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Henry Richard Van Dongen was born August 20, 1920 in Brighton, New York. His father, also named Henry Van Dongen, was born in 1892 in Michigan of Dutch ancestry. His mother, Eunice Elizabeth Armbruster, was born in 1894 in NY. His parents married on April 27, 1919. They had two children, Henry (b.1920), and Charles (b.1922). The family lived on Klink Road in Brighton, NY. The father was a photographer. He had served in the Great War as an aviation photographer, when he was stationed at an Army Air Base in Alabama. The widowed mother-in-law, Elizabeth Armbruster (b.1858) also lived with the family.

In 1928 the family moved to a new home at 89 Le Gran Road in Irondequoit, NY, where the father became a manager at a machine shop.

In June of 1939 Henry Van Dongen graduated Irondequoit High School, after which he began to commute to New York City to study college-level art training at the Mechanics Institute at 18 West 44th Street. Another artist who also studied at this school at this time was Ernest Chiriacka.

In 1941 Henry Van Dongen completed his two-year course in applied art at the Mechanics Institute, after which he began to work as a commercial artist at the Hart-Conway Company, a graphic art studio at 605 Madison Avenue in NYC.

On August 18, 1942 Henry Van Dongen enlisted in the Army, and served with the Army Air Force. He graduated from the six-week course at the technical training command school at Lowery Air Field in Colorado, and then became a top-turret gunner on a B-24 with the 8th Army Air Force.

On June 22, 1944 the War Department sent a congratulatory letter to the airman's family that he had accomplished thirteen of his twenty-five required missions. Three days later Sergeant Henry Van Dongen's B-24 Liberator bomber was shot down during a mission. He served eleven months in a German Prisoner of War Camp.

In May of 1945, he was liberated from imprisonment and honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant with a purple heart, Air Medal and Oak Leaf Cluster.

On November 22, 1945 he married Eleanor Bertha Leister. She was born in 1923. The newly weds moved to East Rochester, where they raised five children, Mary Jeanne Van Dongen, Richard Allen Van Dongen, David Brett Van Dongen, Randall Paul Van Dongen, and Roger Bruce Van Dongen.

After WWII Henry Van Dongen resumed his career as a commercial artist in NYC. By 1949 he was drawing interior story illustrations for Super Science Stories produced by Popular Publications. In 1950 Henry Van Dongen offered his very first pulp magazine cover painting to Popular Publications. The Art Director, Alexander Portegal, bought the cover, but then quietly handed it over to veteran pulp artist, Norman Saunders, with the assignment to increase its visual impact. Saunders added a giant exploding planet and a horrified woman. After this unusual beginning Henry Van Dongen went on to create memorable pulp covers for Popular Publications, and became a top cover artist for Astounding Science Fiction and Analog Science Fiction Science Fact.

In 1993 the artist lived at 3680 Saddleback Road in Canandaiqua, NY.

Henry Richard Van Dongen died at the age of eighty-nine in NY on February 27, 2010.

                      © David Saunders 2018

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