Alexander ("Alex" and "Alec") James Redmond was born June 24, 1902 in Brooklyn. His parents were both of Irish ancestry. His father was Matthew Edward Redmond, a telegraph operator from Pennsylvania. His mother, Mary Redmond, was also from PA, where they were married in 1895 and lived with the paternal family at 71 Fayette Street in Conshohocken, PA. Their first child to survive infancy was Edward Matthew, born in 1897.
In 1898 his father was hired to work as a telegraph operator at the New York Stock Exchange, so they moved to a rented apartment at 191 Adams Street in Brooklyn. The building was near the exit ramp of the Brooklyn Bridge, so it was a convenient trolley ride across the spectacular bridge to commute to work in Lower Manhattan.
Their second child, Joseph Aloysius, was born in 1899, and three years later their third and final child was born, Alexander James.
By 1906 Mary Redmond had given birth to six children, but only three had survived. On October 28, 1908 she died at the age of twenty-nine, during her seventh childbirth.
In 1909 the widowed father and his three boys moved five blocks away to lodgings at 62 Orange Street in Brooklyn Heights.
In 1914 his father married a second wife, 28-year-old Elizabeth Powers from Indiana. She worked as a stenographer at a Wall Street stock brokerage, where they met. They moved to an apartment at 539 East 149th Street in the Bronx.
In 1916, during the Mexican Expedition of the Border War, the U.S. Army reinforced the Mexican American border in response to cross border raids by Pancho Villa's revolutionary army. The Southern Pacific Railroad Company quickly moved a massive army with support materiel to the region. They hired his father, an experienced telegraph operator, to serve at a remote outpost on the Mexican border in Strauss, New Mexico, just west of El Paso, Texas.
In 1918 his older brothers, Edward and Joseph were drafted for military service in the Great War. He was not drafted, because, at the age of sixteen, he was too young to serve. Instead of remaining alone with his stepmother he quit school and left the Bronx. He returned to live with his grandfather, Daniel B. Redmond, in Conshohocken, PA. After the war his two older brothers returned from service and lived with him at their paternal grandfather's home, where all three grandsons worked in the family shoe making business.
He and his brother Edward attended art classes in Philadelphia, which was only fifteen miles South by commuter train.
In 1926 he and his brother Edward moved back to New York City, where they shared an art studio at 55 West 10th Street, a Greenwich Village building that was filled with artist studios. One of their neighbors was the famous Lebanese artist and poet Khalil Gibran, author of The Prophet. Edward specialized in portraits and Alex listed himself in the building directory as an "Artist of Magazines."
Over the next few years he sold several interior story illustrations, but his first cover painting appeared on the January 1930 issue of Everybody's Combined with Romance, which was the final issue of that long-running pulp magazine.
He then found steady work painting many covers for larger-sized "bed sheet" magazines, such as Crime Detective, Real Detective Tales and Mystery Stories.
In the 1930s his covers regularly appeared on pulp magazines produced by Harry Steeger's Popular Publications. The majority of his work appeared on pulp romance magazines, such as All Story Love, Complete Love, Ideal Love, New Love, Love Fiction Monthly, Love Novels, Love Short Stories, and Sweetheart Love Stories.
He was too old to serve in WWII, so he was among the few professional freelance illustrators who remained active throughout the war years.
After the war he lived and worked at 15 West 67th Street, which was a popular artist studio building on the Upper West Side. His nearby friends and neighbors included other pulp artists, such as Norman Saunders, George Gross, Ralph DeSoto, Richard Lillis, Gloria Stoll, and Allen Anderson.
He never married.
Alexander Redmond died in his art studio on the upper west side of Manhattan at the age of seventy-three on November 5, 1975. © David Saunders 2009