Harry L. Barton, Jr. was born May 12, 1908 in Seattle, Washington. His parents were George F. Barton and Mildred M. Barton. There were six children in the family and Harry was the second born. They lived at 2512 Eighteenth Avenue South. The family may have been relatively prosperous because they owned the house, which was valued at $5,000. His father was the manager of a Poultry Packing House.
Harry Barton, Jr. graduated Seattle's Broadway High School in 1926 and began to work as a commercial artist in a sign shop.
He married his wife, Pauline, in 1938 and they moved to New York City. They lived at 4014 Utopia Parkway in Flushing Queens, which was near the historic 1939 World's Fair Grounds.
During World War II he was not eligible for the draft because his wife and two infant daughters were dependent on him. Instead he worked in a defense job.
He tried to break into freelance work for the pulp magazine industry, which was in desperate need to replace most of the pre-war talent that had been drafted.
He studied at the Art Students League in NYC, where he met Sam Cherry. Through that friendship he eventually met Ernest Chiriacka and Ralph DeSoto, all of whom provided further important art training.
In the 1950s he painted covers for Exciting Western, which was published by Thrilling Publications. He also painted covers for Argosy, which was published by Popular Publications. They had altered that magazine's conventional format in 1943 from a long-running pulp magazine to a bedsheet-sized men's adventure magazine.
Throughout the 1950s and the early 1960s he painted covers for digests and paperback books produced by Avon, Bantam, Dell, Monarch, and Pocket Books.
During the mid-1960s he illustrated a number of hardcover books produced by the Catholic Church under a company named Vision Books.
From the 1970s onward he made fine art paintings of the Old West, which he sold through Smith Gallery in New York City. His last exhibition was in 1983.
Harry Barton died at the age of ninety-three on August 12, 2001.
© David Saunders 2009