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Western Pennsylvania History: Summer 2014

Ziaukis, Tim
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Heinz History Center

Was L. Frank Baum, the author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,”a Bradfordian? Did Bradford’s oil boom of the 1870s and ‘80s inspire Baum’s vivid imagination? Many people think so. One Pitt-Bradford professor claims to have the answers and will share them in a presentation titled “Case Closed: L. Frank Baum in Bradford,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Mukaiyama University Room of the Frame-Westerberg Commons. The event is sponsored by Pitt-Bradford’s Friends of Hanley Library and is free. For decades, scores of Bradfordians have debated whether Baum lived and worked in their northwestern Pennsylvania town before he published his iconic work. Some speculate that he wrote for -- even founded – The Bradford Era. But was Baum really in Bradford circa 1879, starting or writing for a newspaper, before he went on to produce America’s greatest fairy tale? Tim Ziaukas, professor of public relations, claims to have tracked down the evidence. He published his results this summer in Western Pennsylvania History in an article titled “Oz in the Oilfields? Searching for L. Frank Baum in Bradford.”

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