Arthur Roy "Mitch" Mitchell was born December 18, 1889 in Trinidad City, Colorado. His father was Tipton D. Mitchell and his mother was Bessie A. Mitchell. His older sister was Hattie, and his younger sister was Ethel. They lived at 516 South Animas Street. His father, who came from Virginia, was the Superintendent of the Trinidad Coal Mine.
After graduating high school in 1907 he worked as a ranch hand in New Mexico for one Summer.
By 1909 he began to work in the advertising department of a local newspaper, The Trinidad Chronicle News. By 1915 he was the Manager of Advertising and Circulation.
In 1917, at the age of twenty-seven, he served in the World War as a drill sergeant with the 35th Infantry at Camp Lewis in Washington State. He later attended Officers Candidate School, but was not deployed before the war ended in November of 1919.
In 1925 he moved to New York City to study with Harvey Dunn at the Grand Central School of Art.
In 1927 he followed the example of Harvey Dunn and moved to Leonia, New Jersey to open his own art studio. He worked as a pulp magazine illustrator and specialized in Western scenes. He painted cover illustrations for such magazines as Ace-High Western, All Western, Cowboy Stories, Frontier Stories, Thrilling Western, Western Story, and Wild West Weekly.
As WWII approached many illustrators were drafted, but he was too old to serve, so he was poised to dominate the field of Western pulp artists. Unfortunately in 1942 he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He abruptly quit his illustration career and returned to his Colorado home town, where he expected to die, but in fact he recovered and remained healthy for the rest of his life.
In 1945 he began to teach art at Trinidad State Junior College, where he continued to work for fourteen years.
In 1958 he retired from teaching and dedicated his remaining years to preserving the history of the Old West with various local restoration projects and by creating fine art paintings on the subject.
In 1976 he was presented with the Trustees Award of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.
He never married and he had no children. In his last years, he moved to Denver to live with his elderly widowed sister, Ethel "Tot" Erickson.
A. R. "Mitch" Mitchell died in the Denver Hospital at the age of eighty-seven on November 15, 1977.
© David Saunders 2009