John Benson was born in Salem, Massachusetts. Both John and his brother Frank had artistic promise, but it was only Frank who initially pursued a career in art. He studied went to study in Paris, and became an architect. He continued to draw on the side however, and in 1904, his strip 'The Woozlebeasts' appeared in the Sunday pages. It wasn't until 1921, that Benson gave up his practice as an architect and began to focus fulltime on painting. John Benson painted right up to the time of his death in November 1947, at the age of 82.