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The Book of the Hamburgs

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The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief Treatise Upon the Mating, Rearing, and Management of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs is an early nonfiction work by L. Frank Baum.

As its title indicates, the book is a guide to raising the Hamburg breed of chicken. Baum originally wrote the piece as an article for the journal The Poultry World, where it appeared in installments from July to November 1882. The article was commissioned by the journal's publisher, H. H. Stoddard, who re-issued it as a book in 1886, apparently without the author's knowledge.

Though the text is a technical and fact-based treatment of its subject, Baum's enthusiasm and literary flair occasionally manifests itself, as when he writes of the birds'

...exquisite symmetry, the novel and shapely rose combs, the snowy and delicate ear-lobes, the tapering blue legs and the graceful carriage....

Baum was an enthusiastic chicken breeder for much of his life, and won many medals and prizes for his birds. He was a founder of the Empire State Poultry Association in 1878, and served as the group's first secretary. Late in life, he raised Rhode Island Reds while living at Ozcot, his home in Hollywood, California.

References

  • Katharine M. Rogers. L. Frank Baum, Creator of Oz: A Biography. New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002.

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