Robert Todd was born August 23, 1900 in Glasgow, Scotland. His father, Robert R. Todd, was born in 1870 in Scotland. His mother, Sarah Nicholas, was born 1875 in Scotland. His parents married in 1895 and had three children. His older sister, Elizabeth F. Todd, was born in 1897 and his younger sister, Sarah Sadie Todd, was born in 1903.
In 1914 his father died at the age of forty-four in Glasgow, Scotland.
A few months after the funeral his family left Scotland and moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where they lived at 2777 Saint Dominique Street.
In the summer of 1915 he attended McGill Commanding Officer Training Camp for three months.
On September 26, 1916, during the Great War and one month after his sixteenth birthday, he enlisted in the Army of the United Kingdom and served as a bugler with the 245th Overseas Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was recorded at the time to be five-six, medium build, fair complexion, with brown hair and blue eyes.
In 1916 his mother moved to the United States and settled in New York City, where she lived at 138 West 39th Street in Manhattan.
After the war he moved to NYC to join his mother.
In 1919 he studied art in NYC.
In 1922 he began to work from home as a free-lance commercial artist. He drew pen and ink story illustrations for the children's magazine, St. Nicholas, where the art editor was Norman Rockwell.
He also drew story illustrations for pulp magazines. His work appeared in Cupid's Diary, All-Story Love, and Red Star Love. He signed most of this work with only his initials "RT."
On June 18, 1925 he married Orilee Elizabeth Dix in Manhattan Civil Court. She was born in 1897 in Washington, D.C. Her father, William E. Dix, was born in 1866 in Virginia. Her mother, Katie Agnes Pidgeon, was born in 1876 in England. By 1925 Orilee Elizabeth Dix was twenty-eight. She had completed her sophomore year of college and worked as a registrar at the British Consulate in NYC.
His younger sister, Sarah Sadie Todd, also worked as a registrar at the same British consulate in NYC.
On October 15, 1927 he visited France on the Steam Ship Minnesota.
During the 1930s era of the Great Depression he and his wife lived with his mother at 143 Lott Street in Brooklyn.
On February 19, 1937 his daughter Orilee Todd was born.
On February 22, 1940 his mother died in Brooklyn at the age of sixty-five.
In 1940 he and his wife and child lived at 61 Poplar Street in Brooklyn. Many artists and writers lived in this neighborhood. Rafael Astarita lived next door at 51 Poplar Street.
In 1946 he and his family moved to Arena, NY, in Delaware County, near the town of Margaretville, NY. His younger sister Sarah Sadie Todd had married Frank O'Hearn and also lived in the same small town, Arena, NY.
His daughter attended Margaretville Central High School.
In the fall of 1953 his daughter was the star of the school play, "I Love Lucy." Her co-star was Gerald Kelly, a junior at the same high school.
In March of 1954 his daughter Orilee Todd received a full scholarship to College and was named Class Valedictorian.
In the early morning hours of April 26, 1954 his daughter Orilee Todd joined her friend Gerald Kelly in a tragic misadventure. They borrowed a delivery truck owned by the young man's father and visited his family's empty summer cottage, where the truck accidentally drove into a ditch in the driveway and became irreversibly stuck. In desperation the teenagers composed a solemn note, attached a hose from the exhaust pipe to their window, and committed double suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning, while they sat in the hopelessly stalled truck.
During the 1950s the artist illustrated several books for juvenile readers for Macmillan, Bobbs Merrill, Hart, Prentice-Hall, and Follett Publishing Company.
By 1968 he had retired from commercial illustration.
In 1974 his wife died at the age of seventy-six in Margaretville, NY.
Robert Todd died at the age of seventy-nine in the Margaretville Hospital on January 11, 1980.
© David Saunders 2013