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1930-10 Amazing Stories
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Leopoldo Raul Morey Peña was born October 24, 1899 in Yurimaguas, Peru. His father, Adolfo Morey Arias, was born 1862 in Peru. His mother, Estefania Peña Babilonia, was born in 1865 in Peru. His father owned an Amazon River shipping business. The parents had fourteen children. The family lived in Iquitos and also had a home in Lima at 340 Paseo Colon.

One important aspect of the Amazon River shipping business was the export of rubber from plantations owned by the father's brother, Luis Felipe Morey Arias, who became a "rubber baron" during this historic boom in the industry.

The family was prosperous enough for all of the children to study abroad. Most attended schools in Europe, but Leo Morey was the only child that chose to study in America.

From an early age he wanted to be an artist, but his father disapproved, so instead of attending art school Leo studied engineering.

In August 1918 he sailed to America to begin his college education in the School of Engineering at Louisiana State University. He lived at 561 Middle Street Baton Rouge, LA.

During the World War he registered with his local draft board as a citizen of Peru. He was recorded to be five-foot nine, medium built, with brown eyes and "Negro" hair. He did not serve in the U.S. military.

He graduated college in 1922 with a degree in engineering, but he was also an illustrator of his college year book.

After graduation he worked in New Orleans as a certified engineer.

In 1925 he returned to South America and worked as a commercial illustrator for a newspaper in Buenos Aires.

In 1926 he returned to America when he was hired as a staff artist for a newspaper in New Orleans.

In the Summer of 1929 he married Josephine "Josie" Vivian Munson, who was born in Napoleonville, Louisiana on July 4, 1904. After the wedding they visited Lima, Peru, and stopped off in Havana, Cuba.

Leo Morey applied as a "permanent resident" for U. S. working papers. He did not ask to become a Naturalized Citizen, so he remained a citizen of Peru. but his marriage to a U.S. citizen improved his legal status as a Resident Alien.

On January 8, 1931 his wife gave birth to a son, who sadly died after only seven hours. After three months of recuperation from the complicated childbirth, his wife died on April 27, 1931.

After this tragedy Leo Morey left New Orleans and moved to New York City, where he lived at 3758 81st Street in Queens.

In 1932 he moved to 41-46 50th Street in Woodside, Queens, NY.

On November 9, 1934 the artist's mother, Estefania Peña Morey, died at the age of sixty-nine in Peru.

During the 1930s Leo Morey sold freelance story illustrations and cover paintings to Amazing Stories and Astounding. Although he became renowned for his science fiction art, he also painted covers for other types of pulp magazines, such as Western, mystery, horror and adventure. His work appeared on Secret Agent-X, Short Stories, Terror Tales, Thrilling Detective, Thrilling Mystery, Western Aces, Wild West Stories and Complete Novel magazine.

In January 1940 Leo Morey married his second wife, Reta Evelyn Brigham, who was born August 21, 1909 in Toronto, Canada. She was also an illustrator. She worked for Gertz, a popular chain of department stores in Queens and Long Island. They moved to 39-40 44th Street in Sunnyside, Queens, NY. He rented a separate art studio in Lower Manhattan at 66 Water Street.

On October 14, 1940 their daughter Martha Carolyn Morey was born.

In 1941 the artist's father, Adolfo Morey Arias, died at the age of seventy-nine in Peru.

On July 1, 1943 their son John Gregory Morey was born.

During WWII Leo Morey was too old for military service, so he was among the few pre-war pulp illustrators who continued to work during the wartime. He drew interior story illustrations for Amazing, Analog, Detective Novel Magazine, Dime Sports, Popular Football, Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, and Science Fiction Quarterly.

After the war he contributed drawings to Planet Comics for Fiction House, as well as Startling Comics and Thrilling Comics for Better Publications.

On May 6, 1948 his home at 119-01 179th Street in St. Albans, Queens, NY, was damaged by a fire. Afterwards the family decided to spend the entire year visiting Peru, while the home was repaired by construction workers.

In the 1950s Leo Morey worked for Trojan, Standard and Atlas comics on Forbidden Worlds, Adventures Into The Unknown and Beware!

He and his wife were active in community affairs. They helped to decorate the annual Christmas pageants and Boy Scouts activities. They attended St Anastasia Roman Catholic Church in nearby Douglaston. His wife served as President of the Great Neck Woman's Club.

On August 26, 1952 they sold their home at 251-25 Hand Road in Little neck, and moved to 60 Knightbridge Road in Great Neck, NY.

According to the artist, "I think the best cover I ever illustrated was for Amazing Stories 'Beyond the Planetoids' by Edwin K. Sloat. My favorite author is Bob Olsen. I also like the work of A. Hyatt Verrill, Dr. E. E. Smith, and Harl Vincent."

In the 1960s his last illustrations appeared in the digest magazines Amazing Stories and Analog, as well as in men's adventure magazines Man-To-Man, Peril, and Untamed.

In 1962 they sold the home on Knightbridge Road and moved to 9 Valley View Road in Manhasset, which is also near Great Neck, NY.

Leo Morey died of a heart attack at the age of sixty-five, while walking on Valley View Road one block from his home on New Year's Day, January 1, 1965.

                                 © David Saunders 2017

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