Thursday, August 25, 2016

Harry Ferman (1906-1973)

Newspaper Artist, Art Editor, Illustrator, Cartoonist, Poet, Epistler
Born March 6, 1906, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Died April 28, 1973

So far, I have written about the following artists whose work was reprinted in the Bellerophon issues of Weird Tales in 1984-1985: Clare Angell (1874-1932?), Edd Cartier (1914-2008), Rodney M. Ruth (1912-1987), and Henry del Campo (1899-1961). The first three artists were not originally published in Weird Tales. Their drawings appearing in the Bellerophon issues are from other sources. The last, Henry del Campo, was published in Weird Tales in 1939-1954, but little was known of him before I wrote an entry on him for this blog. There is more known of Harry Ferman, although I didn't have his dates when I wrote the introduction to this series. Once I have written about Harry Ferman, I'll go on to Boris Dolgov, but don't get your hopes up: less is known of him than of the enigmatic Nictzin Dyalhis.

Harry Elvis Ferman was born on March 6, 1906, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Elvis A. Ferman and Agnes "Aggie" Hannah Ferman. Ferman's father worked on the railroad. That might explain the presence of the Ferman family in Chapell, Nebraska, in the 1910 census. In 1920, they were in Buffalo, Iowa. Throughout the 1930s, '40s, and beyond, Harry Ferman and his family lived in Wichita, Kansas.

On September 25, 1929, at age twenty-three, Harry E. Ferman married Myrtle Gertude Volz, equally twenty-three years of age, in her native Elkhart, Iowa. He was by then living in Wichita, Kansas, and working as an artist. Like her husband, Myrtle Volz Ferman was an artist and poet. She was also a photographer, a sculptress, and a maker of wedding cakes. Author, teacher, Marine veteran, and "junkyard dog" David Daniel Ferman has written fond remembrances of his parents on his self-titled blog. I urge you to read about them by clicking here.

From 1930 to 1961, Harry Ferman was an artist on the Wichita Beacon. He also contributed cartoons to sports magazines and later worked as a corporate artist for the Boeing Company. From the issues April 1939 to July 1942, Harry Ferman illustrated stories appearing in Weird Tales. His list of credits for that magazine is long, so instead of showing it here, I'll provide this link to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Ferman also had one of his illustrations reprinted in Weird Tales for Winter 1985.

According to the University Libraries at Wichita State University, "Ferman became well known for his letter writing, especially for the sketches he would add to each one written. The recipients of these letters were known as 'Fermanites' and lived throughout the nation." The university has a small collection of those letters, written to Ferman's friend Ralph Finnell.

Harry E. Ferman died on April 28, 1973, at age sixty-seven and was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Wichita, Kansas.

Harry Ferman's Illustrations in Weird Tales
See the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, here.

Further Reading
Look for links in the text above.

An illustration by Harry Ferman for "The Song of the Slaves" by Manly Wade Wellman, Weird Tales, March 1940.

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

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