Duncan Robert McMillan was born June 8, 1895 in Swindon, England. His father, Robert K. McMillan, was born 1876 in Scotland. His mother, Rebecca McMillan, was also born 1876 in Scotland. His parents married in 1895 and moved to the Wiltshire district of England and lived at 65 West Clyde Street in Swindon. They had three children, of which he was the first born. His younger sisters Agnes and Margaret were born in 1899 and 1900. His father was a tailor of ladies clothing.
On May 23, 1912 the family of five immigrated to America and settled 25 miles north of Boston in Beverly, Massachusetts, where they lived at 163 Cabot Street.
In 1914 they moved to 14 Williams Street. That same years all five family members applied for naturalized U.S. citizenship.
After finishing high school he worked as a machinist at The United Shoe Machinery Company of Beverly, MA.
On June 5, 1917 he was drafted for military service in the Great War. He was recorded at the time to be of medium height, medium build, with gray eyes and brown hair.
After the war he returned to his family home in Massachusetts. In 1920 he attended the Massachusetts Normal Art School in the Boston, where he studied for three years. The training program at this school was designed for commercial artists. Hubert Rogers studied at the school at the same time, so the two young artists were undoubtedly acquainted. Clarence Doore also studied at the school.
In the summer of 1923 he married Constance C. McMillan in Boston. She was born April 23, 1900 and raised in Beverly, MA, where she had been a classmate of his younger sister Agnes. Constance was also an artist and illustrated several children's books. They moved to 1678 Beacon Street in Boston, MA.
On August 31, 1925 he and his wife, as well as his sister Agnes, sailed to England.
By 1928 he had moved to New York City by himself and lived in a boarding house at 151 East 21st Street in Manhattan, where he worked as a freelance artist and sold cover paintings to pulp magazines. His work appeared on the covers of Adventure, Everybody's, Everybody's Combined With Romance, Short Stories, Star Magazine, West, and a hunting magazine called Forest & Stream.
In the spring of 1930 he moved to an art studio at 40 Gramercy Park near to the prestigious National Arts Club.
On June 1, 1930 he and his wife sailed on the Red Star Line to England for a grand tour of Europe. They returned to NYC on September 16, 1930.
In 1932 they moved to 129 West 10th Street a bohemian neighborhood where many artists and writers lived, such as Rudolph Belarski, Alexander Redmond, Harold Hersey, and Khalil Gibran.
New paintings by Duncan McMillan no longer appeared on pulp magazines after 1935, although several of his earlier covers were altered and used a second time by cost-conscious publishers.
On April 25, 1942 he registered with the selective service during WWII and was recorded to be five-four, 140 pounds, with gray eyes, brown hair and a ruddy complexion. He listed his occupation as "self employed."
Duncan McMillan died in New York City at the age of forty-seven on February 18, 1943.
© David Saunders 2012