Sunday, May 3, 2020

The Mysterious Dolgov-Part Four

Here is what we know about Boris Dolgov:

First, he was an artist who drew pictures for fantasy and science fiction magazines from 1941 to 1954. Most of these were for Weird Tales.

Second, he collaborated with another artist, Hannes Bok (1914-1964), on drawings published in 1941 under the pseudonym "Dolbokov."

Third, he and Bok visited with artist Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966), probably at Parrish's home in New Hampshire. The date is unknown, but I presume it to be in about 1939-1940 or 1939-1941.

Fourth, while with Parrish, Dolgov had his picture taken by Bok, and so we know what Dolgov looked like.

Fifth, according to "old timers" referred to by the anonymous author of the website Notasdecine, Dolgov "fell to his death by falling from the fire escape to his own apartment." By "old timers," I think the author means people who remember events in science fiction of the 1940s-1950s.

I have found a Boris Dolgoff in a grand total of two public records:

1. From the Manhattan City Directory, 1957 (p. 435): Boris Dolgoff at 630 East 14th Street, telephone number ORegn 3-8552.

2. From the New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965: Boris Dolgoff, age 48, died on November 4, 1958, death certificate number 23513.

From all of this we might infer:

One, that Boris Dolgov was from New York City or that he lived in New York City from about 1940 onward.

Two, that he was about the same age as Hannes Bok.

Three, that he got into prozines by way of science fiction fandom, either by being an active fan himself or by being recruited by a fan, such as Hannes Bok.

Four, that he may have been an only son or unfit for service during World War II, or that something else may have kept him out of the military, as he continued to draw pictures for Weird Tales throughout 1942-1945. In fact, he seems to have been something of a workhorse during those years.

Five, that in the 1950s, something happened in his life that made him drop (no pun intended) out of science fiction and fantasy, suddenly and with no further credits in those genres.

Six, if Dolgov was not an assumed name, that he was probably of Russian-Jewish extraction and that his family came to the United States in the late 1800s or early 1900s.

The address 630 East 14th Street is in the East Village in New York City. Cooper Union, where many well-known artists have gone to school, is a few blocks to the west. In 1939-1940, on behalf of her boyfriend Frederik Pohl (and perhaps, too, of his friends in fandom), DoĆ« Baumgardt, aka Leslie Perri, recruited a number of art students from Cooper Union to draw pictures for the new science fiction magazines Pohl was editing. The titles were Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories. Dolgov did not have any credited work in these two magazines, but he did contribute illustrations to Science Fiction Quarterly, edited by Robert W. Lowndes, and Cosmic Stories, edited by Donald A. Wollheim. Dolgov's drawings were published in 1941. Both of these new editors had come out of fandom, and both were friends of Frederik Pohl.

To be concluded . . .

Text copyright 2020 Terence E. Hanley

No comments:

Post a Comment