Ellis "Al" Wellington Potter was born on November 21, 1920 in Windsor Locks, CT. His father, Myron Elliott Potter, was born in 1880 in Barre, Massachusetts. His mother, Mary Alexandra Osterhoudt, was born in 1882 in Connecticut. His parents married in 1904. They had two children. His older brother Myron Potter, Jr., was born in 1912 in MA. The family lived at 1 Dean Avenue in Warehouse Point, CT. The father worked as a manager of local tobacco interests for the American Sumatra Tobacco Corporation of NYC, located at 102 Maiden Lane in Lower Manhattan.
In 1925 at the age of five he contracted scarlet fever, which permanently damaged his right eardrum. He remained deaf in that ear for the rest of his life.
His nickname was "Al."
In June of 1938 he graduated from Suffield Academy in Suffield, CT.
In 1939 he attended the Pratt Institute of Brooklyn, where he enrolled in the three-year Art School training program. He lived in New York City while attending school. His art teachers included Nicholas Riley, H. Winfield Scott, and Monty Crews.
In August 1941 his mother died in Connecticut at the age of fifty-nine.
In 1942 during WWII he enlisted in the Army but was declared unfit for military service because he was deaf in one ear.
In June of 1942 he completed his studies at Pratt and began to work as a free-lance commercial artist. His sold pen and ink story illustrations to pulp magazines. His work appeared in Action Stories, Fifteen Western Tales, Frontier Stories, New Western, North-West Romances, Real Western, and Western Trails. His only painted cover appeared on the December 1944 issue of Real Western Magazine.
On December 12, 1943 he married Helen Colleen Sharp. She was born on December 6, 1925 in Albion. Pennsylvania. They moved to Dobbs Ferry, New York. From this location he was able to commute to NYC in forty minutes on the Metro-North railroad to Grand Central Station in mid-town Manhattan, where he delivered his finished assignments to the various publishers in that busy neighborhood.
On November 11, 1944 his son David Elliott Potter was born.
His career in the pulps ended after two years in 1945 when he moved back to his childhood home at 1 Dean Avenue in Warehouse Point, CT, to raise his son.
On May 6, 1947 his daughter, Kathleen Clare Potter, was born.
During the Post-War period the artist worked in Connecticut as a free-lance illustrator for several advertising agencies. His clients included the Aetna Insurance Co. and Hartford Fire Insurance Co.
His art studio was a room in the home, where his curious children were free to visit and explore. Perhaps this quality time has some positive influence on his children, who both grew up to be artists.
He taught adult education art classes at East Windsor High School.
He became a Boy Scout Troop Leader, and was active on the Board of Education, as well as the Board of Selectmen in East Windsor, CT.
In 1955 he designed the official Connecticut Town Seal of Five Villages, which include Broad Brook, Melrose, Scantic, Warehouse Point, and Windsorville
The family spent summers in an artist community at Old South Wharf on Nantucket Island, MA.
On September 14, 1966 his father died at home in East Windsor, CT, at the age of eighty-six.
In 1966 the artist built a home on Rye Street in Broad Brook, CT.
In 1969 at the age of forty-nine he suffered a stroke. As a result he retired from commercial illustration.
He sold the house and moved to 29175 South West 187th Avenue in Homestead, Florida, where art studio was added onto the property and built according to his design.
His wife became inspired to paint, so they worked together in the studio and developed a fascination with seascapes, which led to painting expeditions throughout the Eastern Coastline.
According to the artist's daughter, "My father loved hunting and fishing. He was a good man, a great father and a wonderful artist. I have many fond memories of him. I remember hanging over his shoulder watching him work at home....bet he just loved that!"
In the summer of 1981 they rented a cottage on Marmion Way, Gloucester, MA, where Ellis W. Potter died at the age of sixty on September 24, 1981.
© David Saunders 2013