Robert Carter Stanley, Jr. was born March 28, 1918 in Wichita, Kansas. His parents were Minnie B. and Robert C. Stanley. They lived at 1837 South Water Street. He was an only child. His father worked in the shipping department of the Steam Rail Road Express Company.
While still in primary school his family moved to 243 Thirty-fifth Street Road in Kechi, KS. His next door neighbor was an artist, named Claudia Moore, who gave him art lessons until his family moved to Kansas City around 1933. He attended Paseo High School, where he joined the Aviation Club and the Physiography Club. He graduated in June of 1935, after which he attended one year of college at the Kansas City Art Institute.
In 1937 he worked as a staff artist drawing illustrations for The Kansas City Journal Post. He also sold freelance line drawings to The Kansas City Star and The Kansas City Times.
In February of 1938 his parents drove him to New York to help him to establish a freelance art studio at 483 Main Street in New Rochelle, where he joined an already-established circle of friendly young illustrators from the Kansas City area, such as Emery Clarke, R.G. Harris, and Richard Lyon.
He took his work around to pulp publishers and searched for two months without selling any freelance work, so he accepted a low-paying staff job at Standard Magazines, where he did anonymous layout and graphic work in their offices at 22 West 48th Street in the Rockefeller Center complex.
Along with his day job he continued to look for freelance work but was only able to sell a few paintings. His first published pulp cover appeared on Thrilling Western in April 1939, which was produced by his own employers, Standard Magazines. In 1940 he sold a few more pulp covers to Mystery Magazine, Western Story, and Wild West Weekly, but he was not able to find any longterm relationship with a magazine publisher who offered him steady assignments.
Unfortunately those occasional sales did not pay enough to support an independent freelance career, so he continued to work as a fulltime employee. He found better paying work as a draftsman at an architectural firm in the town of Richmond, on Staten Island, where he moved in 1940.
Although war was not declared until December 1941 the U.S. military draft began in October 1940, when Stanley was twenty-two. Three months later he enlisted in the National Guard Cavalry. During his service in WWII he met Rhoda Rosenzweig. She was a classically trained ballerina. They married in 1942 and they had one child, Barbara, in 1944.
After the war he moved to a very modern home in Westport, Connecticut, at 248 Hillspoint Road, where he resumed his efforts to become a freelance illustrator, but this time there were more jobs than artists. At first he sold interior story illustrations to Argosy, and he soon sold pulp covers to Adventure, All Mystery, All Western, Big Book Western, Dime Detective, Dime Mystery, 44. Western, New Detective, New Western, Fifteen Sports Stories, 15-Mystery Stories, Fifteen Western Tales, Star Western, Western Action, and Western Story.
He also painted many covers for the digest magazines Zane Grey's Western and Spur Western Novels.
In the 1950s he worked for paperback publishers, such as Bantam, Beacon, Dell, Eagle Books, Lancer Books, Lion Books, Popular Library, and Pyramid Books.
In the 1960s he painted black and white interior story illustrations and some covers for men's adventure magazines, such as Action For Men, Adventure Life, Argosy, For Men Only, Male, Men, Man's World, Real, Real West, Saga, See, Stag.
In the 1970s he and Rhoda divorced. He then married again and moved with his new wife to Big Pine Key, Florida.
Robert Stanley died in Florida at the age of seventy-eight on August 12, 1996.
© David Saunders 2009