Fred Page Craft was born November 8, 1883 in Hot Springs, Missouri. His father was Elja A. Craft, a farmer. His mother was Lovena Craft. He was the fourth-born of five children in the family. They lived at 611 Second Street.
In 1888 when he was four years old his mother died. His father eventually earned a law degree, sold the farm, and moved into town.
By 1902 he had finished high school and moved to Kansas City, Missouri. He lived at 1012 East Tenth Street. He worked as an artist on a Kansas City newspaper. One of his co-workers was a young lady from Kentucky, Martha "Mattie" Jane Greenwood, who was also employed as an artist at the same newspaper. They were married in 1909 and they moved to 2826 Euclid Avenue. In 1911 their son John was born and three years later in 1914 their daughter Edith was born.
On September 12, 1918 he registered for the draft, where he was recorded to be tall, slender, with blue eyes and light hair, with no disabilities. At the age of thirty-four, with a wife and two children, he was exempt from military service.
He worked as the Art Director and Chief of Layout for the Ferry-Hanly Advertising Company, located at 1120 Walnut Street in Kansas City.
In 1920 he was hired as Director of the Creative & Layout Department of the Meinzinger Studios in Detroit, Michigan.
In 1922 he moved his family to New York City to work as an artist in an advertising agency. They lived at 2 Seaman Avenue, which is near Dyckman Street in the Inwood section of Uppermost Manhattan. They rented their apartment for $85 a month. At the time, this area had begun to replace Greenwich Village as New York City's most popular "artist colony." Pulp artists who lived and worked in this area included John Coughlin, John Drew, Harry Fisk, and Paul Stahr.
His big break came in 1923 when he painted the cover of the September 23rd issue of Country Gentleman, a nationwide slick magazine from Curtis Publishing Company of Philadelphia.
From 1927 to 1936 he sold freelance cover illustrations to pulp magazines, such as Ace-High, Action Stories, Black Mask, Frontier Stories, Spicy Detective, Super Detective, Western Round-Up, Western Story, and Wild West Weekly.
During the Summer or 1932, with growing prosperity, he moved his family to a private home in Mount Vernon, NY, just North of the Bronx border in suburban Westchester County.
While creating his most famous series of pulp covers for Black Mask magazine, Fred Page Craft suddenly died from a heart attack at the age of fifty-one on March 24, 1935.
© David Saunders 2009