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1923-04 Weird Tales
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1936-10 Farmer's Wife
1924-01 Weird Tales
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1955-10 Nat'l Safety News

























George William Mally was born October 9, 1892 in Chicago, Illinois. His father, John Frank Mally, was born 1870 in Chicago of Austrian ancestry. His mother, Mamie Mally, was born 1872 in Chicago, and was also of Austrian ancestry. The parents married in 1891 and had three kids, George (b.1892), William (b.1895) and Ethel (b. 1900). The family lived at 41417 Fletcher Street in Chicago. The father was a professional photographer.

In 1908 at age sixteen, George W. Mally completed the 10th grade of schooling and then entered the workforce. His first job was for the Meyer Both Advertising Company, 2314 South Indiana Street, where they employed a large staff of copy-readers, letterers, lay-out and paste-up artists. While working at the firm he was encouraged to take professional art training.

In September of 1909 George W. Mally enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied drawing, painting, and etching for two years, he completed his art training in June of 1911.

After completing his studies he was promoted to the job as staff artist at the Meyer Both Advertising Company.

In the Summer of 1917 his work was included in the annual alumni show of former students of the Art Institute of Chicago.

On June 5, 1917 George William Mally reported for draft registration for service in the Great War. He was recorded at that time to have been age twenty-four, medium height, medium build, with dark blue eyes and light brown hair. He was single and he claimed no exemptions.

In November of 1917 George William Mally married Ruth Lena Mikelson in Chicago. She was born March 14, 1896 in Chicago of Norwegian ancestry. Her father, Lars Mikelson, was born in 1858 in Norway. Her mother, Lena Erickson, was born in 1860 in Norway. The parents married in 1881 and had five children, Carrie (b.1884), Emil (b.1886), Mabel (b.1888), Elizabeth (b.1893), and Ruth (b.1896). The family lived at 78 Point Street in Chicago. The father was a teamster at a local factory.

At the time of their marriage the groom was age twenty-five and the bride was age twenty-one. The married couple moved to 2023 Hancock Street in Chicago, where his occupation was listed as commercial artist.

In 1918 the U.S. Army began nationwide forced conscription, but by that time George M. Mally was a married man of age twenty-five, so he was not selected for military service.

In 1921 Mr. & Mrs. Mally had a son, George William Mally, Junior.

On April 3, 1923 several nationwide newspapers included announcements of the arrival at newsstands of that month's latest editions of the top periodicals, including the premiere issue of the new magazine entitled Weird Tales.

The artist who painted several covers for Weird Tales in its earliest years and signed the work "Mally" was George William Mally. In each case his signature was followed by the colophon "RLM." The artist's wife was named Ruth Lena Mikelson, so she had the initials "R. L. M." This indicates that she contributed a collaborative service of some sort to these historically important cover paintings. That contribution may have been the design concept rather than actual artwork. There is no indication that her service was in the role of an artist, because there is no further record of her having ever worked as an artist independently under her own name or as "RLM." Careful study of enrollment records for art schools in the Chicago region has uncovered no proof of her having ever received any art training. These covers for Weird Tales were all painted in the same style as other contemporary illustrations by George William Mally, all of which he signed as "Mally," and in each case that signature is written in the same way, although without the additional colophon of his wife's initials. The reason why he chose to include "RLM" on just these works for Weird Tales remains a mystery.

In 1926 Mr. & Mrs. Mally had a second son, James Ralph Mally.

By 1930 the family of four had moved to 4147 Fletcher Street in Chicago. The artist listed his employment as a commercial artist at a newspaper, and also stated that he was not a veteran of the World War.

In 1936 he had story illustrations published in The Farmer's Wife, a slick family magazine produced by the Webb Publishing Company of St.Paul, Minnesota.

The 1940 U.S. Census lists George and Ruth Mally with their two sons George Junior and James living at 2821 Luna Avenue in Chicago, where he was employed as a commercial artist at the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

On April 27, 1942 during WWII George William Mally reported for draft registration. He was recorded at that time to have been age forty-nine, five-six, 188 pounds, with gray eyes, brown hair and a ruddy complexion. He listed his employer as The Herald American Newspaper at 326 West Madison Street in Chicago.

During the 1950s George W. Mally was a staff artist at Public Safety News a trade journal of the National Safety Council headquartered in Chicago, IL.

George William Mally died at the age of eighty-nine in a hospital in Chicago, IL, on November 24, 1971. His wife Ruth Lena (Mikelson) Mally, whose emblematic initials "RLM" followed all of his signed work for Weird Tales, lived another six years until November 15, 1977, when she died at the age of eighty-one.

                     © David Saunders 2023

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