Leo Greenwald was born Edwin Leo Greenewald on November 23, 1892 in Bradford, Pennsylvania. His father, Joseph Greenewald, was born in 1848 in PA of German Jewish ancestry. His mother, Mathilde Levy, was born in 1856 in PA of French Jewish ancestry. The parents married in 1883. They had three children, Bertram (b.1884), Ruth (b.1888), and Edwin Leo (b.1892). The family lived at 9 Chautauqua Place in Bradford. The father, Joseph Greenewald, was a former Mayor of the town. He owned and operated the Alton Chemical Company, at 113 Main Street, which manufactured oil and alcohol products.
In 1909 the Bradford City Directory listed the youngest son in the family as, "E. Leo Greenewald - School Student."
Edwin Leo Greenewald attended the local high school in Bradford, from which he graduated in 1910.
In 1912 an uncle, Oscar J. Greenewald, invited both nephews to work for him. He was Vice President and General Manager of the Gimbel Brother's Department Store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which was the company's original store and main executive office. The older brother, Bertram Greenewald, became a successful buyer for Gimbel's. Edwin Leo Greenewald worked as a clerk and stock-keeper. The brothers lived together at 184 Juneau Avenue in Milwaukee.
On September 23, 1913 their father died at the age of sixty-five in Bradford, PA.
In 1918, during the Great War, Edwin Leo Greenewald was age twenty-six. He was five-ten and 145 pounds. He was not selected for military service.
While working in Wisconsin, Edwin Leo Greenwald was hired as an insurance salesman at the Milwaukee branch of the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company.
On June 6, 1919 The Insurance Field magazine reported, "The New England Mutual Life Insurance Company has appointed Edwin Leo Greenewald as special representative with offices at 810 First National Bank Building, Milwaukee, Wisconsin."
Edwin Leo Greenwald moved to his own apartment at 430 Kane Street and his unmarried older sister, Ruth Greenewald, came to Milwaukee to lived with him and keep house. One year later she married Isodore Coons (b.1885), a publicist. She and her husband left Milwaukee and moved to Wilkes-Barre, PA, where they raised two children, David (b.1922), and George (b.1925). The widowed mother, Mathilde Greenewald, lived with them.
In 1921 the older brother, Bertram Greenewald, became the Merchandise Manager at Gimbel's flagship store in New York City on Herald Square at 33rd Street and Sixth Avenue. He married his wife Louise "Lee" Greenewald and lived in a luxurious apartment building at 55 Central Park West and 66th Street.
In 1924 Edwin Leo Greenewald again followed his older brother and moved to New York City, where he worked as a salesman at Gimbel's. He lived a few blocks away from his brother at 102 West 71st Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
In 1926 Edwin Leo Greenwald left Gimbel's and became as a salesman in the magazine printing and distribution business. He worked with the Eastern Distributing Corporation, which was founded two years earlier by Warren Angel and Paul H. Sampliner. The company was located at 45 West 45th Street. A circulation Manager at the company was Irving S. Manheimer.
In 1929 Edwin Leo Greenewald was listed in a NYC Business Directory as "salesman in the magazine printing industry." He was thrity-seven and single. He lodged in a boarding house at 103 Amsterdam Avenue at 64th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, one block away from his older brother's apartment.
In October of 1929 the NYC Stock Market crashed and chaos struck the American banking system, which undermined the national economy. The ensuing hardships of the Great Depression affected workers and farmers, as well as industrialists. The established order of manufacturing collapsed, which devastated the advertising and publishing industries. One of the few businesses that enjoyed rising profits were pulp magazines, which did not rely on advertising income, but instead sold cheap thrills to the idle masses from corner newsstands for pocket change. The first to recognize this trend were the distributors, including Paul Sampliner and Warren Angel, who swiftly moved to cast a wider net.
In February 1930 Eastern Distributing moved from 45 West 45th Street to the Albano Building at 305 East 46th Street. During this expansive phase Eastern Distributing employed Edwin Leo Greenewald, Louis Silberkleit, Martin Goodman, Frank Armer, and Michael Estrow as Circulation Promoters. Irving S. Manheimer had been appointed Business Manager of Hugo Gernsback's publications, which was reorganized in partnership with Eastern Distributing. The company extended credit to publishers in exchange for partial ownership and the required use of affiliated printers, suppliers, and advertising representatives. This complete control of the business ledgers gave the distributor the most profit.
Three would-be publishers who accepted this 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."
By the summer of 1930 Warren Angel left Eastern Distributing to form Kable News Company with Samuel J. Campbell and the Kable Printing Company of Mount Morris, Illinois. Warren Angel sold his shares in Eastern Distributing to Paul Sampliner and dissolved the corporation in October 1930, after which Paul Sampliner ran Eastern Distributing as president and majority owner with other investors.
Two years later, on September 10, 1932 The New York Times reported Eastern Distributing had filed for bankruptcy.
On September 13, 1932 The New York Times reported the NYC Court had appointed the bankruptcy receivers of Eastern Distributing.
On November 24, 1932 The New York Times reported the NYC Court had accepted the filed schedule of payment to bankruptcy receivers of Eastern Distributing.
