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1935-03 The Big Magazine
1943-09 Weird Tales
1938-11 Weird Tales
1944-07 Weird Tales
1939-05-10 Short Stories
1945-03 Weird Tales
1942-06-10 Short Stories
1947-01 Weird Tales
1942-09 Weird Tales
1946-01 Weird Tales
1943-01 Weird Tales
1947 Avon Books #136
































Albert Roanoke Tilburne was born November 13, 1887 in New Albany, Indiana. His father was Edward Oliver Tilburne, born 1859 in Philadelphia, PA. His mother was Marie Tilburne, born 1857 in Germany and immigrated to the U.S. in 1865. His parents married in 1881. Their first child died. Their second child was his older sister Lillian, born 1885 in Philadelphia.

His father became an evangelist minister and moved to New Albany, Indiana in 1886, where their second and last child was born.

By 1900 the family had moved to Butte Montana, where they rented a home at 532 West Galena Street. They lived with his paternal grandparents, Edward and Eugenie Tilburne.

By 1908 he was twenty years old. He moved to New York City and lived in the bohemian district of Greenwich Village, where he socialized with the area's many radical modernists and free thinkers.

On February 9, 1911 he married Celine Rousseau, who was born December 31, 1882 in Paris, France. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1906. Their son Edward R. Tilburne was born in New York City in 1913. The son Leopold R. Tilburne was born two years later in 1915. They lived at 5 Oakland Place in Brooklyn, NY.

In 1916 he was a member of the Washington Square Players, a bohemian crowd of poets, writers, dancers, leftists, and artists. The pulp artist Henry C. Kiefer was also a member of this theatrical company.

On November 2, 1916 he performed a starring role with the Washington Square Players in three short plays by Maurice Maeterlinck, a modern symbolist playwright. He received favorable reviews in The New York Times and The Washington Post. They performed at the Belasco Theater, 111 West 44th Street, which was a new center for radical and artistic innovation, for instance, the theater was extensively decorated with murals by Everett Shinn.

Many of the avant-garde in New York City at the time were aware of the political turmoil in Europe and eager to contribute their effort to the historic conflict that would come to known as the Great War.

On April 19, 1917 he joined the U.S. Naval Reserve Forces. He was recorded at registration to be six-foot, light build, hazel eyes, Roman nose, and brown hair.

Instead of sending a thirty year old man with a wife and two children to fight in the trenches of France, he was stationed at a U. S. Naval Reserve Air Base in Cape May, New Jersey, where he was trained in the operation of dirigibles for coastal air defense.

On July 2, 1919 he survived a spectacular air disaster, while flying from his New Jersey base to Washington, DC. He was an officer on the crew of the C-8, a big Navy dirigible, which suffered rudder trouble and was forced to make an emergency landing near a Baltimore Army base, Camp Holabird. The crew shouted instructions to a detail of soldiers to grab the dangling ropes and secure an impromptu mooring. The instant their car neared the earth, the crew evacuated the dirigible's car. A great crowd of curious onlookers had raced to the area to witness the unusual site, when the C-8 exploded with terrific force and collapsed in flames, destroying several nearby homes and severely burning 80 people.

In 1920 he was stationed at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base at Coco Solo in the Panama Canal Zone. His wife and two children lived with him in base housing for the last two months of his service. On December 24, 1922 he was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant {Junior Grade).

In 1922 he traveled to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia, and Cuba as an agent for the Tobacco Products Export Corporation of NY.

Between overseas assignments his family stayed with his father in Pasadena, California, at 2000 Primrose Avenue, where he was engaged in the oil business.

In 1924 he traveled to the West Indies, Guiana, Venezuela, Colombia, and Cuba as an agent for the United Fruit Company.

On July 24, 1924 he resettled in New York City and founded Tilburne Sales Company, Inc., real estate commission merchants, with two partners, F. C. Reynolds, and R. W. Pendleton. Their offices were in Room #1206 of 220 Fifth Avenue near 26th Street in bustling the Madison Square Garden district.

In 1930 he and his family lived at 11 West 69th Street, which he rented monthly for $125. This is a nine-story building on the upper west side of Manhattan.

As the Great Depression arrived, he closed his business, but he continued to worked as a real estate broker.

In 1934 he was appointed manager of Butler Hall, a fifteen-story apartment house at 88 Morningside Drive and 119th Street, in the Columbia University area.

In 1935 he began to sell illustrations to pulp magazines published by Popular Publications, such as The Big Magazine, but these occasional sales were not frequent enough to compare to his day-job as a building manager and apartment rental agent.

On September 10, 1936 he was appointed manager of The Franconian Hotel at 20 West 72nd Street, on Manhattan's upper west side.

On May 22, 1937 he leased an art studio at 152 West 57th Street. This historic building is called Carnegie Hall Tower, because it is one door east of Carnegie Hall. His building was popular with a bohemian crowd of artists and musicians.

By 1938 he was selling illustrations to Short Stories and Weird Tales.

During the 1940s he also drew many interior story illustrations for Weird Tales.

On April 24, 1942 he reported for draft registration, as required by law during WWII. He was fifty-four years old, so he was too old for military service. He was recorded at the time to be six-foot-one and one-half inch, 156 pounds, gray hair, brown eyes, and a light complexion. He listed his official occupation for the first time as an "illustrator." He also listed his most distinguishing characteristic as a "skull fracture scar."

In 1947 he painted the cover for H. P. Lovecraft's The Lurking Fear, published by Avon paperback books.

In 1949 he was listed in the Manhattan telephone directory at 152 West 57th Street, which is his same sky lit studio in Carnegie Hall Tower.

In 1950 he retired from illustration and devoted his time to paintings of the Old West.

In 1952 he showed his western paintings in a group show along with the genre's more acclaimed masters, such as George Catlin, Frederic Remington and Charles Russell, at the Near East Foundation at 54 East 64th Street in Manhattan.

In 1956 his paintings were exhibited in Madison Square Garden during the National Antiques Show, for which a commemorative catalog was produced and rather boldly entitled, "Pioneer Western Saga by Albert Roanoke Tilburne, The Foremost Living Painter of the Old West."

At Christmas time in 1957 the same art exhibition of western paintings was reinstalled at the George Washington Elementary School in West Hempstead, Long Island, NY.

Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Albert R. Tilburne, United States Naval Reserve Forces, died at the age of seventy-seven on January 22, 1965 and was buried beside his wife in Arlington National Cemetery.

                         © David Saunders 2009

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