“The Wonder City of Oz” Endpapers.

NEILL, JOHN REA. 1877-1943

“The Wonder City of Oz” Endpapers. NEILL, JOHN REA. 1877-1943.

Endpaper design for The Wonder City of Oz, pen and ink and white paint, 313 x 483 mm.

Published: The Wonder City of Oz by John R. Neill (Chicago: Reilly & Lee Co., 1940), endpapers.

Provenance: Frank O'Donnell, Reilly & Lee Co., Chicago.

When Ruth Plumly Thompson, the second Royal Historian of Oz, decided to retire in early 1940, the publishers Reilly & Lee invited John R. Neill, the illustrator of all but the first Oz book, to succeed her. He wrote and illustrated three titles shortly before his death. Neill was in the habit of filling the endpapers for many books in the series with portraits of Oz characters. Among the very best is this drawing for “The Wonder City of Oz.” Several of the faces were used in the headpieces for Chapters 3 and 8 as indicated in the printer's notes below the drawing. Note that Neill misspelled "Scarecrow."

One of the few surviving original artworks from the Oz book series containing multiple main characters from the series together in one setting.


The Oz books, from their inception, have been championed for creating a world of diversity and community. “Everyone is welcome in Oz.”

How do we define community? What needs does it fill on a personal and societal level? What does a diverse community look like? How do the ideas of diversity and inclusion contribute to ‘utopian’ worlds we often see depicted in children’s literature? What can we learn from these examples and apply to our own societies?

This piece of artwork was sold at one of the first Wizard of Oz Club conventions. How does coming together with people who share similar passions inspire greater community?

Fred Meyer, who owned this art until his death was, for half a century, the Secretary of the Wizard of Oz Club. How does service / mentorship help build community?


“Who’s Who in Oz?” -- The Wonder City of Oz art features some familiar (and some perhaps not familiar) characters from the land of Oz. Who do you recognize? Who might you imagine some of the characters to be?

Using these characters, create your own story about the land of Oz.

From the book The Wizard of Oz, to the 1939 movie, Wicked, The Wiz and beyond, the characters of Oz have been drawn and interpreted in many different and unique ways. Design your own unique version of one of the characters. Imagine how Oz might look today.

Most of the Oz artwork was drawn in pen and ink and colored in the printing process. Color a black and white Oz drawing to indicate to the printer your inspiration.

The characters in The Wonder City of Oz endpaper drawing look like they are on a Zoom call! How do you imagine these diverse characters communicate with each other? Why might they be on a call together? What do you think they are trying to accomplish?

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