Brady Schwind and Peter Hanff catalog an original watercolor illustration by John R. Neill for ‘The Emerald City of Oz.”

As part of its ongoing preservation efforts through The Lost Art of Oz, The Arts of Imagination Foundation is pleased to be assisting The International Wizard of Oz Club with the cataloging of the Club’s archives, which includes rare original artworks by W.W. Denslow, John R. Neill, Frank Kramer, and Dick Martin. 

Archival cataloging begins with measuring, photographing, and astutely describing an artifact in writing.  For the Oz artwork, the process of notation includes documenting pencil marks made by the artist and printer in margins and on the back.

​Removing acidic mattes and plastic sheeting ensures the art’s continued well-being and often reveals surprises. Illustrator, John R. Neill was fond of doing completely unrelated drawings on the reverse sides of his illustration boards!

Besides documenting the physical attributes of a piece, cataloging also attempts to capture details about the art’s provenance, or history, along with information about where the art has been featured in print and publicly exhibited.

This original artwork of The Scarecrow and The Tin Woodman by John R. Neill was first drawn for the endpaper design of “Little Wizard Stories,” and was repurposed (with embellishments) for use in “The Patchwork Girl of Oz.”

​The combined information the cataloging process collects can bring new insights into how artists and printers worked with the materials, and how the artifact has been valued historically, while also organizing important details in a way that makes them more accessible for future researchers.

Brady Schwind catalogs a piece of original artwork by John R. Neill for “The Marvelous Land of Oz.”