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1907-12 Technical World
1939-05 Weird Tales
1910 10-Story Book
1939-10 Weird Tales
1922 Elgin Watch
1940-04 Girls On Parade
1938-10 Golden Fleece
1940-12 Fantoman Comic
1938-12 Golden Fleece
1942-03 True Comics
1939-02 Golden Fleece
1944-01 Weird Tales












Harold Saylor DeLay was born on May 13, 1876 in South Charleston, Ohio. His father, David Washington DeLay, was born in 1835 in Ohio. His mother, Cynthia Rowley, was born in 1838 in Ohio. His parents married in 1861 and had six children, Albert (b.1862), Mamie (b.1867), Lizzie (b.1868), Emma (b.1870), Frank (b.1873), and Harold (b.1876). The father was the Principal of the Vinton Academy, a boarding school in Vinton, Ohio.

On March 26, 1880, according to The Gallipolis (Ohio) Journal, six-year-old Harold Delay, "attempted to board a wagon, missed his hold, and fell under the wheels, receiving a broken collar-bone and other serious injuries." During his recuperation, He remained in bed for three months of recuperation, during which time he discovered his love of drawing.

In 1885 the father was hired to be the Principal of a school in Cawker, Kansas, so the family left Ohio and moved to Kansas.

Three years later, in 1888, the family moved to Mattoon, Kansas, where the father had been appointed Principal of the Mattoon High School.

In June of 1892 Harold Delay completed the 10th Grade of high school, after which he left schooling and entered the workforce as a staff artist at the local newspaper.

In 1894 Harold Delay rented a room at the YMCA in Marion, Kansas, where he taught a drawing class.

In 1895 the father, Professor David Delay founded the Mattoon Business College in Harris Hall. According to the local newspaper, the professor's son, Harold DeLay, was in charge of the college art department.

In 1896 Harold Delay left Kansas and moved to Chicago to study at the Chicago Art Institute, where he met his future wife, Austria Hampton Roath, who was another art student. She was born in South Carolina on March 10, 1878. Other students at the school in 1896 were Ada and Adolph Schultz, Karl Albert Buehr, Henry Hutt, Frank and J. C. Leyendecker.

In 1897 Harold Delay was listed in the Chicago City Directory as a student residing at 296 Wabash Avenue.

On July 14, 1899 The Mattoon Gazette reported, "Harold Delay has accepted a four-year contract for a good position at one of the largest engraving houses in Chicago." That company produced the book "Thirty-one Years On The Plains" by W. F. Drannan (1900), which was illustrated by Harold DeLay.

On August 13, 1902 Harold Saylor DeLay married Austria Hampton Roath in Chicago. They lived at 7212 Yale Avenue on the South Side. They had four children, David (b.1903), Margaret (b.1904), Virginia Cynthia (b.1906), and Gordon (b.1908).

By 1906 Harold DeLay was a prosperous commercial artist with an art studio in the Dickey Building at 32-46 Dearborn Street. He drew story illustrations and painted covers for Technical World Magazine, The Century, and 10-Story Book, all of which were published in Chicago. He also illustrated several novels for the Reilley & Britton Publishing Company, such as "Daughters Of Destiny" by Schuyler Staunton (who was also known as L. Frank Baum). Harold Delay also illustrated "Tulu Menika" by R. H. Garretson (1906), "Life In The Mines" by C. H. Simpson (1908), "With Lion In Missouri" by B. A. Dunn (1910), "The Quest Of The Silver Fleece" by W. E. B. DuBois (1911), "The Short Stop" by Zane Grey (1914), and "646 And The Trouble Man" by C. H. Oliver (1916).

In 1916 the artist rented a bigger art studio at 119 North Clark Street in Chicago. At that same time he bought a family home at 878 Oak Street in Winnetka Village, north of Chicago, near Evanston.

On November 16, 1918 the artist's mother, Cynthia Rowley Delay, died at the age of eighty.

On May 12, 1918, during the Great War, Harold DeLay registered with the draft board. He was recorded at that time to have been tall, medium build, with brown eyes, and brown hair, which was partially gray. He was age forty-two, married, and the father of four children, so he was not selected for military service.

On January 20, 1919, the artist's father, Professor David Washington DeLay, died at the age of eighty-three.

In 1922 Harold DeLay illustrated an extensive newspaper and magazine advertising campaign for the Elgin Watch Company. A second artist, Hugh Rankin, worked with him on this series, which appeared nationwide in newspapers and magazines, such as The Saturday Evening Post, The Ladies Home Journal and The Chicago Tribune.

In 1924 the Popular Fiction Publishing Company of Chicago began to produce Weird Tales, which published many illustrations by Harold DeLay's friend, Hugh Rankin. Other artists who worked for Weird Tales in the early years were C. C. Senf, J. Allen St. John, Joseph P. Doolin, William Merle Allison, and Margaret Brundage.

In June of 1926 the artist's oldest daughter, Margaret Delay, graduated from Smith College.

1930 was the twentieth year Harold DeLay had continued to provide illustrations for the 10-Story Book, an irreverent magazine with risqué jokes and pin-ups, published in Chicago by R. R. Hamilton.

In the 1930s during the Great Depression, most advertising budgets had completely disappeared, so free-lance artists had to look elsewhere for income. Pulp magazines continued to pay illustrators, so Harold Delay survived the hard times by drawing pen-and-ink story illustrations for Weird Tales, along with his old friend Hugh Rankin.

In 1938 the Chicago-based magazine Weird Tales was sold to William J. Delaney, who handled advertising for ANC in New York City, where the magazine was subsequently published. At that same time, Harold DeLay left his family in Illinois and moved to New York City, where he drew pen and ink interior illustrations for Weird Tales. He also painted four covers for Weird Tales.

Along with owning Weird Tales, William J. Delaney also handled the advertising in many of the comic books that were sold at newsstands, so several of the artists that worked for Weird Tales also began to work at Lloyd Jacquet's art studio, Funnies Incorporated, at 49 West 45th Street. Harold Delay's drawings were published in Blue Bolt, Fantoman, The Human Torch, Mystic Comics, and True Comics. He also drew "Treasure Island" by R. L. Stevenson for Target Comics.

The 1940 U.S. Census recorded Harold Delay in a rented apartment at 23-16 21st Street in Queens, where he lived with Emma S. Wood, age forty-seven, a dancer in show business. She was identified as his "niece."

Harold DeLay died in a NYC hospital at age seventy-one on August 6, 1947.

Seven years after his death, as Weird Tales prepared to cease publication in 1954, the editor chose to re-use Harold DeLay's cover painting from ten years earlier for their final issue.

                               © David Saunders 2020

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