Herbert Morford Mott, Jr. was born November 10, 1923 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. His father was also named Herbert Morford Mott. His mother was Grace Mott. He was the oldest of two sons. They lived at 26 Circle Avenue. His father was a cashier at Outwater & Wells Bond House at 15 Exchange Place in Jersey City.
After completing four years of high school he entered the U.S.Air Force during WWII on January 4, 1943. He was recorded at the time of his enlistment to be five-foot-eight and weigh 120 pounds. He was stationed at an air base on Guam. He was always interested in art and was fortunately assigned to the graphic art department on the base, where they produced visual aids for training. While working on the job he learned the basic skills of art training.
After the war he returned stateside, where he met and married Georgiana Sears, who was born 1927 in Clifton, Idaho. She was raised on her family's farm and attended secretarial school in Ogden, Utah.
He was determined to become a commercial artist, so the married couple moved to the East Coast, where most magazines were produced. At first they lived in his hometown of Ridgewood, NJ, but later moved to Glen Rock, NJ, and finally settled in Franklin Lakes, NJ, where they raised four children. Steven (b.1949), Patrice (b.1952), Jeff (b.1956), and Gary (b.1960). After raising four children his wife eventually became an executive secretary at an East Coast sales company.
Herb Mott joined a graphic art studio in New York City and began to sell freelance illustrations. He sold work to book publishers and commercial advertisers. His pen and ink drawings illustrated stories in pulp magazines, such as Fifteen Western Tales and Western Story Round-Up. He is most renowned for his cover paintings for Railroad Magazine, for which he painted fifty-two covers from 1949 to 1954.
During the 1950s he also painted interior story illustrations for many men's adventure magazines, such as Adventure, Argosy, Bluebook, Bluebook For Men, Climax, Male, Men, Men Annual, Men's Pictorial, Real, Saga, See For Men, and Stag.
He illustrated books, such as The Fur Lodge by Beverly Butler for Dodd, Mead, & Co., Great Cars of All Time by Irving Robbins, and Great Trains of All Time by Freeman Hubbard for Grosset & Dunlap.
In 1956 he began a close involvement with the U.S. Air Force Art Program, which lasted for five decades, as he created over fifty historic paintings for the Air Force art collection.
In the 1960s he produced a series of paintings about the Civil War for the Vicksburg Battlefield Museum.
In 1970 he was the editor of Illustrators #11 the most important annual publication of the Society of Illustrators in New York.
During the 1970s he was a freelance illustrator. He produced work for the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company and Turner Construction Company.
In the 1980s he began to produce a series of historic paintings for the U. S. Coast Guard.
In the 1990s he produced a series of paintings for the Vicksburg Battlefield Museum, which were mainly concerned with the Confederate Navy during the American Civil War.
In 1993 he moved to New Mexico and began to create a series of paintings about railroad depots at the turn of the twentieth century. He created many cover illustrations for Vintage Rails. He also produced many artworks about the historic Western frontier.
According to the artist, "I put together my learning process in every piece I did."
Herb Mott, at the age of 88, is currently working in his magnificent art studio in Tucson, Arizona.
© David Saunders 2012