PULP ARTISTS
  
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1919-08-03 Adventure
1935 Book Illustration
1923-07-05 Sea Stories
1935-06 Country Gent.
1924-07 Triple-X
1938 Book Illustration
1925-04 Triple-X
1945-08 Outdoorsman
1926 Book illustration
1951-03 Hunting Fishing
1929-08 Blue Book
1952-11-30 Chicago Trib.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PAUL STRAYER

(1886-1981)

Paul Strayer was born on January 30, 1886 in Park Ridge, Illinois. His father, Thomas Allison Strayer, was born in 1859 in Ohio. His mother, Grace Louisa Cone, was born in 1862 in Chicago. His parents married in 1883 and had two children, Bessie Strayer (b.1884) and Paul Strayer (b.1886). The father was the Business Manager of The Chicago Times newspaper. His mother was from a prominent American family.

In 1888, when the artist was age two, his father died at the age of twenty-nine. After this tragic death, the mother raised her two infant children.

In June of 1902, Paul Strayer completed the tenth grade of high school at the age of sixteen, after which he entered the work force as a staff artist at his father's newspaper, The Chicago Times. In the evening he attended the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied with John H. Vanderpoel. While a student at the school he met Harvey Dunn and Howard Pyle (1853-1911). Strayer noted in his journal that Pyle had advised him to "keep your values close, and don't break up the masses with needless details."

On September 21, 1910 Paul Strayer visited and photographed the art studio of Howard Pyle in Wilmington, Delaware, where the artist was at work on the last of three murals, painted on canvas, six feet high by sixteen feet wide, for the Hudson County Court Hose in Jersey City, New Jersey, Howard Pyle was assisted by two of his students, Stanley Arthurs (1877-1950) and Frank Schoonover.

On November 11, 1911 Paul Strayer married Dollie Bernice Murray. She was born in 1881 in Chicago of Scottish English ancestry. The bride was age thirty and the groom was age twenty-five. She was a trained pianist. The newlyweds moved to 253 Ashland Avenue in the River Forest section of Chicago.

By 1917 Paul Strayer became a staff artist at the Fort Dearborn Historical Magazine.

On September 12, 1918 Paul Strayer registered with his local draft board, at which time he was recorded to be of medium height, slender build, with blue eyes and light brown hair. As a married man at the age of thirty-two, he was not selected for military service.

By 1919 Paul Strayer began to paint covers for pulp magazines, such as Adventure and Sea Stories.

On July 9, 1921 The Green Bay Wisconsin Press-Gazette reported that Paul Strayer and his wife had visited the Kellogg Public Library to inspect the historic murals by Howard Pyle, as research for designing his own historic scenes for the Chicago Industrial Pageant, as well as for the Green Bay Homecoming Celebration and Indian Pageant of 1921.

On December 18, 1922 The Chicago Daily Tribune reported the public was invited to attend a display of "Christmas Cheer for the Fort" by Paul Strayer at the Chicago Historical Society.

During the 1920s Paul Strayer painted pulp cover art for Triple-X, West, Blue Book, Short Stories, and The Frontier.

He also worked for slick magazines, such as Woman's World, The American Boy, and Country Gentleman.

Paul Strayer also illustrated adventure novels for book publishers, such as Houghton Mifflin, Rand McNally, and A. C. McClurg.

In 1928 the artist and his wife moved to a larger home at 530 Ashland Avenue in the Oak Park section of Chicago, where the one large room became the art studio. The couple lived in this house for the rest of their lives.

In 1930 the artist's mother, Grace Louisa (Cone) Strayer, died at the age of sixty-eight.

In 1935 he illustrated "Tales Of India" by Rudyard Kipling for the Rand McNally publishing Company.

During WWII Paul Strayer was age fifty-seven, and too old for military service. According to The Chicago Tribune of October 18, 1942, Paul Strayer designed a signal card to be placed in the windows of homes that have tin cans awaiting collection by the Chicago Women's Volunteer Corps.

In the 1940s he illustrated advertising, calendars, and men's adventure magazines such as Outdoorsman and Hunting & Fishing Magazine.

In the 1950s Paul Strayer returned to his creative roots, and became a top illustrator for The Chicago Tribune Sunday Supplement Magazine.

On 1958 the artist's wife, Dollie Bernice (Murray) Strayer, died at the age of seventy-seven at home in in Oak Park, IL. They had no children.

Paul Strayer died at the age of ninety-five at home in Oak Park, IL, on February 1981.

                              © David Saunders 2018

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