Sunday, July 31, 2016

Rodney M. Ruth (1912-1987)

Illustrator, Advertising Artist, Children's Book Artist, Syndicated Comic Strip Artist

Born September 21, 1912, Benton Harbor, Michigan
Died January 27, 1987, Park Ridge, Illinois

When I introduced this series, I didn't know who RMR was. I found out at PulpFest by looking at an issue of Amazing Stories in which Rod M. Ruth signed several illustrations with a distinct flourish to his initials. He was born Rodney McCord Ruth on September 21, 1912, in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Edd Cartier went to school in New York City and found work with Street and Smith, a publisher with headquarters in that city. Rod Ruth did much the same in his locale by studying at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, the Frederick Mizen School of Arts, and the Institute of Design, and going to work for Ziff-Davis of Chicago. His illustrations appeared in Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures from 1940 to 1951. He also drew the newspaper comic strip The Toodles from 1941 to 1958. Ruth had a more varied career than Cartier and continued working as a professional artist even after pulp magazines came to an end. He illustrated books about dinosaurs and animals and Rand McNally's series of books about monsters and aliens, for which he had a real flair. Rodney McCord Ruth--RMR--died in Park Ridge, Illinois, on January 27, 1987, at age seventy-four.

Rodney M. Ruth's Illustrations in Weird Tales
"Yellow" by Conda Douglas (Winter 1985; from an unknown source)
"The Bus People" by J.N. Williamson (Winter 1985; from an unknown source)
"Peau de Cuir" by Steve Perry (Winter 1985; from an unknown source)

Further Reading
  • "Ruth, Rod," The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (online), Jan. 14, 2013, here.
  • "Rod Ruth," Lambiek (online), no date, here.
Note: I have a new computer, but when you get a new computer, about half of your old stuff no longer works. For me, that includes some of my software, plus my scanner, plus my scanner/printer/photocopier. As soon as I solve the problem of a scanner, I will post images again.

Update (August 3, 2016): An illustration by Rod Ruth, used in Weird Tales for Winter 1985 but from an unknown original source. Note the stylized initial "R" on the far right.

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley


  1. When I was a kid in the late fifties and early sixties I had a number of books about wildlife and dinosaurs. I now wonder if any of those were illustrated by Rod Ruth. Any idea what the titles of any of his books on those topics were?

    1. Mike,

      Rod Ruth's dinosaur books may have come a little after that. Some titles: Album of Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures, My Little Book of Dinosaurs. You can find them easily using an online search for "Rod Ruth." A book list for Rod Ruth might come in handy at this point.