Book Collecting

Frank Baum – Ozma of Oz 1907 | First Edition Identification Guide

Ozma of Oz: A Record of Her Adventures with Dorothy Gale of Kansas, Billina the Yellow Hen, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger; Besides Other Good People Too Numerous to Mention Faithfully Recorded Herein, published on July 30, 1907, was the official third book of L. Frank Baum‘s Oz series. It was the first in which Baum was clearly intending a series of Oz books.

It is the first Oz book where the majority of the action takes place outside of the Land of Oz. Only the final two chapters take place in Oz itself. This reflects a subtle change in theme: in the first book, Oz is the dangerous land through which Dorothy must win her way back to Kansas; in the third, Oz is the end and aim of the book. Dorothy’s desire to return home is not as desperate as in the first book, and it is her uncle’s need for her rather than hers for him that makes her return.


Baum - Ozma Of Oz 1st Printing DJ
Ozma of Oz 1907 First printing

On an ocean voyage with her uncle Henry to Australia, Dorothy is blown into the sea by a storm. She takes refuge on a floating chicken-coop, which washes ashore, along with the coop and a hen in it. The hen is able to speak; Dorothy gives it the name “Billina”. Exploring the land, Dorothy and Billina are menaced by a tribe of brightly dressed “Wheelers”, who have wheels instead of hands and feet. They also find a clockwork man named Tik-Tok (one of the first intelligent humanoid automatons in literature), who joins them.

Tik-Tok informs Dorothy and Billina that they are in the Land of Ev, which currently has no competent ruler, its king having committed suicide after selling his family to the Nome King. The three visit the castle of Princess Langwidere, who has many exchangeable, detachable heads. When Dorothy refuses to let Langwidere take her head and add it to her collection, Langwidere has a tantrum and locks Dorothy in a high tower within the palace.

Luckily, Princess Ozma and her Royal Court of Oz (many of whom appeared in the two previous Oz books) just happen to cross over the Deadly Desert on a mission to free the royal family from the Nome King. Upon arriving, Ozma takes charge and has Dorothy, Billina and Tik-Tok released from Langwidere’s custody. The three join Ozma’s expedition to the Kingdom of the Nomes.

When they arrive, the Nome King reveals that he has magically transformed the royal family into decor ornaments. When Ozma asks him to release them, he offers a bargain: the Oz people may enter his chambers and try to guess which of the Nome King’s many ornaments they are, but if they fail to guess correctly, they will also become ornaments themselves. Ozma, the twenty-seven soldiers of the Royal Army of Oz, including the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and Tik-Tok, all suffer this bizarre fate. Dorothy luckily selects one ornament which turns out to be one of the royal family’s young princes.

That night, Billina overhears the Nome King discussing his transformations with another Nome, and learns how to recognize, by color, which ornaments are transformed people. She also learns that the King’s magic powers come from the Magic Belt that he wears. She is, therefore, able to free all the transformations. By exploiting the Nomes’ fear of eggs, the Oz people are able to capture the magic belt and escape the Nome Kingdom with the royal family of Ev.

After returning the royal family of Ev to their throne, Ozma, Dorothy, and the others finally return to the country of Oz where a great victory celebration is held in the Emerald City’s royal palace. Dorothy is officially made a Princess of Oz, Billina elects to remain in Oz, and Ozma uses the magic belt to send Dorothy to Kansas where she is happily reunited with her Uncle Henry.

Frank Baum – Ozma of Oz First Edition Book Identification Points

Please refer to the gallery for detailed images of binding(s) and dust jackets.

Ozma of Oz - First Edition Identification Guide
YearTitlePublisherFirst edition/printing identification points
1907Ozma of OzReilly & Britton Co., [1907]First edition. Illustrated by John R. Neill, 170 pages. Five states, priority as listed:

- 1 -

Textual points: The publisher’s advertisements facing the half-title page and at the end of the book offer two titles: The Land of Oz and John Dough and the Cherub. Fifth line of the “Author’s Note”, page [11]: some copies have the “O” present in “Ozma”; others do not (Of the two significant presentation copies examined, only one has the “O”. This suggests that the drop-out occurred during the first press run.) There are no inserted color plates; color is used in many of the text illustrations. The illustration on page [221 ] is in color. In some copies pages 135-[136], [153]-154, and [221]-222 are integral; in others, one, two, or all three leaves are cancels. Apparently the coloring on these pages suffered smudging or “offset” during printing and stacking of the sheets, and the worst of them were excised and replaced after the books were assembled. Inserted pictorial endpapers in color.

