Jay McArdle was born James Nivison McArdle on November 22, 1899 in New York City. His father was James McArdle, a thirty-four-year-old liquor dealer, who emigrated from Ireland in 1883. His mother was Lillian Nivison a twenty-four-year-old New Yorker of Irish ancestry. His parents had married in 1897 and their first child had died in infancy. They lived at 425 West 52nd Street in Manhattan.
On March 7, 1900, at the age of five months, his father died after falling from a moving trolley car.
In 1905 his widowed mother married William Smoot, a thirty-one-year-old laborer longshoreman. They moved to 154 Washington Street, behind Trinity Church graveyard in Lower Manhattan.
William and Lillian Smoot had four children of their own, while James McArdle retained his birth name and was raised as a stepson without being legally adopted by his stepfather.
By 1916 the family lived at 52 Jane Street in Greenwich Village, while teenage "Jay" McArdle worked as a clerk at the same shipping terminal where his stepfather was employed.
In 1918 he reported for military service in The Great War. He was recorded to be of medium height, slender build, with blue eyes and dark brown hair. He served in France.
By 1920 he had returned from the war and was living with his parents, his three step sisters, and one step-brother at 159 Ninth Avenue, near West 20th Street. He worked as a clerk at a men's furnishing store.
From 1935 until 1947 he drew pen and ink interior illustrations for pulp magazines Spicy Detective, Private Detective, Fighting Western, and Western Romances.
During those same years his work regularly appeared in Liberty Magazine. He painted a few covers for Liberty, but he mostly painted and drew black and white story illustrations.
On January 14, 1942 his mother Lillian Smoot died. Later that same year he married Gladys "Gali" Maye Browne, who was born in Wales, England, on March 12, 1903. They moved to 1356 Madison Avenue, near East 96th Street, where they raised two children, Robert and John.
He was a staff artist at Fairchild Publications. He also worked for DC Comics, contributing to Popular Comics (1936), Dale Evans Comics (1946), House of Mystery (1951), Star Spangled War Stories (1952), and Blackhawk (1957).
From 1940 to 1952 he created the syndicated newspaper comic strip Doctor Bobbs, and then from 1952 until 1959 he created the comic strip, Davy Crockett for Columbia Features Inc.
Jay McArdle died suddenly in his Manhattan apartment of a heart attack at the age of sixty on February 7, 1960.
© David Saunders 2009