Walter Scott Darr was born March 14, 1881 in Parkville, Illinois. His father was Isaac N. Darr, a harness maker, born 1853 in Illinois. His mother was Jessie Keller, born 1859 in Ohio. They were married in 1877. They had five children, but one died in infancy. Walter was their second born.
In 1893 his father registered an innovative harness design with the U. S. Patent Office. The design had improved lightness and maneuverability for horses under speeded conditions. The success of this new harness allowed his father to open the Darr Turf Goods Company in Detroit at 207 Jefferson Avenue in Detroit, MI.
In June 1899 he graduated high school, after which the family moved to 138 Antietam Street in Detroit, Michigan, where he worked as a stenographer and attended night school art classes at the Detroit Museum of Art.
His first published illustrations appeared in 1906 issues of The Business Man's Magazine, which was a stenographer's trade journal published by The Book-Keeper Publishing Company of Detroit.
In 1907 he illustrated Tad: The Story of a Boy Who Had No Chance, a novel by W. C. Sprague, a Detroit author who self-published his own novels.
In 1908 he moved to 137 East 26th Street in New York City. That September his illustrations first appeared in a nationwide periodical, Pearson's Magazine, the offices of which were two blocks south on East 24th Street.
From 1910 to 1917 he designed novelty postcards for the Ullman Manufacturing Company at 338 East 59th Street in NYC.
He was thirty-seven years old when the U.S. entered the Great War, so he was too old for military service in WWI.
By 1920 he lived at 119 East 34th Street between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue. He identified himself as a business partner with the artist William Harrison. They worked and lived together in the same apartment, along with Harrison's brother, Frederick, who was also an artist, and his wife Alice Harrison.
On March 29, 1923 he sailed on vacation to Bermuda on the S.S. Araguaya.
He and William Harrison produced advertising art for newspapers and magazines. They were listed in 1924 and 1926 editions of the Index of Advertising Arts & Crafts. The business partnership ended when William Harrison moved out in 1930, at which time Walter Darr moved a few doors east to 123 East 34th Street, where he worked and lived with his ex-partner's brother, Frederick Harrison and his wife.
During the 1930s he worked as a pen and ink artist illustrating stories for Harry Donenfeld's line of spicy pulp magazines.
In 1937 he painted covers for Scarlet Adventuress, Scarlet Confessions, Real Life Confessions and Modern Adventuress. These were ostensibly produced by the Shade Company of 1008 West York Street in Philadelphia, but the Shade print shop was only a front company, whose out-of-state address was convenient for Harry Donenfeld's illicit risque magazine business.
On April 27, 1942 he registered with the selective service, although he was much too old to serve. He was recorded to be 5'-11", 160 pounds, brown eyes, gray hair, and a sallow complexion. He identified his nearest associate as "Mrs. Freeman" of his same address, 123 East 34th Street. He never married and he had no children.
In 1942 he presented a portrait painting of Dr. W. H. Valentine, the benefactor of the hospital in Tracy, Minnesota.
In 1943 he is listed as an artist in the Jack Binder Comic Shop, along with Chris Schaare and Harry T. Fisk, which produced several Fawcett comics.
The seasonal telephone directories for New York City continually listed his place of business as 123 East 34th Street for sixteen years, but the last such listing appeared in the Summer of 1946, at which time he was sixty-five years-old.
There is no subsequent listing of Walter Scott Darr as having lived or died in New York City.
© David Saunders 2009