Lyman Frank Baum was born on May 15, 1856 in Chittenango, New York. A sickly child he was schooled at home until the age of 12. He was fascinated by printing and early on was given a printing press from which he produced a number of journals.
In 1880, his father built him a theatre in Richburg, New York, and Baum set about writing plays and gathering together an actor’s company. On November 9, 1882, Baum married Maud Gage and several years later they Aberdeen, Dakota Territory, where he opened a store, "Baum's Bazaar". Although the store and several other ventures failed his experiences in drought- ridden South Dakota became the basis of Kansas in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
The first book in the series was published in 1900 to critical acclaim and financial success. It was the best-selling children's book for two years running. Baum went on to write thirteen more novels based on the places and people of the Land of Oz.