Sunday, March 08, 2009

Oz and Censorship

Hello, Laura here! I'm currently reading a book called The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America by David Hajdu, and ran across something I found fascinating. I'm on page 299 of the hardcover edition of the book, and I ran across this little scene set in 1955:

"For handing in ten comic books, Jackson received a nice hardcover edition of Baum's The Wizard of Oz, which had a letter from Mrs. Carl W. Zeller, the national chairman of the National Child Welfare Committee of the Auxiliary, pasted on the inside front cover of the book."
I found this fascinating for a lot of reasons. First off, Jackson was handing in his comic books in a program designed to get those evil comic books out of the hands of children. The books being exchanged for comic books were considered to be wholesome reading by the people running the programs, which meant that someone considered Oz to be wholesome. But at the same time, in the 1950's, there was a running effort by librarians to get Oz off the shelves because it was considered "harmful to children"... uh, just like those comic books?

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