L. Frank Baum Meets His Future Wife

Overall view of the Neal house, looking north. To its left stands an apartment building, to its right another old mansion in but slightly better repair.

In this house L. Frank Baum met his future wife Maud Gage, daughter of freethinker and suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage, at a Christmas party in 1881.

The house was then owned by William Neal and his wife Harriet Baum Neal, Frank’s sister. The introduction was made by Frank’s aunt Josephine Baum, whose daughter Josie was a roommate of Maud Gage’s at Cornell. Family legend says it was love at first sight -- or something very close to it -- for Frank and Maud.

Matilda Joslyn Gage frequently visited the Neals at this house. In 1912, Frank, Maud, and their four boys stayed here while visiting Syracuse, Frank being by then world-famous for his children’s books.

The house, in serious disrepair, is currently owned by the city of Syracuse. Efforts are reportedly afoot to acquire it as a headquarters for the Lyman Frank Baum Foundation.