Herman Beeson Vestal was born March 27, 1916 in New York City. His father, Herman W. Vestal, was born 1879 in Pittsboro, North Carolina, of French ancestry. His mother, Jane Beeson, was born 1884 in Petersburg, Pennsylvania. His parents were married in 1915 and moved to 150 West 95th Street in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
His father was a purchasing agent for a Canadian importing company. His father worked in Montreal, Canada, where he lived at 819 Tupper Street.
During his father's absence he was raised by his mother. They moved to 150 West 49th Street in the section of Manhattan known as Hell's Kitchen.
After graduating high school in 1933 he joined the merchant marines and sailed the world for several years, visiting Calcutta, India, Kingston , Jamaica, Germany, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and the Virgin Islands.
During WWII he joined the Coast Guard and served as a Duty Officer and a Boatswain's Mate on active duty to Europe, North Africa, Guam, and the South Pacific.
Coast Guard records indicate he was five-foot-seven-inches and weighed 160 pounds.
He became interested in art during his military service. His sketches and watercolors were included in exhibitions of Coast Guard Combat Art, which received press attention.
After the war he returned to NYC and attended the Art Students League.
In 1947 his pen and ink story illustrations began to appear in pulp magazines produced by Fiction House Publications, such as Action Stories, All-America Football, Baseball Stories, Fight Stories, Frontier Stories, Jungle Stories, Lariat, Planet Stories, Two Complete Science-Fiction Adventure Books, Two Western Books, and Wings.
He also painted a few covers, such as the cover for the September 1952 issue of Planet Stories.
He joined the Salmagundi Club, where his work was included in the 1954 annual art exhibition. His watercolors were singled out for exceptional praise by the editors of American Artist Magazine, which reproduced one of his paintings on their May 1954 cover.
During the 1960s he illustrated several young adult books published by Grosset & Dunlap and Companion Library.
He moved to 66 Fearrington Post, Pittsboro, North Caroline.
Herman Vestal died in Pittsboro, NC, at the age of ninety-one on September 16, 2007.
© David Saunders 2011