Henry William Kiemle, Jr. was born June 27, 1908 in New York City. His father was also named Henry William Kiemle. His father was the only son of German immigrants from Stuttgart. His mother was Elizabeth A. Sandgraff Kiemle. They lived at 2163 Clinton Avenue in the Bronx. His father was employed by the Fire Department as a fireman with Ladder Company 38. His younger brother Wallace Kiemle was born July 22, 1910.
By 1917 his father had left the Fire Department and moved the family to a farm on Adams Pass in Putnam County, NY. His grandmother, Katherine "Katie" Dreascher Kiemle, also lived with them.
In 1923 his father began to work as a machinist at a local factory. They leased the farm to renters, sold the team of work-horses, and moved to 123 Arnold Road in Poughkeepsie, in Dutchess County, NY.
In June of 1924 he graduated "with extra credit" from Poughkeepsie High School. His yearbook inscription reads, "Henry, you remind us of a cool, deep pool over which sunbeams play. You are always so quiet and pensive." In fact, he was socially out-shined in most ways by his younger brother, who was popular, outgoing, and athletic.
He was a faithful bird watcher and he painted detailed renderings of birds that were inspired by John James Audubon. In 1925 he joined The American Ornithologists Union as an associate member. That same year his grandmother died at age seventy-six.
In 1926, at the age of eighteen, he moved to Brooklyn. He lived as a lodger in a boarding house at 270 Ryerson Street, while he attended art classes at Pratt Institute, where he studied with H. Winfield Scott. While still a student he began to make his living as a freelance commercial artist. He graduated Pratt in 1928. His yearbook entry says, "Henry W. Kiemle of Salty Point N.Y. is one of the most conscientious workers in the class, and he is Salty Point's all-around animal painter, who is out after Charles Livingston Bull's honors!" His illustrations soon appeared on the covers of the pulp magazine Wild West Stories and Complete Novel Magazine.
Over the next ten years his covers and interior story illustrations regularly appeared in such pulp magazines as Ace-High Magazine, Action Stories, Clues Detective, Short Stories, Western Story, Western Trails, and Wild West Weekly.
In 1935, as the Great Depression lingered on, he found it difficult to make ends meet from his occasional low-paying assignments in the pulp magazine industry, so he returned to live with his parents and younger brother in his family home in Poughkeepsie, NY.
In 1940 he joined the Dutchess County Art Association, where he regularly showed his landscape paintings for many years in their Annual Art Week and Christmas Art Exhibitions.
His draft notice arrive on April 17, 1941 but he was classified as 4F and did not serve in the military during World War II.
After the war, instead of working as a cover artist, he primarily worked as an interior story illustrator. He created many black and white line drawings for pulp magazines, such as Double Action Western, Exciting Western, Famous Western, Fighting Western, Giant Western, G-8 & His Battle Aces, Leading Western, Masked Rider Western, Popular Western, Range Riders, Real Western Romances, Rio Kid Western, Six-Gun Western, Super Detective, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Western, Western Action, and Wings. His last published pen & ink drawing for an interior story illustration appeared in 1956.
Very few pulp artists were also credited as published authors. A few pulp artists, such as Gerard Delano, Norman Saunders, Frederick Blakeslee, and Hannes Bok, also wrote short pieces, such as articles, essays, and poetry. But H. W. Kiemle wrote a published pulp novel, entitled "No Place For Any Man," which appeared in the April 1955 issue of Western Action Magazine, and he also wrote several short stories and essays that also appeared in pulp magazines. In this respect his contribution to pulp magazine history is unique.
He never married and he had no children. He lived with his father, who died in 1952 at the age of eighty. Afterwards he lived alone and spent his retirement years painting the local landscape.
In 1965 he moved to live with his widowed younger brother, Wallace, and his nephew at their home in Locust Valley on Long Island, NY. He painted landscapes of Long Island and exhibited at the Annual Locust Valley Art Show.
H. W. Kiemle died on Long Island at the age of sixty-one on December 29, 1969.
© David Saunders 2009