George Jerome Rozen was born October 16, 1895 in Chicago. His parents were Mary and Vaclav James Rozen, who had both immigrated in the 1860s from Bohemia (the Czech Republic). The father was a saloon keeper. There were six children in the family, including George's twin brother, Jerome. The twins were the youngest. The Rozen family lived at 1317 West 18th Street.
In 1899, the Rozens left the Chicago tenements and moved to Arizona for the health of their eldest son, James (16), who had contracted tuberculosis. They lived at 824 West Birch Avenue in Flagstaff. The father found work as a house carpenter for a building contrator. In 1902 brother James died from TB.
In 1910 the Rozens moved back to Chicago and lived at 1616 Washington Avenue. The father worked at a carpentry shop. The three older sisters worked as secretaries, and the 15 year old twins attended high school.
After their graduation in 1914 the Rozen family returned to Arizona again, where the father had better business opportunities in the home building industry. George found work as a telegrapher at Western Union, while Jerome began to take classes from a local art teacher.
In 1918 George was drafted into the Army for the World War and was assigned to the Telegraphy Signal Corps and deployed as an instructor to a training base in Michigan. He was recorded to be five-eight, slender build, with fair complexion, blue-grey eyes and reddish blonde hair.
After the war he was discharged as a Sergeant. He returned to his job at the Flagstaff Western Union and joined the National Guard. His brother Jerome had decided to pursue a career in art and attended the Chicao Art Institute. Jerome graduated in 1923 and was hired as an art structor at the school. When he began to earn good money as an illustrator, George decided to give up telegraphy and to instead follow in his brother's footsteps. He enrolled in the Chicago Art Institute, and even took one class that was taught by his brother.
While in art school George met his wife, Ellen Clara Mason, of Indiana. They married on December 19, 1927 and moved to New York City in 1930. They rented an apartment for $50 a month at 2725 Morris Avenue in the Bronx. They had no children.
His first published assignments were covers and interior pen and ink story illustrations for Fawcett magazines, Battle Stories and Triple-X Magazine, and Modern Mechanix. He was soon painting covers for College Stories, The Popular, Top-Notch, War Birds, Wild West Weekly, and Western Romances.
In 1931 he suddenly replaced by his brother Jerome as the cover artist for Street & Smith's The Shadow magazine. George Rozen became The Shadow's most renowned cover artist, while his brother branched out into the more prestigious fields of advertising and slick magazines. George was content to work for pulp magazines, such as War Aces, War Stories, Western Aces, Western Trails, Doctor Yen Sin, Phantom Detective, Popular Detective, Thrilling Adventures, Thrilling Ranch Stories, and The Shadow, which became the world's top selling pulp magazine with two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand bi-weekly sales.
By 1938 he was prosperous enough to move out of the city to East Williston, NY, on Long Island, where they happened to lived on 10 Shadow Lane. His studio was on the second floor.
On April 23, 1938 a traffic accident killed Jerome's wife and left Jerome in the hospital for ten months. During the recuperation, his two children, Helen (13) and Jerome (10), lived with George and Ellen on Long Island, until their father's recovery permitted him to resume parental responsibilities.
During the Second World War George Rozen was too old for military service, but he remained very busy producing pulp covers during and after the war, such as Argosy, Army-Navy Flying Stories, Captain Future, Giant Western, Masked Rider, Mystery Magazine, The Rio Kid, Range Rider, Six-Gun Western, Ten Detective Aces, 10-Story Detective, Thrilling Adventures,Thrilling Western, Western Aces, West, and Wings.
After the war his illustrations appeared regularly on paperbacks from Popular Library and Ace Double Books.
In 1954 at age 59 he retired from freelance illustration and moved to Willowtree, Arizona, a small town near his boyhood home in Flagstaff.
Because of his war record as an instructor and a member of the National Guard, Rozen applied at Veterans Affairs for a job teaching art. In 1958 his application was accepted, but the classes were at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, so the Rozens moved to 3015 East 5th Street in Dayton, Ohio. He taught there for ten years, until his retirement at age 73 in 1968.
George Rozen died while recovering from arterial surgery in Dayton, Ohio, at age 77 on July 14, 1973.
© David Saunders 2009