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George M. Hill Company

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The George M. Hill Company was the Chicago publishing house that published several of the early works of L. Frank Baum, most notably The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).

George M. Hill was a bookbinder in Chicago as early as 1880. In 1898 he started his own publishing firm. At first he concentrated on the steady market for reprints of books, rather than the riskier trade in new books. Yet Hill soon branched out, primarily with the work of local author Baum, starting with his Father Goose in 1899. (The cautious Hill required Baum and illustrator W. W. Denslow to pay some of the costs of that initial project.) With the success of Father Goose, the Hill company issued an abundant supply of Baum's output:

Yet the firm remained in business for only three years. in February 1902 the company was forced into receivership. This was not particularly unusual in the rough-and-tumble world of Chicago publishing: Baum's first book, Mother Goose in Prose, was issued in 1897 by the prestigious local firm of Way & Williams, which itself remained in business for only three years (1895–98).

After the Hill company went bankrupt, the rights to some Baum books, including Wonderful Wizard and American Fairy tales, were purchased by Bowen-Merrill.

George Hill returned to the bookbinding business after his sojourn in publishing. It seems ironic that one of the books the Hill company issued during its brief existence was J. S. Chamberlain's Makers of Millions: or the Marvelous Success of America's Self-Made Men (1899).

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