On Friday evening, I'll speak at the Munchkin Convention in Princeton, New Jersey, about John Dough and the Cherub, L. Frank Baum's fantasy novel for 1906.
More peculiarly, I plan to speak about the roots of this book in:
- the European folktale classified as Aarne-Thompson 2025, "The Runaway Pancake"
- displays of premature babies at Coney Island
- the polygenist theory of human evolution
- Baum's last steady job, as editor of the trade magazine The Show Window, devoted to shop displays and merchandising
- whether in 1906 Americans knew that the Wright brothers had invented the airplane