One week later Paul Sampliner went into business with Harry Donenfeld to form IND (Independent News Distribution). IND handled the stranded clients of Eastern Distributing, but was not legally responsible for the former company's unpaid debts that were owed to the clients. IND was located at 245 Park Avenue. That address was the rear entrance to 480 Lexington Avenue, where Paul Sampliner and Harry Donenfeld were co-owners of Trojan Publishing Corporation.
As President of IND, Paul Sampliner offered the same deal of extended credit to aspiring publishers to form new companies that gave IND control of production costs, sales accounts, distribution, and partial ownership. This offer appealed to Frank Armer, Merle William Hersey, Michael Estrow, Henry Marcus, Hugh Layne, John F. Edwards, George Shade, and Edwin Leo Greenewald, who changed his name to "Leo Greenwald."
On October 28, 1935 the Bronx Civil Court listed Leo Greenwald as the defendant in a civil case filed by Gussie Donenfeld, to demand payment of $6,171.35. Gussie Donenfeld was the wife of Harry Donenfeld, the co-owner with Paul Sampliner of IND as well as Trojan Publishing Corporation. It was common practice for Paul Sampliner and Harry Donenfeld to use the names of their wives and children as surrogate owners of their many incorporated businesses.
April 1936 was the cover date of the first issue of Easy Money, "How it's Made - How it's Lost," from Spartan Publishing Corporation, located at 480 Lexington Avenue, which was the same address as Trojan Publishing Corporation. The President of Spartan Publishing was listed in the indicia as "E. L. Greenwald" and the Treasurer was "A. B. Yaffe." Alfred Benson Yaffe (1893-1971) was a salesman, accountant and business manager with Paul Sampliner. The NYC Business Directory listed both Yaffe and Sampliner with the same telephone number, "PLaza3-3960," at 480 Lexington Avenue.
The artists in Easy Money included Hugh J. Ward, Harry L. Parkhurst, Joe Szokoli, Jay McArdle, and Charles McCann. These were all freelance artists who regularly sold illustrations to the art agency of Adolphe Barreaux, which was also located at 480 Lexington Avenue, and supplied all illustraions that appeared in the publications of Sampliner and Donenfeld.
After the first issue of Easy Money, dated April of 1936, Spartan Publishing released monthly issues in May, June, and July, but before the final issue of Easy Money was released in September, Spartan Publishing next released The Lone Ranger Magazine in August of 1936. This was a thirty-two page, two color, "ash can" edition, with short stories that included no mention of "The Lone Ranger." All eight subsequent issues of The Lone Ranger Magazine were released in 1937, and were produced by Trojan Publishing Corporation, instead of Spartan Publishing Corporation.
Along with the distribution business, Paul Sampliner was also a leading member of the annual fund-raising campaign for the American Jewish Committee, the oldest and largest Jewish social service agency in the nation.
On September 4, 1936 Paul Sampliner and his wife, Sophie Unger Sampliner, traveled to Europe on the Steam Ship Paris. The ship's manifest included Blanche Renard. She was Vice President of the National Conference of Jewish Social Service, and President of the St. Louis branch of the Red Cross. Blanche Renard listed her NYC address as The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. She was born March 13, 1884 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her father, Louis Renard, was born in 1846 in Lissa, Saxony, Germany of Jewish ancestry, and came to America in 1866, where he settled in St. Louis and operated a successful carpet business. He eventually became a bank president and owner of the Renard Carpet and Linoleum Company. Blanche Renard was a wealthy socialite. In 1936 she was fifty-two and single.
In 1937 Paul Sampliner's employee, Leo Greenwald, married Blanche Renard. They moved to a luxury hotel at 75 East 55th Street, in a neighborhood of posh townhouses. They had no children. Blanche Renard continued to do fund-raising for charities and continued to use her maiden name. Leo Greenwald began to list his birth year as "1884", which was the same as his wife's birth year, although he was actually eight years younger. At the time of their marriage she was fifty-four and he was forty-six.
On April 1, 1937 an appeal of the legal case of "Donenfeld versus Greenwald" was filed in the Bronx Civil Court.
On April 7, 1938 The New York Times reported in the Business Section that Bronx Civil Court Judges ordered Leo Greenwald to pay $6,171.35 to Gussie Donenfeld.
At that time Irving S. Manheimer, another longterm associate of Paul Sampliner, was the President of Manheimer Magazine Exports. He was also listed as President of PDC (Publishers Distributing Corporation) and Publishers Surplus Corporation, although both companies were first registered to Theodore Epstein twelve years earlier. Theopdore Epstein was also a longterm associate of Sampliner and Donenfeld.
In 1938 Irving S. Manheimer's PDC financially backed William Cotton to be President of Ideal Publishing and Bilbara Publishing. The company name, "Bilbara," was derived from the names of William Cotton's two daughters, "Billie" and "Barbara."
