Irving Samuel Manheimer was born March 15, 1893 in Brooklyn of Austrian Jewish ancestry. His father, Mendel Manheimer, was born in 1856 in Austria of Jewish ancestry and came to America in 1879. His mother, Bessie Schwartzbaum, was born in 1858 in Austria of Jewish ancestry and came to America in 1884. His parents settled in New York City where they met and married in 1884 in New York City. They had ten children, Yetta (b.1885), Abraham (b.1886), Lena (b.1887), Samuel (b.1889), Sarah (b.1891), Irving (b.1893), David (b.1896), Max (b.18989), Gussie (b.1901), and Morris (b.1904).
In 1905 the family lived at 442 East Houston Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
By 1909 the family had moved to Brooklyn, where they lived at 382 South Fourth Street.
In June of 1911 he graduated high school in Brooklyn, and in September attended Syracuse University in Upstate NY, where he became interested in a career as a newspaper reporter.
In 1912 his father, Mendel Manheimer, died at the age of fifty-six in NYC. At the time of this tragic death Irving S. Manheimer was nineteen.
In May of 1913 he completed Sophomore Year at college and then took a summer job at The Syracuse Post-Dispatch. At the end of summer he was offered a steady job at the newspaper, so he left school and entered the work force. Within a few months he was promoted to Superintendent of Circulation at the Ithaca and Watertown branches of The Post-Standard.
On February 8, 1914 Irving S. Manheimer married Ethel Beatrice Rosenberg in Brooklyn, where she was born in 1894.
The married couple lived in Seneca Falls, NY, at 142 East State Street, while he continued to work for The Post-Dispatch.
On February 6, 1915 his wife Ethel R. Manheimer died at the age of twenty-one in Brooklyn.
After this tragic death he returned to NYC, where he worked as a Mail Circulation Supervisor for McClure Publications.
On October 3, 1915 Irving S. Manheimer married his second wife, Rose Lesser. At that time he was twenty-two and she was twenty-five. She was a widow with a nine-year-old son, Milton Epstein. They moved to 793 East 166th Street in the Bronx.
On June 5, 1917 Irving S. Manheimer registered for the draft during the Great War. He was recorded at the time to be twenty-four, short, medium build, with gray eyes and brown hair. He requested exemption as the sole supporter of wife and child. He was not selected for military service.
In 1918 he began to work in the Mail Circulation Department at Collier's Weekly Magazine.
In 1919 they moved to Manhattan and lived at 154 West 64th Street in an apartment they shared with another employee from the Mail Circulation Department of Collier's Weekly Magazine, Max Siegel and his wife Lillian and their infant son Arthur.
In 1920 Irving S. Manheimer became the Foreman of the Mailing Department at Collier's Weekly Magazine.
In 1921 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported unusual circumstances in the divorce trial of Mr. & Mrs. Irving S. Manheimer. According to the wife's testimony, the marriage went well until the previous January, when the husband bought an automobile and began to lose interest in home life. He stayed away nights and spent money on young women whose acquaintance he made on trips to the Jewish resorts in the Catskills, where he cultivated the acquaintance of many young women by posing as a single man under the name of Guggenheimer and representing himself as a member of that wealthy family. During one of these escapades he became acquainted with Ruth Braunstein of 1804 Eighty-sixth Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. This courtship continued until he proposed marriage, when her parents hired investigators to verify his claims. When they discovered he was already married the parents swore they would prosecute and send him to jail. He returned to his wife in desperation to confess everything and begged her to convince the Braunsteins he was not her husband, but merely a Platonic roommate. This ruse so angered his wife that she visited the Braunstein home to brazenly inform them that she was his married wife, but would file suit for divorce. After hearing all sides in the argument the Justice agreed to the divorce and directed Manheimer to pay $25 a week alimony and $250 counsel fee.
One year later on June 24, 1922 Irving S. Manheimer married his third wife Ruth Braunstein in St. Charles, Missouri, well away from the flash-bulbs of NYC newspaper reporters. Nevertheless, their marriage grew unhappy and suffered sporadic periods of prolonged separation. Five years later on September 22, 1927 their son Lawrence Henry Manheimer was born.
In 1924 Paul Sampliner and Warren Angel formed Eastern Distributing Corporation located at 45 West 45th Street near Times Square. They handled newsstand distribution of cigars, candy, and magazines. Along with these conventional duties, Eastern Distributing also offered publishers credit for operating funds in exchange for control of related services, such as printing, paper, plates, trucking, warehousing, and overseas sales. All of these services were provided by affiliated subcontractors, who gave discounted prices for massive orders. This risky approach to business reflected the reckless ambition of the roaring twenties, which brought Paul Sampliner and Warren Angel into association with powerful publishers, syndicates, unions and gangsters.
