives inside an Ozoplane, his Emerald City (or near-Emerald City) pied-à-terre. Whether Pumpkin Park is inside or outside the city wall is unclear in the text, but I'm sure the city wall doesn't run through it.

A different solution would be to assume Neill accidentally labeled the outer wall as Banana Boulevard. If the map's Banana Boulevard becomes the outer city wall, then Banana Boulevard would have to move closer to Ozma's Castle, and so Jenny's shop becomes more correctly placed. This puts Pumpkin Park outside the city and the Yellow Road ends at the city wall as it should. This solution makes the most sense to me and solves the majority of problems with the map.

Revision showing Neill's outer circle as the city wall with a new Banana Blvd.

Scalawagons features a second full page map, too.

Glinda's castle seems much too close to the Emerald City, and the position of the "hump" of the Mifkits territory has been adjusted further to the right than it seems to be on the main Oz map. Thus this is an assortment of accurate locales condensed together to show the action of the story in the space allotted. Despite the detail shown in the Emerald City, in many ways these are not true "maps" but diagrams showing the action of the story.

Note, too, that Neill follows the Thompson era compass directions where the Munchkins are west and the Winkies are east. Even though I feel these maps function more like diagrams than actual maps, it does seem like Neill's Oz is a much smaller place than the Baum/Thompson Oz. Neill's Oz almost feels like a gigantic theme park!

In the 1950s, Oz scholar Robert R. Pattrick began merging all of the details from the Oz series and Neill's drawings into a map of the Emerald City. He died in 1960 before completing his map. But Judy Pike took on the project and next week we will look at the Pattrick/Pike map of the Emerald City.

Click here for the next Oz Map blog post.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Map of Oz Monday - Thompson's Map Part II

As I was saying . . . Ruth Plumly Thompson's three hand-drawn maps are very important in exploring the cartography of the Land of Oz and its surroundings. Part I (click here to read) explored the map Thompson sent to Oz fan Henry Blossom in 1938. That map was a tracing of Thompson's own reference map below.

Click to Enlarge

Reports suggest Thompson was marking up this map in the hopes that publisher Reilly & Lee would update the old Oz maps drawn in 1914 to show her Oz countries and locales. She has added in details from the Baum books that had not made it into the 1914 maps as well. Thompson's 1938 tracing (here) is virtually identical to this map, but that map makes it much easier to see the finer details. The only substantial change in the map above is the addition of Red Top Mountain from 1939's Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz. The caption in The Baum Bugle where this map was first printed mistakenly suggests that Thompson had inked in the words "Red Ink Mt," but comparing the handwriting, it clearly says "Red Top Mt" and is obviously just an addition to the map by Thompson once Ozoplaning had been written.

Of much more interest is Thompson's hand-corrected revision of the map of the countries surrounding Oz shown below.

Click to Enlarge

The center section of the map is missing. There is some indication that what survives and is shown above is actually a pair of photocopies - possibly made for James E. Haff and Dick Martin when they were developing the Oz Club maps. Anyway, on to the discussion!

One of the most interesting aspects of the map is that Thompson has put so much detail into the map from Baum's non-Oz fantasies. Several locations from Baum's John Dough and the Cherub are newly added. She has marked in the capital of Hiland and Loland, appropriately placing it on the border of the two countries. She added in the "Realm of the Fairy Beavers," and she has added in Phreex and the Island of Romance, though she has called it the Palace of Romance here.  I am fairly certain she is not adding in the location from Jack Snow's Magical Mimics in Oz.

Sadly she is working off the flawed map where Hiland and Loland are not drawn as the island they are supposed to be. Phreex should be its own island - not a locale between Hiland and Merryland. That said, she has created a "coastline" for the Mifkets and placed "Castle Isle" offshore a ways. Is this the Duke of Dork's Castle Boat - or some place from John Dough I'm forgetting? She has also added her "Castle Boat" in the Nonestic Ocean proper in the upper right hand corner of the map.

Thompson also added in lots of detail from Baum's Dot and Tot in Merryland, or at least close approximations: Clown's Country, Valley of Dolls, Valley of Lost Things, Pussy Cat Valley, and Babyland. And she has even seemingly inked in the Merryland River! Was she working from memory? If she was actually going through the books why garble the names of the valleys? She also failed to add any detail to Noland or Ix. Perhaps she never read Queen Zixi of Ix? She did add Mo to the map, but has misspelled it "Moe."

