Harold Winfield Scott was born January 14, 1897 in Danbury, CT. He was named after his relative, General Winfield Scott of the Mexican-American War. His father was John C. Scott, a hat maker, and his mother was Anola T. Scott a hat trimmer. They met at work and married in 1891.
After the death of a child and losing their jobs, the Scotts divorced in 1908. Anola raised her two sons, Walter and Harold in rented rooms next to the railroad tracks at 10 Balmforth Avenue, Danbury, CT. Both sons contributed to the household. Walter was a clerk at a hardware store, and Harold found work as a mechanic in an auto garage.
He served in the military during WWI and was stationed in France. He claimed to have worked as a ground mechanic for the famously courageous Lafayette Escadrilles, but no documentation has been found to corroborate this account.
After the war he attended Pratt Institute from 1920 until 1922, where he studied with Dean Cornwell.
He was hired to teach "pictorial illustration" at Pratt in 1925, where he crossed paths with many future pulp artists, including Walt Baumhofer, Rudy Belarski, Fred Blakeslee, Lorence Bjorklund, and Edd Cartier, all of whom were his pupils.
In 1926 he married Elizabeth M. Scott. Three years later they bought a house with acreage on Hardscrabble Road in Croton Falls, NY, where they built an artist studio and raised their two sons, Harold and Harvey.
By 1930 he was regularly selling freelance cover paintings to pulp magazines, such as Danger Trail, Top-Notch, Complete Stories, Wild West Weekly, Star Sports, Complete Sports, Best Sports, The Avenger, Doc Savage, Two-Gun Western, Six-Gun Western, and Quick-Trigger Western.
He later sold freelance work to slick magazines, such as Liberty, Colliers and Red Book.
In the 1950s his work appeared on paperback books from Dell, and some of his work even appeared on comic book covers.
H. Winfield Scott was one of the most impressive men in the history of pulp art. He painted westerns and sports with a slap-dash manner that was wildly expressive of his flamboyant personality. He was a classic member of the hard-drinking Salmagundi Club of freelance artists.
According to Scott,"I was best known as a whirlwind painter of rootin' tootin' cowboys. Art directors liked the spirit I got into all my paintings. I have a lot of spirit myself and that's why I always worked so hard. I never knew Christmas. I'd be doing two or three of these things a week sometimes, and sometimes till late at night. At 2 a.m. I'd scratch out a face that wasn't right, go to bed, and then get up and start all over again."
Harold Winfield Scott died at the age of eighty in Croton Falls, NY, on November 15, 1977.
© David Saunders 2009