Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Ink-Slinger Profiles: H. Weston Taylor

Henry Weston Taylor was born in Chester, Pennsylvania on May 11, 1881, according to his World War I and II draft cards. He was the oldest of three sons born to Barnard and Martha, as recorded in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. They lived in Upland, Pennsylvania on Upland Avenue. His father was a professor. A family tree at said Taylor married Emma Louise Pendleton in 1901. An entry in the American Art Annual, Volume 28 (1931) said he was a "pupil of [Henry] McCarter and [Thomas Pollock] Anshutz" at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Who's Who in American Art, Volume 2 (1938) said he was a "pupil of McCarter and [Hugh] Breckenridge." Who's Who in American Art (1953) said he also studied at Drexel Institute, known today as Drexel University.

In 1910 Taylor and his wife resided with her father, a widower and banker at a trust company. They lived in Upland at 2 Seminary Avenue. His occupation was an illustrator for periodicals. American Art Annual said he did "illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post, Red Book, Ladies' Home Journal, Elks Magazine, American Boy, MacLean's, etc." The Delaware County Daily Times (Chester, Pennsylvania) profiled Taylor on May 11, 1976. The article said he and Norman Rockwell "worked together at the Saturday Evening Post years ago." He signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. He was a commercial magazine illustrator at 524 Walnut in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His description was tall and slender with blue eyes and black hair. Weston illustrated a number of books by Octavus Roy Cohen, including Come Seven (1919), Polished Ebony (1919) and Highly Colored (1921).

The family, which included a daughter and son, remained at the same address in 1920. Taylor, an illustrator, drew the 1923 comic strip, Tempus Todd, which was written by Octavus Roy Cohen. The 1930 census recorded the Taylors at the same location where he continued as an illustrator. Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928-1999 has a list of some of his comic book credits from 1939 to 1942. He signed his World War II draft card on April 27, 1942. His occupation was magazine illustrator.

Excerpts from the Delaware County Daily Times profile of Taylor, on his 95th birthday.

"That's one thing about my work," he explains. "I like to have every painting tell a story." It could be in the languid nudes of his "Clair de Lune" or it could be the impending battle between a moose and wolves in a blizzard.

And there's one thing about Wes Taylor. Regardless of the increasing frailties of age, he's still full of life.

He still paints five or six hours a day. It might take him a day or a week to complete a work but whatever the time, there's one thing certain. He's already got the next painting in mind."

Taylor continued to paint until his passing on April 8, 1978, according to a family tree at


I met Weston as a friend of my former in laws. "uncle Wes" and I became friends. His home was in front of the hospital for which I worked.He told me many stories of his youth including standing on his front porch watching the wagons bring the dead from the 1918 flu to the Chester Rural cemetary. He did a self portrait of himself for me in the 1970's.He loved to paint beautiful women including Deidra Hall and Norma Zimmer. He had a special affinity for the lot of the American Indians. Also, Uncle Wes designed the Chicklet box which is still used today.
H. Weston Taylor,Sr, was my grandfather. I spent many family holidays at the 2 Seminary house, and have inherited a number of his artworks and family heirlooms. The only factual correction I can offer to the account above is the wedding date, which was in 1908. I have much of the wedding silver, given to the couple with this date inscribed on it. I am also the proud owner of his gold pocket watch, a fine piece that works perfectly today. He also illustrated the comic book series "Ace of Space". His son, my father, was a career US Air Force officer, and it appears that the Ace of Space was modeled after my father. He even looks like him! My aunt, Helena, the daughter of Weston, was an actress, working in television and film, and lived in Los Angeles.She often modeled for her dad, appearing in many of his magizine illustrations.
He was a consumate gentleman, and a soft-spoken man who loved to go canoing for weeks in the Canadian wilderness, accompanied by only one Ojibwa guide, who became a lifelong friend. Much of his personal art, in watercolours, pencil, and charcoal, is in my collection, and is from his many trips to Canada. He was a loving, funny, and very intelligent man. I miss him and wish my own kids could have met him.
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