Binding: light-tan cloth, stamped in black, red, blue, and yellow. The publisher’s name at the foot of the spine reads: “The Reilly &  |  Britton Co.” in large and small capital letters. The spine has a drawing of Ozma stamped in black, red, and yellow. The back cover shows the lion, the tiger, and the hen, peering over or through an “OZ” monogram.

SECONDARY BINDING: Before the stock of original sheets was exhausted a secondary binding case began to be used. It is identical with the cover described above except that the spine imprint reads: “Reilly &  |  Britton”. One copy has been seen with blank endpapers.

Dust jacket: Issued in a full-color dust jacket with an illustration on the front which is different from that on the binding. The back of the jacket and the front and rear flaps are blank.

Size of leaf: 9 by 6 3/4 inches. Thickness of volume: 7/8 inch.

A publisher’s or salesman’s dummy of Ozma of Oz is known. It contains only the first 32 pages of the book, sewn in 8-page gatherings. No text appears on the dedication page or the “List of Chapters” pages. Page [11] has the “O” present in “Ozma”. The binding case is identical with that of the first state, except that the spine is blank. The volume measures a scant 1/2 inch thick.

Ozma of Oz was published in Canada by the Copp, Clark Co., Limited, of Toronto. The single known copy is identical with American first state copies (with the “O” present in “Ozma”, page [11], pages 135-[ 136], [ 15 3]-154, and [221 ]- 222 integral, and page [221 ] in color), but with a cancel title page with the Canadian imprint; the verso is blank There is no publisher’s imprint on the spine.

Later printings

- 2 -

Textual points: Same as # 1 with the following exceptions: the publisher’s advertisement at the end of the book lists titles through The Emerald City of Oz (1910),* the “O” in “Ozma” on page [11] is missing; the illustration on page [221] is in black and white. All pages are integral.

Some copies have pictorial and others have blank end­papers. The book is printed on a heavier weight paper and is about 1 1/4 inches thick including covers.

Binding: Same as the secondary binding case described above.

- 3-
Textual points:
Same as #2 except that the advertisement lists titles through The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913). Blank endpapers.

Binding: Same as #2.

- 4 -
Textual points:
Same as #s 2 and 3 except that the advertisement lists titles through The Lost Princess of Oz (1917), and the book measures about 1 1/16 inches thick including covers. Blank endpapers.

Binding: Same as #1. 2 and 3 except that the back cover is blank. (One copy has been reported that retains the back cover illustration.)

- 5 -
Textual points:
Same as #3 and 4 except that the advertisement lists titles through The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918).

Biding: Tan cloth, with pictorial paper label in colors on the front cover. (This label design appeared on the dust jackets of the previous states.) The spine is stamped in black only; at the foot is the imprint “Reilly  |  & Lee”.

NOTE: The firm name “Reilly & Britton” did not become “Reilly & Lee” until 1919. Therefore it is possible that #5 sheets also exist in Reilly & Britton binding.

Subsequent printings of Ozma of Oz have the Reilly & Lee imprint on the title page. Copies have been noted with advertisements listing titles through Glinda of Oz (1920), through Kabumpo in Oz (1922), and through The Cowardly Lion of Oz (1923). Later printings have no advertisements. Some of the 1922 and 1923 copies and all later ones have the “O” in “Ozma” on page [11] restored in a slightly different type face.

In 1929, a new cover label an dust jacket design by John R. Neill replaced the old one; it was used on all subse­quent editions of Ozma of Oz until 1959. In 1931, a “Popular Edition” was issued which dispensed with the use of color within the book. Both the regular edition with color illustrations and the “Popular Edition” were issued simulta­neously for several years. Around 1935 or a little earlier, the regular edition was discontinued and the “Popular Edition” was no longer so designated on its cover label. In all printings since then, the illustrations have been only in black and white.

Frank Baum – Ozma of Oz Edition Dust Jacket Identification Points

First edition binding(s) and various Dust Jacket printings identification.


  • Wikipedia
  • Bibliographia Oziana – Haff, Greeme, Martin. 2002

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