Virgil Evans Pyles was born 1891 in La Grange, Kentucky. His parents were William Yancy Pyles and Susan Evans Pyles. They were a farm family in Henry County. His father came from Kentucky and his mother came from Virginia. His older brother was Vernon Pyles.
In 1901 his mother died. The two sons were sent to be raised by Aunts in Louisville, KY.
In 1918 during the World War he served as a private with the 107th Regiment, "L" Company. He was stationed in France and was wounded in his jaw by enemy gunfire. He recuperated at General Hospital, Number Two, Fort McHenry, Maryland, where he took classes in commercial art. Under supervision of the Federal Board for Vocational Education he recieved a full scholarship to study at the Art Institute of Chicago.
By 1920 he had moved to New York City and lived at 318 West 57th Street as a lodger, while studying at the Art Students League.
In 1923 he is listed as a member of the Scenic Artists Guild, Local 829.
His first assignments were interior story illustrations for The American Legion Monthly, Country Home, and The Saturday Evening Post.
He worked in the same circle of illustrators who had served with the "lost generation" in WWI, such as Harvey Dunn, and Herbert Morton Stoops.
When the Great Depression hit the slick magazine industry, he began to draw interior story illustrations for pulp magazines, such as Adventure, Argosy, Bluebook, Clues, Popular Detective, Popular Western, Red Star Mystery, and Romance Magazine.
He also sold freelance pulp covers to Argosy, Detective Fiction Weekly, Masked Rider Western, Short Stories, and West.
In June of 1937 he moved to 9 East Fifty-Fourth Street, NYC.
In 1942, at the age of fifty, he was too old to serve in WWII, but he was the President of the Seventh Regiment National Guard of New York.
After the war he worked as an interior story illustrator for men's adventure magazines such as Adventure. He also worked as a seascape and landscape painter.
He lived at 20 West 58th Street.
V. E. Pyles died of emphysema at the Veteran's Administration Hospital on First Avenue and East 23rd Street in Manhattan at the age of seventy-three on April 27, 1965.
© David Saunders 2009