Henry William Reusswig was born July 22, 1902 in Somerville, New Jersey. His family name is pronounced "rice-wig." His father was Heinrich Wilhelm Reusswig and his mother was Edith (Norton) Reusswig. He and his older brother Norton were the only children. In July of 1908, at the age of six, his father died. His mother, who came from a prominent political family in Utica, New York, moved back home to raise the children. In 1915 his mother married his step-father, Norman J. Griffith, the manager of Stittville Cannery Company. They lived at 8 Greenwood Court, where his younger sister Aurelia, was born in 1917.
After finishing prep school at the Utica Free Academy in 1920, he attended Amherst College, where he joined Phi Delta Theta and was a member of the varsity baseball squad and the football team. In 1922 he was elected captain of the Amherst football team. His name first appeared in print on October 7, 1923 in the New York Times, "Amherst was saved many times by the punting of Captain Reusswig, whose toe drove the ball from the danger zone on at least fifteen occasions."
He graduated Amherst in June of 1924 and he moved to 360 West 22nd Street in New York City, where he took advanced painting classes at the Art Students League until 1925. He studied with several influential art teachers and befriended many art students, including his future wife, Martha Sawyers.
His first published assignments were interior illustrations for Colliers. He went on to illustrate stories for Cosmopolitan, Everybody's, Liberty, Redbook, The Saturday Evening Post, and Country Gentleman.
In 1927 he married Martha Sawyers, who was to become a significant author and illustrator. They traveled around the world and produced illustrated articles about exotic lands. They shared an apartment and art studio in New York City at 22 East 72nd Street.
He sold freelance pulp covers to Ace-High, Action Novels, Adventure, All-Fiction, Argosy, Complete Detective, Detective Book, Detective Tales, Dime Detective, The Frontier, Short Stories, War Aces, War Birds, War Stories, West, Western Story, and Wild West Weekly.
During World War II he served as Lieutenant Colonel in the U. S. Army in the European Theater of Operations.
After the war he drew comic adaptations of classic novels for King Features newspaper syndication, as well as the Book-of-the-Month Club.
In the 1950s the Reusswigs moved to New Milford, Connecticut, where they lived in a country home with two spacious art studios on Long Mountain Road. He sold freelance illustrations to men's adventure magazines such as True, Argosy, Sports Afield, and Outdoor Life.
He and his wife continued to travel around the world. They produced two collaborative books on the Far East that were published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1961 and 1964. They also kept a New York City apartment at 404 East 66 Street until 1965, when they moved to his wife's hometown in San Antonio, Texas.
William Reusswig died in San Antonio at age 75 in June 22, 1978. He is buried in Cuero, Texas.
© David Saunders 2009