Hans Waldemar Wessolowski (Graudenz, Germany August 19, 1893 - New York City 1947) was an artist best known for his many cover illustrations for early pulp magazines like Amazing Stories, Astounding Stories, Strange Tales and Clues. His nickname in pulp world was "Wesso" and it is this name that is most commonly cited wherever his art is given credit.
According to Gail Thompson, the great niece of Wesso's wife, Minnie Ross Wessolowski, Hans Wesso came to America in June 1914 in New Orleans, where he jumped ship and swam to shore.
Source: Wikipedia, "Hans Waldemar Wessolowski", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
Hans Waldemar Wessolowski was born August 19, 1894 in Graudenz, Germany. His parents had three children, two sons and one daughter. He had blonde hair and blue eyes. He lost his left eye in an accident as a child and wore a glass eye, which exempted him from military service.
In 1910 he studied at the Berlin Royal Academy of Art. His tuition was partially financed by selling cartoon drawings to the German humor magazine Simplicissimus.
In 1911 he joined the merchant marines and spent two years traveling around the world on steam ships.
In June 1912 he jumped ship offshore from New Orleans and swam to America without entry papers. He became a US citizen in 1913. He made his way to New York City by manual labor, and eventually assembled a portfolio and began to make a living as a commercial illustrator.
In 1918 he married Minne Ross and moved to a Manhattan apartment at 325 West 55th Street, which they rented monthly for $135. Minnie was his same age and came from Missouri. Her parents were from Illinois and Virginia.
In 1920, after the World War and in accordance with the Treaty of Versailles, his German hometown, Graudenz on the Vistula River, became a part of the newly created Polish Republic, and was renamed, Grudziadz, on the Wisla River south of Gdansk.
In 1928 he sold interior story illustrations to Street & Smith for Clues. They paid $2 for each one-page drawing. He also sold freelance pulp covers to Air Adventures, The Danger Trail, and Wide World Adventures.
In 1928 he and Minnie Ross Wessolowski moved to 481 Bronson Road, Fairfield, Connecticut. They had no children.
His first science fiction illustrations were sold to Amazing Stories in 1929. He also sold freelance pulp covers to Clayton Publication's Astounding Stories, and he became their chief illustrator for covers and interior story illustrations.
He also worked as a freelance illustrator for Street & Smith's version of Astounding Stories, as well as Better Publication's Thrilling Wonder Stories.
According to the editor of Thrilling Wonder in 1939, Mort Weisinger, "H. W. Wesso's favorite artists are Dean Cornwell, Henry Raleigh, and McClelland Barclay. He plays excellent golf, and is a good bridge partner."
In 1940 he joined the art department of The New York Daily News as a staff artist.
Hans Wessolowski died in the Norwalk Hospital after a brief illness at the age of 53 on May 12, 1948.