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John Fleming Gould

John Gould (1906-1996) was born in Worcester, Mass., and grew up in Brooklyn, where he was childhood friends with Walter Baumhofer, future Doc Savage cover artist. In fact, when he failed to get into any engineering programs, he went to Pratt Art Institute a year behind Baumhofer. After college they rented studio space together along with seven other guys, at 161 West 23rd Street, New York. (Rent was $90 a month for the whole top floor of the building.)

John Gould started illustrating Pulp magazines in 1927. The first thing he did was add the “Fleming” (his mother’s maiden name), in an effort to sound classier. Danger Trails was his first assignment. Soon he was working for Cowboy Stories, Astounding Stories, and Blue Book, and in those days was receiving $10-15 per illustration.

Gould worked with Harry Steeger when he was an editor at Dell Publications. After Steeger struck out on his own in 1930 to form Popular Publications, he offered Gould a deal he couldn’t refuse: $8 per illustration, but all the work he wanted. At Popular, Gould did all the illustrations for every issue of The Spider, G-8 and His Battle Aces, and Operator #5, among others, until he left the Pulps behind in 1942.

With many top artists drafted for the war, Gould (now with a family) finally got his shot at the “slick” magazines. He became the top illustrator at the Saturday Evening Post for the next eight years, then moved to Redbook. He expanded into advertising art in 1946, working for General Electric and other top corporations. In later years he also did Fine Art.

Gould was also a teacher and lecturer. Starting in his Pulp days, he taught night school at Pratt for 22 years. In 1957 he opened the Bethlehem Art Gallery and Art School near Newburgh, NY.