Howard V. Brown, Artist of Technical Subjects

Anyone looking at the covers of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, RADIO NEWS, SCIENCE AND INVENTION, EVERYDAY ENGINEERING, or ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION in the early years of the twentieth century would find a familiar style and an unmistakeable signature. Howard V. Brown probably had as much to do with shaping our concept of the future as any three science or science-fiction writers you could name. What the futurists thought, Howard put into pictures so we could immediately see what it would be like.

There's a partial listing of his cover art for the SF magazines at the ISFDB site, which gives his birth and death dates as: Birthdate: 5 July 1878 / Deathdate: 1945. Details on Brown seem to be in short supply.

There is a short, incomplete bio of Brown floating around with internet, with some obvious errors and without attribution:

Howard Vachel Brown was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and received his art education at the Chicago Art Institute. His work was exhibited at the National Academy and featured by the the International Exhibition of American Illustrators. From 1913-1931 Brown was the cover illustrator for "Scientific American." He also illustrated for "Gernsback's Electrical Experimenter," 1916-1917, and "Argosy and Science and Invention" in 1919.

Brown created every cover from January 1934 through May 1937 of Tremain's "Astounding Stories" and did about half of the covers through November 1938. After Gernsback lost Wonder Stories and his main artist Frank R. Paul stopped doing covers for that magazine, Brown did every cover from August 1936 through August 1940, with the exception of the August 1937 issue, which was done by H. W. Wesso.

Some of his work for EVERYDAY ENGINEERING is listed on the profile page for that magazine.


Special thanks to Steve Kirch for help in researching this artist's note.

Update history:

  • 1 September 2020: Updated links and made compatible with new display system software.
  • 12 December 2006: Updated with more information.
  • 4 June 2008: This page created.