March Laumer

March Laumer (b. in Alabama) and his siblings developed an early love for Oz. March himself cherished early correspondence with Ruth Plumly Thompson herself. His military career during the 2nd World War was spent as a marine, first in the south Pacific, and after the war in Japan. He did his undergraduate work at the Univ. of Missouri (Phi Beta Kappa) in Spanish and Portuguese (later he taught in Portuguese army schools), and his masters (in general linguistics) at Columbia University. He continued graduate studies (without degrees) at all the Nordic capitals (a brother also studied at a university in Stockholm), Amsterdam, and Perugia (Italy). In one document deposited at the Univ. of Lund he claims speaking knowledge of 10 languages, and translation knowledge of 5 more.

Not surprising he lived much of his adult life abroad (in later years spending a major part of the year in Lund, Sweden, and the rest in Florida near various of his immediate family), teaching in Turkey, Greece and Hong Kong (3 years, which probably explains the Chinese style dragon associated with one of his private presses), and working as a research writer for the U.S. Information Service in Helsinki for a couple years. The world wide financial problems of the early 1970s cost him most of his savings which he had perhaps unwisely (and speculatively) invested, so that he had to live a rather financially strapped existence in his later years. Sweden gave him opportunities to resume his acting career (something which had begun decades before in Hong Kong), and to carry on his writing and research. His Oz books proved to be his most popular works, and in his search for stimilating ideas he sought out collaborators, with varying measures of success in getting them to carry through. Fred Meyer and March were to have written Uncle Henry & Aunt Em in Oz together, and while many of the ideas incorporated in the book came from Fred, in the end the book was March’s product. For many years Michael Michanczyk was the most stimulating of March’s collaborators. By the 1990s he had also turned his attention and research to the health problems exacerbated by salt in the diet, and had for himself had adopted a salt free regimen. Several books (not in his Oz canon) develop the theme. An enthusiastic collector of (canceled) postage stamps, a surprising portion of many of his letters consists of instructions on how to select the stamps being sent to him or how to treat the stamps being returned to him. For his brother, the science fiction novelist Leith Laumer, see THIS LINK or THIS OTHER LINK.

March Laumer (2nd from right) with other Americans in Lund, 1992
March Laumer performs in a play in 1995