The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Designer binding by Michael Wilcox (1989). Illustrated with 62 woodcut illustrations by Barry Moser, with an appreciation by Justin G. Schiller. No. 79 of 350 copies, with presentation and pencil vignette by Moser dated 15 January 1986.
My life with books began with collecting The Wizard of Oz and its sequels at age eight and by 1956 (age twelve), a selection from my library was loaned to Columbia University Libraries for its centenary exhibition honoring L. Frank Baum. That was also the year CBS televised the MGM film and borrowed my first edition (1900) for its emcee Bert Lahr to use when introducing the movie; on that occasion I was one of two children on his lap, the other was Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland’s daughter. Fast forward thirty-five years: I first saw this Michael Wilcox binding on exhibit at The Grolier Club in 1990, and when the Elkind Library came up for sale at Sotheby’s New York in 1994, I was fortunate to purchase it.Whereas Moser chiefly illustrated the Oz text using American political personalities as models, Wilcox adapted famous symbols of popular American culture: the Wizard is Harry Houdini and Shirley Temple is Dorothy, not only MGM’s first choice for the role but also a national symbol of the ideal child. New York in gold outline becomes Oz. The gateway into the city runs along the Manhattan Bridge. Within the two circles are representations of the tower of the Jefferson Court House, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building to the far left. The combination of colors appears like modern motorways with overpasses and underpasses, but only the yellow-colored road leads to the Emerald City.