William Cotton had resigned from Fawcett Publications to start the Ideal Publishing Corporation, located on the 12th floor of the Chanin Building at 122 East 42nd Street. His first two publications were Hollywood fanzines Movie Life and Modern Movies. These pre-existing titles had been published by Ultem Publications. Ultem was owned by Isaac Wise Ullman and Frank Zelig Temerson. Their magazines were distributed by PDC. In addition to his distribution company, Irving S. Manheimer was also President of Macfadden Publications. At that time Manheimer followed the profitable business model of lending credit to new publishers in exchange for control of production, printing, personnel, advertising, distribution, accounting and most potential profit. This lop-sided arrangement only appealed to ambitious publishers, who confidently believed they would soon make enough money to repay the loan. Irving S. Manheimer provided financial start-up credit to Ned Pines, Alfred Harvey, Martin Goodman, and the artist, Worth Carnahan. In 1939 he was made President of Worth Publishing Company at 1 East 42nd Street, which is the Corn Exchange Building, where he produced Champion Comics. The artists included were Adolphe Barreaux, Worth Carnahan, Harry L. Parkhurst, Henry C. Kiefer.
On March 6, 1940 PDC leased an entire floor of 225 West 57th Street. The company employed Leo Greenwald as Business Manager and hired Samuel E. Scheff as accountant.
On April 19, 1940 the U.S. Census listed Leo Greenwald as an "Executive" at work in "Magazine Publishing." His business office was at 1 East 42nd Street, the Corn Exchange Building. His home address was 75 East 55th Street. Blanche Greenwald was listed as a Social Worker employed by the Welfare Department. She also had a telephone listed as "Blanche Renard" at 75 East 55th Street.
Champion Comics included a feature named "Meteor Man, " which was was credited to "Edwin Wald." There was no such person. That name was derived from the name, Edwin Leo Greenwald.
The artist, Joe Simon (1913-2011), recalled working with Leo Greenwald in May of 1940, "There was a guy named Leo Greenwald whose wife was alleged to be wealthy. She didn't want him hanging around the house, so it was rumored that she bought him an office in a new blue building at Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street, a short distance from the Fox offices. 'Go put out a comic book,' she told him, and he did. He called his company 'Worth Publishing' and started a series called Champion Comics with characters like The Human Meteor and The Champ. He advertised for talent, and when I called him he offered me office space in return for covers and other help. So after a day of working for Victor S. Fox, I would go up to my office at Leo's company. Alfred Harvey would come and visit me up there. After Leo had gone home, Alfred would waltz into his office. He would sit in Leo's chair and go through his desk. He'd start opening drawers and reading papers. In his own naive way, he got it into his head that he could take some of this information and become a publisher too."
The July 1940 issue of Champion Comics has the indicia listing of executive offices at 122 East 42nd Street, the Chanin Building.
The October 1940 issue had the re-named Champ Comics, listed the Associate Editor as "Adolphe Barrreaux."
The February 1941 issue of Champ Comics #12 has a Statement of Ownership that listed Leo Greenwald as the Publisher, Editor, and sole owner of Worth Publishing Company at 122 East 42nd Street. The notary public was listed as Alfred B. Yaffe, the same business partner of Paul Sampliner's who was listed a Treasurer of the 1936 issues of Easy Money.
In 1941 Leo Greenwald continued to produce issues of Champ Comics, from offices at 225 West 57th Street.
The February 1942 issue of Champ Comics #17 has a Statement of Ownership that lists Leo Greenwald as sole owner and publisher of Champ Publishing Company at 225 West 57th Street. The notary public was listed as Philip P. Tiger.
On April 26, 1942, during WWII, Leo Greenwald reported for draft registration. He was recorded at the time to be five-ten, 190 pounds, with hazel eyes, brown hair and a ruddy complexion. He listed his employer as Irving S. Manheimer, located at 225 West 57th Street.
Irving S. Manheimer was President of Publishers Distribution Corporation, whose insignia "P.D.C." appears on the covers of Champ Comics. Irving S. Manheimer was also president of Macfadden Publications, which included Liberty Magazine, True Romances, Physical Culture, and Photoplay.
In 1942 the Manhattan Telephone Directory listed Leo Greenwald's business address at 225 West 57th Street. This same listing appeared in all subsequent issues until 1944.
Advertisements appeared in Champ Comics for the Comic Scope, a novelty toy projector of Sunday Funnies, patented in 1940 by Victor S. Fox and Robert Farrell. The mail order address for the Comic Scope Company was 225 West 57th Street, which were the offices of Irving S. Manheimer and PDC.
In Janaury of 1945 Leo Greenwald and his wife left New York City and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, which was his wife's home town.
On May 4, 1945 his Aunt, Lina S. Greenewald, died and was buried in Bradford, PA.
On February 13, 1950 his older brother Bertram Greenewald died at the age of sixty-six.
On November 24, 1954 his wife, Blanche Renard Greenwald, died at the age of seventy in St. Louis, MO.
The 1958 St. Louis Business Directory listed Leo Greenwald as the Advertising Manager of Wolff's Clothiers, Inc. His home address was 7520 Oxford Drive in Crestwood, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.
Leo Greenwald died at the age of sixty-five in St. Louis, MO, on June 4, 1958.
© David Saunders 2015