Reginald Hubert Rogers was born December 21, 1898 in Alberton, Prince Edward Island, Canada. His parents were Florence and Frederick L. Rogers. His father ran a locally prominent tradegoods store, and was the son of a prosperous shipbuilder that had become Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island.
He began art training at the Acadia Academy in Nova Scotia and then in 1914 he attended high school at the Toronto Central Technical School, where his art teacher, an English sculptor, encouraged him to become an artist. His teacher introduced him to the historic Canadian artists in "The Group of Seven," including A. Y. Jackson, who became his lifelong friend and mentor.
During the World War he enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1916 at age 17 and was assigned to a Gunnery Regiment in France. When it was dicovered that he was underage he was made an officer's aide until his eighteenth birthday, at which time he became a map draftsman and a dispatch motorcycle messenger within the artillery communications system.
In 1920 he returned to Prince Edward Island to work as a commercial designer, but soon left for Boston to study at the Massachusetts Normal Art School. He also took classes at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. While in Boston in 1924 he met and married Evelyn Foster. They had one daughter, Jean, and then divorced.
In 1925 he moved to New York City to study with Dean Cornwell at the Art Students League. He had a studio in Brooklyn Heights. He supported his studies by working for the art editor at The New York Herald Tribune and later as the night art editor at The New York Times.
His first freelance pulp magazine assignments were for Ace-High, Adventure, Romance, and West.
In 1931 the financial hardship of the Great Depression lead him to abandon city life. He drove an Indian motorcyle to Taos, New Mexico, where he worked within a community of artists that were as passionate about modern landscape painting as the Canadian "Group of Seven."
While living in the Sothwest he continued to sell pulp illustrations by mail to New York publishers for Adventure, Short Stories, and West. By 1936 his volume of assignments required his return to New York City, where he moved into a studio in a brownstone on West 13th Street in Greenwich Village. His downstairs neighbor was Helen Priest, of Canton, NY. They were married in 1941.
He sold freelance pulp covers to Street & Smith magazines, such as Detective Story, Love Story, Sport Story, The Whisperer, The Wizard, and Astounding Science Fiction.
In the Summer of 1942 Hubert Rogers returned to Ottawa and served as an artist for the Wartime Information Board to produce an historic series of posters. Throughout the war years he also continued to regularly contribute interior story illustrations by International mail service to Astounding Science Fiction.
In 1943 his son, Norman, was born. After the war the family moved to Brattleboro. Vermont, where his daughter Elizabeth was born in 1947.
He continued to produce science fiction story illustrations and cover paintings for Astounding Science Fiction up until 1953.
According to Robert A. Heinlein, "A Scribner's editor asked me to suggest an artist for Rocket Ship Galileo. I suggested Hubert Rogers, She looked into the matter, then wrote me that Mr. Rogers' name was 'too closely associated with a rather cheap magazine,' meaning Astounding Science Fiction. To prove her point she sent me tear sheets from the magazine. It so happened that the story she picked to send me was one of my own! I chuckled and said nothing. If she was only impressed by the fact that the stuff was printed on pulpwood paper, it was not my place to educate her. I wondered if she knew that my reputation had been gained in that same 'cheap' magazine. I concluded that she probably did not know and might not be willing to publish my stuff in Scribner's had she known."
In the last decades of his life he painted landscapes and commissioned portraits of historic Canadian and American politicians, justices, celebrities, businessmen, and Commissioners of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Hubert Rogers died at age 83 in Ottawa, Canada, on May 12, 1982.
© David Saunders 2009