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1913-11-15 The Popular
1931-05-02 Detective Story
1915-04-24 Sat.Eve. Post
1931-07-04 Detective Story
1916-05-05 Detective Story
1931-11-28 Detective Story
1917-Win The Metropolitan
1933-04-10 Detective Story
1917 U.S. Marines
1934-06-09 Detective Fict.
1919-10-19 Detective Story
1935-07-13 Argosy
1930-11-08 Detective Story
1935-11 Detective Tales
1931-03-07 Detective Story
1938-05-21 Wild West










John Albert Coughlin was born January 23, 1885 in Chicago, Illinois. His father, James Joseph Coughlin, was an Irish-American grocer born 1854 in Illinois. His mother, Mary McClarney, was born 1856 in Ireland. She immigrated to America in 1871. The parents married in Chicago in 1884. John was their first-born child. His younger sister Theresa was born in 1889. The family lived at 248 North State Street.

In 1900 at the age of fiteen John took a two-year course at the University of Notre Dame, which is 80 miles east of Chicago. The school was serviced by eight different railroad lines from Chicago. Along with regular business training, he also took classes in drawing and painting from Jobson Emilien Paradis, who had studied in Paris with Gerome. In 1902 John was awarded a commercial diploma.

In 1903 he began to study at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he completed his studies in 1906. After which he worked in advertising that was printed in Chicago publications.

In 1912 he moved to New York City to open an art studio at 880 West 181st Street in the Washington Heights section of Upper Manhattan. His apartment building was on the corner with Riverside Drive, so his studio had a spectacular view of the Hudson River. This was decades before construction began on the George Washington Bridge, so his art studio was filled with unobstructed sunlight.

In 1913 he painted his first pulp cover assignment for Street & Smith's The Popular Magazine. That same year he also painted covers for Harper's Weekly.

In 1914 he illustrated The Brown Mouse by Herbert Quick, editor of Farm and Fireside Magazine. He also painted several covers for People's Magazine.

He painted the April 24, 1915 cover of The Saturday Evening Post. In October of that same year he created the pulp cover for the first issue of Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine. He went on to create almost all of the covers for this same title over the next twenty years.

On September 14, 1916 he married Walletta M. Yeakle in NYC. She was born 1892 in Illinois. On September 21, 1917 their first son John Albert Coughlin Jr. was born. He was known as Albert.

In 1917 during the Great War he painted a popular recruitment poster for the U.S. Marine Corps.

On September 12, 1918 he reported for draft registration. He was thirty-three years old, married and the father of an infant son, so he was not selected for military service. Records list him as tall, medium build, with grey-blue eyes and black hair.

Around 1922 his son Albert died of spinal meningitis at the age of six.

After this tragic loss he and his wife moved five blocks south to a new apartment at 370 Fort Washington Avenue, near 176th Street.

In 1924 his second son James Joseph Coughlin was born.

On December 22, 1930 his third child, Robert Teliss Coughlin was born.

Besides painting covers for The Popular and Detective Story, John A. Coughlin also made covers for Argosy, Complete Stories, Detective Fiction Weekly, Detective Tales, Real Western, Short Stories, Top-Notch, and Wild West Weekly.

In 1942 during WWII, he did not serve in the military, by which time he was fifty-seven years old.

John A. Coughlin died in a Manhattan hospital at the age of fifty-eight on April 3, 1943.

                               © David Saunders 2011

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