Chester Abbott Bloom was born July 28, 1918 in Regina, Canada, the capitol city of Saskatchewan. The family was of German ancestry. His father, also named Chester Abbott Bloom, was born in Edina, Missouri, in 1882. His mother, Margaret Dunlop Bloom, was born in. His parents had two children. His older brother Frederick was born in 1915. They lived at 3150 Rae Street in Regina. His father was a journalist for The Calgary Herald and was also foreign correspondent of Canadian news for The Washington Post.
He was primarily raised in Canada, but because of his father's assignments with various newspapers, the family also lived for short periods around New York City and Washington, D.C.
In 1933, at the age of fourteen, his family moved to a new "permanent residence" in Arlington, Virginia, because the father had become a reporter for The Washington News Bureau. They lived at 3919 Fourth Street North, in Arlington, which is just across Memorial Bridge on the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
He attended Washington-Lee High School at 1301 North Stafford Street in Arlington, where he became interested in art, sports, and military service. In 1936 he contributed several illustrations to the school yearbook, The Blue & Gray. These were his first published illustrations. He was enrolled to graduate in the Class of '37, but in the Fall of 1936 his father was assigned to another Canadian newspaper, so the family was again uprooted and moved to Ottawa.
In 1937 he resumed his high school education at The Glebe Collegiate Institute of Ottawa, from which he graduated in June of 1938, at the age of nineteen.
In 1939 the Bloom family moved to New York City and lived at 47 Markwood Road in Forest Hills, Queens, NY.
He began to work as a commercial illustrator. His work first appeared in pulp magazines produced by Thrilling Publications, such as The Masked Rider Western and The Masked Detective.
In 1940, at the age of 22, he enrolled in The Art Students League of New York at 215 West 57th Street. His art studies and art career were interrupted by World War Two.
One month after the Japanese sneak-attack on Pearl Harbor he applied for naturalized U.S. citizenship and enlisted in the U.S. Army in February of 1942. He did his basic training at Camp Upton in Yaphank, NY, in Suffolk County. He was recorded at that time to be five-foot-nine, 145 pounds, light complexion, Brown hair, hazel eyes and with a scar on his forehead. He was also listed as having studied one year at college. It is not known what NYC college he might have attended, however this may be a mistaken reference to his art school studies.
In the summer of 1943 he sent a remarkable letter to his father, which was subsequently published in The Calgary Herald on July 24, 1943.
According to December 20, 1944 article in The Washington Post, he was "attached to the survey and map making section of a United States heavy artillery headquarters battery now blasting at the Nazi strongholds in Africa."
After the war he returned to New York City and rented an apartment at 120 West 3rd Street in Greenwich Village. He resumed his commercial illustration career as well as his enrollment at the Art Students League.
Most of his post-war illustrations appeared in sports-theme pulp magazines produced by Martin Goodman's Stadium Publishing Company, such as Best Sports, Big Book Sports, Complete Sports, Sports Action, and Sports Leaders. He painted covers for these magazines and also drew black and white story illustrations.
His work also appeared in the Popular Publications pulp magazine, Fifteen Sports Stories. His last work in the pulps was published in 1950.
In 1952 he won the Art Students League Edward G. McDowell Traveling Scholarship. He used the opportunity to spend a year in Europe, where he visited museums in France, Switzerland and Italy. He retained Canadian citizenship, but listed his home address as 47 Markwood Road, Forest Hills, Queens, NY.
In 1954 he exhibited the drawings and paintings he had produced during his year abroad at the Art Students League Gallery in NYC.
He worked for the rest of his life as a portrait artist in the New York region.
In 1974 he was commissioned to paint a portrait of the famous opera star, Renata Tebaldi.
Chester Bloom died at the age of seventy on June 15, 1989. He is buried at the National Cemetery in Calverton, NY.
© David Saunders 2009