William Fulton Soare was born 1896 in Hackensack, New Jersey. His father was Robert E. Soare and his mother was Mary W. Soare. They had three children, and William was the middle child. They lived at 55 State Street. The father was an insurance broker.
After finishing high school in Hackensack, he and his older brother joined the Army to serve in the Great War with the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe. He achieved the rank of Sergeant.
After the war he studied art at the Sorbonne in Paris.
He returned to New York City and studied with Harvey Dunn, and Dean Cornwell at the Grand central School of Art. In 1927 he opened an art studio at 41 Union Square.
In the summer of 1930 he took an excursion boat ride and met Valdora Joyce Seissinger, an elementary school teacher from Memphis. In 1935 he and Val married, and moved to Englewood, New Jersey, where their son Thomas was later born.
His first assignments were illustrations for advertisements and calendars.
In 1935 he received an important public commission to paint a series on the history of progress in optics at the Hayden Planetarium for Bausch & Lomb, Inc.
He soon found work painting covers for magazines such as American Boy, Boy's Life, The Saturday Evening Post, and covers for the magazine section of The Sunday New York Herald Tribune.
He painted freelance pulp covers for Ace-High, Action Stories, Adventure, Complete Novel, Danger Trail, Detective Yarns, Double Action Detective, Horror Stories, Mystery Novels, Short Stories, Spicy Mystery, Spicy Adventure Stories, Star Western, Thrilling Adventures, Top-Notch Western, West, Western Aces, Western Romances, Western Story, Western Trails, and Wild West Stories.
William Fulton Soare died of a heart attack at age 42 on March 1, 1940, while shoveling snow from his sidewalk in expectation of the scheduled arrival of a staff member of The Saturday Evening Post to discuss a cover illustration for an upcoming issue.
According to his son, Thomas F. Soare, Phd., "my dad was a rather shy and contemplative soul, deeply concerned with things of the spirit. He really didn't enjoy doing lurid pulp covers, but that was where the market was, and he happened to be very good at it. But he longed for time to do more serious work. The few such pieces he did are my most prized possessions. My dad studied under Harvey Dunn, and he became my father's best friend in the profession, and closest mentor. As my father died so young, before his career was fully established, I have felt an obligation to get his work before the public, to gain the recognition it deserves. I hope I've done all right by him."
© David Saunders 2009