<<BACK          HOME          GIFT SHOP           CONTACT            LINKS          NEXT>>
1920 Sheet Music
1932-06-18 Western Story
1927-12-18 Newspaper
1932-08-13 Liberty
1930-07 Ace-High
1933 Calendar Art
1931-12 Outlaws
1935-11 Amer. Detective
1932-01-09 Western Story
1937-10 Physical Culture
1932-04 Outlaws
1941-11 True Romances






















Arthur Ray McCowen was born July 29, 1893 in Portland, Oregon. His father, Arthur Frank McCowen, was born in 1863 in Missouri. His mother, Carrie Wilcox McCowen, was born in 1870 in Virginia. His parents married in Oregon in 1892 and live at 390 East Washington Street in Portland. The father was a grocery merchant.

On January 21, 1897 his parents had a second child, Arthur Frank McCowen, Jr., who tragically died after only a few days.

In 1902 the family left Oregon and moved to Los Angeles, California, where they lived at 438 East 30th Street. The father worked as a dry-goods salesman.

On October 30, 1904 The Los Angeles Times reported that Mr. & Mrs. McCowen had sold a tract of land in Los Angeles.

In 1907 the mother, Carrie Wilcox McCowen, died at the age of thirty-six, after a complicated pregnancy with what would have been her third child.

In 1908 Arthur Ray McCowen, at age fourteen, finished the 8th grade of public school, after which he quit schooling and entered the workforce. He first worked as an assistant book-keeper at the Blake, Moffit & Town Paper Supply Company in Los Angeles.

By 1909 he was living at a lodging house at 720 Flower Street in Los Angeles. His widowed-father lived alone one block away at 739 Flower Street.

In August of 1914 Arthur Ray McCowen was listed as a clerk, age twenty-one, five-foot-eight-inches tall, 135 pounds, living on Orange Avenue in Yuma, Arizona.

In 1915 Arthur Ray McCowen joined the California National Guard and served in Company "L." After two years he was promoted to Second Lieutenant.

On July 3, 1917 he joined the Navy and served as a Seaman First Class. He was honorably discharged on June 10, 1919 as a Yeoman First Class. As soon as he was out of uniform, Arthur Ray McCowen moved to New York City to seek his fortune as a commercial artist.

One of his first free-lance clients was the Jerome H. Remick Company, a publisher of sheet music.

In 1920 Arthur Ray McCowen was living at 375 West 58th Street in New York City, a lodging house that was only two blocks west of the Art Students League of New York at 215 West 57th Street, where he is likely to have attended evening art training classes.

On April 28, 1924 Arthur Ray McCowen married Adelaide "Addie" Campbell Smith in NYC. She was born in 1884, so she was nine years older than the groom. She had been previously married to Steven A. Trentman.

In 1925 the artist and his wife were living in Asheville, North Carolina, at 54 Kimberly Avenue, where he was listed as a "commercial illustrator."

In October of 1925 the artist's wife needed an operation, so they left North Carolina and returned to New York City. On December 15, 1925 the artist's wife, Addie McCowen, died at the age of forty-one in a NYC Hospital while recuperating from an operation.

In 1927 Arthur Ray "Baldy" McCowen bought half-ownership in the William Hoppe Billiard Academy at 51st Street and Broadway, which was known as "one of the finest billiard and pool rooms in the world."

On August 26, 1929 Arthur Ray McCowen married his second wife, May Inez Pierce, in New York City. She was born in 1905 in Pennsylvania. So the bride was twenty-four and the groom was thirty-six. The artist and his second wife lived at 37-05 90th Street in Queens, NY. The marriage lasted a few years before it ended in divorce. They had no children.

During the 1930s the artist drew for newspapers, designed calendars, and painted magazine covers for pulp magazines, such as Ace-High, Outlaws of the West, Courtroom Stories, and Western Story. He also painted covers for slick magazines produced by Macfadden Publications, such as Physical Culture, True Romance, True Detective, American Detective, and Liberty, which at that time had a circulation second only to The Saturday Evening Post. The artist later recalled the many sexy models that appeared on his covers for Physical Culture magazine, "Bernarr Macfadden told me, Baldy, a woman is a mammal! Bring it out!"

On July 6, 1939 the artist's father, Arthur Frank McCowen died at the age of seventy-six in Los Angeles, CA.

In 1940 the NYC telephone directory listed the artist at 210 East 10th Street in Greenwich Village.

On April 27, 1942, during World War II, Arthur Ray McCowen reported for draft registration. He was recorded at the time to have been age forty-eight, five-nine, 175 pounds, with brown eyes, black and gray hair, a light complexion, and a "scar where bone was removed above left eye." He was not selected for military service.

On May 11, 1944 the artist married his third wife, Helen D. Fitzpatrick McCowen, in NYC. After their marriage the couple moved to Red Rock, NY, where the artist drew illustrations for The Chatham Courier newspaper.

In 1952 the artist had an operation at the Verterans Administration Hospital in Albany, NY.

Two years later in 1954 he was again admitted to the same hospital. After his release in January 1955, the artist and his wife Helen left Red Rock, NY, and moved to Orange City, Florida.

On November 25, 1955 The Orlando Sentinel newspaper published an article about the artist having decorated a local fisherman's boat.

Arthur Ray "Baldy McCowen died at the age of sixty-six in the Bay Pines Veterans Administration Hospital in Madeira Beach, Florida, on October 13, 1959.

                              © David Saunders 2021

<<BACK          HOME          GIFT SHOP           CONTACT            LINKS          NEXT>>