Harold "Hank" Sanford Goldsmith was born Harold Stern Goldsmith on October 6, 1903 in Manhattan, New York City. His father, Isaiah Goldsmith, was born in 1874 in NYC of Austrian Jewish ancestry. His mother, Minnie Stern, was born in 1877 in NYC of Russian Jewish ancestry. His parents married on January 23, 1898 in Manhattan. They had two children, Pauline (b.1901) and Harold (b.1903). The family lived at 6 West 103rd Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The father was a clerk at a wholesale clothing company.
By 1917 the father had become a partner in the David Weill Skirt Manufacturing Company at 7 West 30th Street.
In 1918 during the Great War Harold Goldsmith was too young for military service. He was a fifteen-year-old student at Horace Mann, an elite NYC college preparatory school affiliated with Columbia University. Two of his classmates were Henry Steeger (1903-1990) and Ernest Victor Heyn (1904-1995), both of whom also went on to become magazine publishers.
In June of 1919 Harold Goldsmith was sixteen-years-old when he graduated from Horace Mann. That September he began to attend Columbia University at Broadway and 116th Street. The family lived at 229 West 105th Street.
By June of 1921 Harold Goldsmith had completed his college Sophomore year. According to school records, he was just over six foot tall, athletic, 165 pounds, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and was conversant in French.
In 1922 Harold Goldsmith enrolled in the School of Engineering at Columbia. After he completed his Junior year he did not return to attend his Senior year. He left Columbia University and entered the work force. He never graduated or received a college degree.
In 1924 the NYC Business Directory listed him as President of the H. Sanford Goldsmith Advertising Company at 145 West 41st Street, room #314. Although his name at birth was Harold Stern Goldsmith, by the time he entered buisness in 1924 he preferred to use the middle name "Sanford" instead of his mother's maiden name "Stern."
By 1928 Harry Goldsmith was Advertising Director at Magazine Publishers Group, which was headed by Harold Hersey (1893-1956). Magazine Publishers Group was financially backed by Warren Angel and Paul Sampliner, who co-owned Eastern Distributing Company at 45 West 45th Street.
At that time the company was growing rapidly and employed Louis Silberkleit, Martin Goodman, Frank Armer, and Michael Estrow as Circulation Promoters. The company extended credit to ambitious entry-level publishers in exchange for partial ownership and the required use of affiliated printers, suppliers, and advertising representatives. This deal gave control to Eastern Distributing, as well as the best likelihood of profit, because they were responsible for the overhead costs as well as the final accounting, from which a negotiated percentage was paid to the credited publisher. Such an arrangement would only be in the best interest of a publisher if it resulted in a sales increase that offset the loss of control over costs.
Three young associates who accepted such a deal were Aaron A. Wyn, Ned L. Pines, and Harold Hersey, who later recalled, "Wow! Them was the days! Warren A. Angel was Business Manager and co-owner of my company, Magazine Publishers. We produced Flying Aces, Underworld Magazine and twelve other titles, which were sold by the hundreds of thousands of copies every month. After Bernarr Macfadden and William M. Clayton, Warren A. Angel was the third and most brilliant of all my teachers."
In 1929 according to The New York Times, Harold Goldsmith was Managing Editor at Magazine Publishers, which was headed by Harold Hersey.
On July 14, 1929 Harold Goldsmith's mother, Minnie Stern Goldsmith, died at the age of fifty-two in NYC. After this tragic death the widowed father and his son and daughter continued to live together at 898 West End Avenue and 104th Street.
In the fall of 1929 Harold Goldsmith's former classmates from high school, Henry Steeger and Ernest Heyn, discussed the prospects of starting a publishing company in partnership. At that time Ernest Heyn was an editor at Macfadden Publications, while Henry Steeger was an editor at Dell Publications. Ernest Heyn was content to remain with Bernarr Macfadden, where he went on to become Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Macfadden Publications, but Harold Goldsmith decided to join Henry Steeger to form a new publishing company.
On January 16, 1930 The New York Times reported that attorney Solomon A. Herzog had registered a newly incorporated business, Fiction Publications.
A few months later on April 20, 1930 The New York Times reported that Fiction Publications had legally changed its corporate name to Popular Publications.
