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1914-01 Adventure
1925-09-10 Short Stories
19-09-01 The Thrill Book
1929-02-06 West
1919-03-08 Argosy
1931-09 Star Magazine
1919-05-03 Argosy
1933-06-25 Short Stories
1919-07-18 Adventure
1934-02-02 Lariat
1924-12 The Frontier
1934-05-25 Short Stories

























James Walter Reynolds (1884-1956), a pulp magazine illustrator, is not to be confused with Harold James Reynolds (1891-1957), a travel-book illustrator and set designer, or James Elliott Reynolds (1926-2010), a fine art painter of the Old West.

James Walter Reynolds was born August 18, 1884 in Chicago. His father, Frank Reynolds, was born in 1853 in New York of Irish ancestry. His mother, Fannie Moran, was born in 1853 in Illinois of Irish ancestry. His parents married in 1884 and had three children, James (b.1884), Frank (b. 1886), and Adelaide (b. 1889). The family lived at 552 North Clark Street in Chicago. The father was a finisher at a brass factory.

The children all attended public schools in Chicago, and after each child completed the eighth grade, they left schooling and entered the work force.

In June of 1897, at the age of thirteen, James Reynolds began to work as a paper puller in a Chicago book bindery. Two years later, his younger brother, Frank Reynolds, began to work at a printing shop, while their younger sister became a clerical secretary when she turned thirteen.

By 1906, at age twenty-two, James Reynolds had become interested in an art career, and began to take evening classes at one of Chicago's excellent art schools, while he continued to work at the book bindery.

By 1913, at the age of twenty-nine, he sold his first pulp cover painting to the Ridgway Company of New York City, which published his painting on the January 1914 issue of Adventure Magazine.

In 1915 the artist left Chicago and moved to New York City, where he opened an art studio in the Arcade Building at 1947 Broadway, and sixty-sixth street. His monthly rent was $22.50. He proceeded to show his portfolio to the art editors at various NYC publishing houses, and soon sold a cover to The Argosy.

In 1918 during the Great War, James Reynolds, age thirty-four, was drafted for military service. He was recorded at the time to have been five-foot-three, 114 pounds, with a ruddy complexion, brown eyes, red hair, and a "U" shaped scar on the top of his head. His brother, Frank Reynolds was also drafted and served overseas.

The war ended with the declaration of armistice on November 11, 1918, after which both brothers were discharged from the Army. Frank Reynolds returned to Chicago, where he started the Reynolds & Eby Printing Company at 508 South Dearborn Street, while James Reynolds resumed his career as a magazine illustrator in NYC.

Over the next fifteen years James Reynolds painted covers for pulp magazines, such as The Frontier, Lariat Stories, Short Stories, Star Magazine, The Thrill Book, West, Western Story, and Wild West Weekly.

He also drew pen-and-ink interior story illustrations for Physical Culture, Everybody's Magazine, and Boy's Life.

James Reynolds also illustrated several novels, such as "Apache Gold" by White Birch from H. K. Fly in 1919, "Laramie Holds The Range" by Frank Spearman from Scribner's in 1921, and "The Bar 20 Rides Again" by Clarence Mulford from the A. L. Burt Publishing Company in 1925.

Starting in 1925 James Reynolds was listed for three years as an illustrator of fiction stories in Lee & Kirby's annual nationwide directory of artists.

On April 17, 1927 the artist's sister, Adelaide Reynolds, died at the age of thirty-eight in Wheatland, Montana.

By 1930 James Reynolds was still renting his same space in the Arcade Building, a massive tenement of office studios, whose long list of tenants included George Gross, Richard Lillis, and Rafael DeSoto.

In 1933 at the depth of the Great Depression, James Reynolds left the field of magazine illustration and moved back to Chicago, where he lived with his elderly parents at 6640 North Maplewood Avenue, and worked as a staff artist at his brother's printing shop.

On September 31, 1938 the artist's father, Frank Reynolds, died at the age of eighty-five.

On September 10, 1940 the artist's mother, Fannie Moran Reynolds, died at the age of eighty-seven.

After the deaths of his parents, James Reynolds was age fifty-five, unmarried, with no children, and ready to turn over a new leaf, so he left Chicago and moved to Madison, Nebraska, where he worked as an artist for Earl John Moyer (1893-1962), a State Court Judge, the president of the Nebraska State Bar Association, director of the Madison Savings & Loan Company, prominent Republican politician, and board member of the State Racing Commission.

On April 26, 1956 the artist's brother, Frank Reynolds died at the age of sixty-nine in Chicago. He was survived by his wife, Addah May Seely Reynolds (1897-1995), three children, Mary (b.1934), Shirley (b.1938), and James (b.1932), and six grandchildren.

James Reynolds died at the age of seventy-two in Madison, Nebraska, on October 8, 1956.

                              © David Saunders 2019

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