Nicholas Eggenhofer was born December 5, 1897 in Gauting, Germany, in Southern Bavaria. His father and mother were Benedict and Margaret Eggenhofer. Nick was the oldest of four children. After hearing his father describe a visit to the Buffalo Bill Cody Wild West Show, Nick began a lifelong enthusiasm for the American Wild West. His family immigrated to America in 1913. They lived in a tenement house at 126 Main Street in Union, New Jersey. Nick's father was an ice hauler at the local ice plant.
In 1916 Nick moved to New York City and worked as a lithographer in the American Lithographic Printing Company, while he studied art in night classes at Cooper Union for several years.
In 1920 he sold his first pulp magazine illustrations to Street & Smith's Western Story.
In 1923 he received his first pulp magazine cover assignment, which was for the June 25th issue of Doubleday's Short Stories. He was soon creating covers for other pulps, but he is most renowned for drawing interior story illustrations for Ace-High, Action Stories, Cowboy Stories, Dime Western, Fifteen Western Tales, West, and Western Story.
In 1925 Nick Eggenhofer married his wife, Louise, who had been born and raised in Wyoming. They had their honeymoon in Santa Fe, NM, where Nick was finally able to explore the real Western landscape of his dreams.
The Eggenhofers moved to West Milford, New Jersey and lived in a log cabin that was hand-made by the artist. He was an avid collector of all Western artifacts. He even made lifelike scale models of stagecoaches, ox-carts, buggies, and Conestoga wagons that were realistic in every detail.
In the 1950s he worked for the men's adventure magazines Argosy and True.
In 1961 he wrote and illustrated his own book, "Wagons, Mules, and Men: How the Frontier Moved West."
The Eggenhofers retired to Cody Wyoming in 1962, where Louise's family was from, and where Nick was able to visit the Buffalo Bill Cody Historical Center as often as he pleased.
Nick Eggenhofer died at age 87 in March 1985.
© David Saunders 2009