There are lots of other bits added to the map, such as Bobo's Castle. Oddly she has added both the Mangaboos AND the Glass City to the Vegetable Kingdom when in fact they are the same place.

One of the things I find most interesting is how she has added in many of her islands to the small section of the Nonestic Ocean that we can see on the map. On the image above it is very gloppy and suffers from bad reproduction. I took a few minutes and cleaned up that section of the map and relabeled the islands:

Yowza! What a crowded little bit of ocean this has become! Obviously Thompson was only imagining Reilly & Lee modifying the existing maps - not expanding them to show enough ocean for the islands to be placed realistically. And of course even this little triangle of ocean wouldn't be QUITE so crowded if the Isle of Phreex were over on the other side of the continent as it should be (near Hiland and Loland) where Thompson tried to re-position it. Oddly she didn't remove it from the clutter-fest above.

Now, of course we can't take the scale and positioning of these islands as utterly sacrosanct - but somehow I find it sort of charming Thompson was jamming in her many, many islands (several books worth!) into this sad little triangle of visible ocean. Note Thompson has also added in Regos and Coregos from Baum's Rinkitink in Oz. She has also taken a chunk of Rinkitink real-estate to form Menankypoo and marked in the Conjurer's Cave. 

As I've mentioned before, I am hoping that this blog series will eventually lead to a new set of Oz maps that accurately reflect the text, while preserving all the detail possible that was provided by the original authors. Thus while Elbow Island can't possibly be that close to Regos and Coregos, when the new Nonestic charts are drawn I hope to utilize Thompson's hand-drawn shape of the island as shown above. Some day . . .

Next time we will begin a several part look at the mapping of the Emerald City! Click here for the next Oz map blog post.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

White Rats and Genealogy

It's certainly been a while since I wrote an Oz blog! Now that I'm retired as "Mr. Winkie Convention" perhaps I'll be able to do this blogging thing a trifle more frequently.

Today, I'm sharing a recent acquisition to the Tiger Den - a lovely copy of Rachel Cosgrove's 1963 novel, Not For Glory.

It's actually a pretty decent book - perhaps most interesting to an Oz fan for its biographical insight into the life of its author. This "career" novel is set in a pharmaceutical lab. And Rachel Cosgrove herself had been trained as a biologist and worked for many years in a pharmaceutical lab before she turned to writing full-time. And main character, Faye Viccars, works a lot with white rats who are obviously cousins of beloved Oz rat, Percy.

In addition to being a "career" novel the book is also a mystery, which was one of Rachel's favorite types of tale to tell. And this book came with a small mystery of its own!

The book is actually a presentation copy inscribed by Cosgrove: "To Aunt Linnie and Uncle Chester."

Laid inside the book was a typed letter from Rachel to the apparent relatives dated February 26, 1965. It said, "Dear Aunt Linnie - I thought that you and Uncle Chester might enjoy my latest book. Love, Rachel"

Having known Rachel quite well, and being curious who the book had belonged to, I emailed Cosgrove's son and asked him about Aunt Linnie and Uncle Chester. He didn't recognize their names, but suggested they were probably from the Cosgrove side of the family. Somehow, the fact that he didn't know who these relatives were made me even more curious! What to do?

Go to and poke around the Cosgrove family tree! Fairly quickly Eric Shanower and I found Linnie and Chester!

Linnie L. Brake was born in 1877. She was the sister of Rachel's mother, Martha P.  Brake, thus Rachel's true Aunt.  Linnie married Chester Malone Cunningham (1870-1965). I don't know if Uncle Chester ever got a chance to read Not for Glory. The book was sent to him in February of 1965 and he died that June at the age of 95.

Aunt Linnie had a good deal more time to read her niece's novel as she lived until 1977 when she died at age 100 - two month's shy of her 101st birthday.

Now perhaps this quest for information has been a bit of a detour away from the yellow brick road, but oddly I found it quite fascinating to be able to track down so much information on that brief moment in 1965 when a Royal Historian of Oz sent her latest book to a very elderly Aunt and Uncle she cared about. As Percy the white rat might say, "Neato, kid!"