On April 26, 1930 the U.S. Census listed Harold Goldsmith, age twenty-seven, as a Publisher. He lived at home with his older sister, Pauline Goldsmith, whose occupation was Interior Decorator, and their widowed father, Isaiah Goldsmith, who was listed as an Advertising Solicitor. At that same time, Henry Steeger was listed in the Census as an Editor employed in the "Publishing Industry." This is confirmed in 1930 issues of War Stories and Sky Riders from Dell Publications, where Henry Steeger received printed credit on contents pages as Editor.
In May of 1930 Henry Steeger and Harold Goldsmith rented a one-room office for Popular Publications at 220 East 42nd Street, which was the newly-opened Daily News Building, a massive skyscraper, of which the first ten floors were the headquarters of The Daily News.
This sequence of events from November 1929 to May 1930 indicate Harold Goldsmith had accepted an extension of credit from his employer, Warren Angel of Magazine Publishers, as well as Eastern Distributing, to become co-publisher of the new company, while Henry Steeger remained at his job as Editor at Dell Publications until they were ready to begin production.
The first pulp magazines produced by Popular Publications were Battle Aces, Detective Action Stories, Gang World, and Western Rangers. They were all dated October 1930.
On February 14, 1931 Harold Goldsmith and Henry Steeger rented a larger office space for Popular Publications across the street in the Bartholomew Building at 205 East 42nd Street.
On June 6, 1931 Isaiah Goldsmith, the father of Harry Goldsmith, died at the age of fifty-seven in Manhattan. After this tragic death the family estate was divided by the son and daughter. A few months after the settlement, Pauline Goldsmith, the thirty-year-old unwed sister of Harry Goldsmith, moved to The Alden Apartments at 225 Central Park West, where her occupation was listed as Interior Decorator.
On November 11, 1933 Harold Goldsmith married Martha C. Lowe in NYC. She was born in 1903 in Hoboken, New Jersey. The married couple lived at 130 East 40th Street in Manhattan. After one year the marriage ended unhappily in divorce. They had no children.
On February 10, 1935 The New York Times reported Henry Steeger and Harold Goldsmith of Popular Publications had formed The Hartley Press to specialize in publishing novels of Romance, Mystery, and Westerns.
On August 8, 1935 Harold Goldsmith traveled to Italy on the Steam Ship Conte Di Savoia. The passenger manifest listed him as divorced. He lived at 43 East 78th Street on the posh Upper East Side.
On June 25, 1936 Harold Goldsmith married his second wife, Lillian Adler. She was born July 27, 1905 in Oxford, CT. The married couple rented an apartment at 730 Park Avenue, which is on Upper East Side.
On February 17, 1937 the married couple traveled to the Caribbean on the Steam Ship Colombia. After one year the marriage ended unhappily in divorce. They had no children.
On November 25, 1938 Harold Goldsmith traveled to France on the Steam Ship Manhattan. He was listed as "single."
At the peak of their success Popular Publications produced over forty periodicals, including Ace-High Magazine, Adventure, All-Story Love, Argosy, Battle Birds, Big-Book Detective, Big-Book Western, Black Mask, Dare-Devil Aces, Detective Tales, Dime Adventure, Dime Detective, Dime Mystery, Dime Sports, Dime Western, Doctor Yen Sin, Dusty Ayres and His Battle Birds, .44 Western, G-8 And His Battle Aces, Horror Stories, Knockout Magazine, Love Short Stories, New Detective, New Sports, New Western, The Octopus, The Pecos Kid, Rangeland Love Stories, The Scorpion, The Spider, Sports Novels, Terror Tales, and Western Rangers. Their top cover artists were Walter Baumhofer, Frederick Blakeslee, William Reusswig, John Newton Howitt, Raphael DeSoto, Gloria Stoll, and Norman Saunders. Their interior pen-and-ink artists were John Fleming Gould, Don Hewitt, and Frederick Blakeslee.
In 1940 Harry Goldsmith bought an estate in Wilton, Connecticut, which became his primary residence.
On January 24, 1941 NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia ordered the removal of all offensive pulp magazines from NYC newsstands. Along with the usual sexy magazines produced by Harry Donenfeld, Paul Sampliner, Frank Armer, and George Shade, the blacklist also included Horror Stories and Terror Tales from Popular Publications. Harold Goldsmith and Henry Steeger expressed the belief it would cost too much in time and money to fight in court, so they ceased production of those two titles.
On August 1, 1941 Harold Goldsmith married Yvonne Clementine Boisseau. She was born February 4, 1910 in Illinois and lived in Wilton, CT. She was an Advertising Publicist. The married couple moved to Ridgefield, CT, where they had two children, Peter (b.1943) and Christine (b.1945).
On September 28, 1942 The New York Times reported Harry Steeger and Harold Goldsmith of Popular Publications had purchased all rights to over thirty magazines owned by the Frank A. Munsey Company, including the venerable Argosy Magazine.
In 1943 during WWII Harry Goldsmith was forty-years-old and married and the father of an infant, so he did not serve in the military.
On March 21, 1943 the U.S. Post Office denied second-class mailing privileges to five magazines deemed to contain obscene material. One of the titles was All-Story Love from Popular Publications. Harold Goldsmith defended the integrity of his publications and sued to have the order overturned.
On August 25, 1946 The New York Times reported Harold Goldsmith had sold an eighty acre estate in Ridgefield, CT, to Henry R. Luce (8198-1967), the publisher of Time Magazine, Fortune Magazine, and Life Magazine. He was also the husband of celebrated author and Connecticut Senate Representative, Clare Boothe Luce(1903-1987).
In August of 1949 Harry Goldsmith traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, to buy a rare breed of sixteen Holstein dairy cattle, which he pastured and raised on his estate in Ridgefield, CT. According to the publisher's wife, "The grand old ladies are coming to Connecticut." Mrs. Goldsmith was an ardent supporter of her husband's interests in raising a blooded stock. The herd soon won several prestigious prizes. Three years later they were sold for the highest price ever recorded by the Holstein Breeders Association. Mrs. Goldsmith was also prominent in the exclusive world of Pure Breed Dog Shows. She successfully popularized the Weimaraner dog breed and was a crusader against cruelty to dogs.
On June 12, 1950 Life Magazine published an article about the popularity of the Goldsmith Weimaraner Breeding Farm in CT. The article featured photos of the publisher's wife and daughter.
Public tastes had changed after WWII and sales of pulp magazines decreased. On December 10, 1950 newspapers reported Harold Goldsmith sold his interest in Popular Publications to his co-founder, Harry Steeger, who attributed the decline to television "and the fact that fifteen million men put on uniforms and went overseas, and I think they came back and demanded something that was more sophisticated in appearance than pulp magazines."
In January of 1953 Eisenhower was sworn in as the new President, and Harry S. Truman left the White House. The ex-president's real estate agent offered to buy a portion of the Connecticut property owned by Harold Goldsmith, which was widely reported to be worth $500,000. "The Goldsmith estate is near the home of Henry R. Luce, editor-in-chief of the Time-Life-Fortune magazines, who has contracted to buy Mr. Truman's memoirs for a reported $600,000. By living there, Mr. Truman would find it convenient to consult with his editors."
In 1956 Harry Goldsmith formed Delta Publishing Company at 45 West 45th Street to produce a sophisticated men's magazine, Rex, which featured tasteful pin-ups and fiction. After releasing three issues the magazine was forced to cease publication when Harold Goldsmith was subjected to an involuntary bankruptcy lawsuit by the "45 West 45th Street Corporation," who claimed unpaid debts of $60,000 to distributors, printers and photo engravers. After two years the case was finally settled out of court.
On September 19, 1957 The Bridgeport Post reported, "Mrs. Harold Goldsmith, Eastern Regional Chairman of the National Dog Welfare Guild appeared on the Steve Allen TV Show with Basil Rathbone to crown the 1957 Dog Show Queen.
On September 22, 1957 the Bridgeport Sunday Post reported Mrs. Harold Goldsmith had attended the 13th Annual Canine Cavalcade at Rockefeller Center with her two children and the family Weimaraner to honor National Dog Week.
In 1960 Mr. & Mrs. Goldsmith sold their property in Ridgefield and moved to Westport, CT, where they lived at 131 West Compo Road.
In 1964 his wife, Yvonne Boisseau Goldsmith, wrote the newspaper column, Pets and People, for The Bridgeport Post.
Harold Goldsmith died in a hospital in NYC at the age of sixty-five on July 12, 1969.
© David Saunders 2015