One of the affiliated businesses of Eastern Distributing was The Tab Printing Corporation, which was owned by Theodore Epstein and produced The Daily Racing Tab for Moe L. Annenberg, a member of the Hearst Executive Council. In 1925 Theodore Epstein registered two new incorporations, PDC (Publishers Distributing Corporation) and Publishers Surplus Corporation, which handled overseas sales of recently unsold and returned periodicals.
In 1926 Paul Sampliner and Warren Angel hired Irving S. Manheimer to work for Eastern Distributing as a Circulation Manager. He was also appointed Director of Theodore Epstein's Printers Surplus Corporation.
By 1928 Eastern Distributing handled the many publications of Hugo Gernsback, an innovative publisher with significant unpaid debts. On February 21, 1929 Hugo Gernsback was legally forced to declare bankruptcy. During subsequent negotiations he accepted the offer of credit in exchange for control and Irving S. Manheimer became his Business Manager. His vast company was reorganized by Paul Sampliner and Warren Angel in cooperation with Bernarr Macfadden and William M. Clayton. They split the business into several independent companies, whose names included Stellar Publications, Teck Publishing, Forward Publications, Experimenter Publications, Modern Publications, and Grenpark Novelties. The executive officers of these various companies included Hugo Gernsback, Bernarr Macfadden, William M. Clayton, , Theodore Epstein, Harry Donenfeld, Frank Armer, and Harold Hersey, while the production and distribution was handled by Eastern Distributing.
On July 31, 1929 Ruth Braunstein Manheimer filed for separation and was awarded $15 a week for care of their child, Lawrence H. Manheimer. The husband counter-sued for divorce and demanded custody of the child. During the long trial the wife's lawyer inadvertently mentioned in court his own romantic affair with the wife, after which the divorce was granted with the father won custody of the child.
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 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 over this lucrative field.
In February 1930 Eastern Distributing Corporation moved to the Albano Building at 305 East 46th Street. During this expansive phase they 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 sort of deal gave the distributor complete control and maximum profit.
Three young editors 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."
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.
Aaron A. Wyn, Ned L. Pines, and Harold Hersey all preferred to leave Eastern Distributing and follow Warren Angel to Kable News. To handle those accounts, as well as to offer a similar deal to other aspirant publishers, Warren Angel and Samuel Campbell formed C&A (Campbell & Angel) Publishing Company.
In 1930 Irving S. Manheimer lived at the Dixie Hotel on 43rd Street and Eighth Avenue. He listed his occupation as Business Manager of publishing company. He gave his mailing address as 98 Park Place, which was also the business location of Hugo Gernsback.
On July 17, 1931 Irving S. Manheimer traveled to England on the Steam Ship Olympic with Abe Goodman (1903-1998), who was the Business Manager and older brother of Martin Goodman.
On September 10, 1932 The New York Times reported Eastern Distributing Corporation had filed for bankruptcy, and listed debts of $20,000 owed to the Isaac Goldmann Co., $1,000 owed to Frank G. Menke, and $40,000 to the New Broad Publishing Co. This last company was owned by Moe L. Annenberg and headed by Theodore Epstein to produce The New Broadway Brevities, a scandal sheet with a jaded history of extortion and blackmail. The magazine reported rumors of disgraceful misdeeds by members of high society, next to coverage of lurid sex crimes, gangsters and political corruption. Subjects of such stories were contacted before publication for comment and invited to invest in the company if they preferred the story to remain unpublished.
On September 13, 1932 The New York Times reported the NYC Court had appointed the bankruptcy receivers of Eastern Distributing.
On October 9, 1932 The New York Times reported the new incorporation of Mutual Magazine Distributors, which was listed as a printing and distributing business. The lawyer of record was Benjamin E. Winston at 270 Broadway. The head of the company was Louis Silberkleit, who also formed at the same time Newsstand Publications. These businesses were located at 53 Park Place, which had a rear entrance at 60 Murray Street. This office building was two blocks west of City Hall in Lower Manhattan, and was another business location of Hugo Gernsback. One of the employees at the company was Martin Goodman, who had worked for Louis Silberkleit at Eastern Distributing.
On May 11, 1935 The New York Times reported Mutual Magazine Distributors had filed for bankruptcy. The principal creditors were Newsstand Publishers, Clancy Publications (owned by Paul G. Clancy at 1472 Broadway) and Trojan Publications (owned by Paul Sampliner, Harry Donenfeld, and Frank Armer).
On August 30, 1935 Irving S. Manheimer and his seven-year-old son Lawrence traveled to Bermuda with Ned L. Pines, who at that time was twenty-nine and had been publishing magazines for seven years under business arrangements with Paul Sampliner, Warren Angel and Irving S. Manheimer.
On December 19, 1935 The New York Times reported that the pulp author and editor, William H. Cook had declared bankruptcy because he owed $3,613.76 to Irving S. Manheimer.
In 1936 Ned L. Pines sued pulp publisher Harry Steeger for infringement on the copyrighted magazine title G-Men. During the trial the prosecution presented Joseph Sheeran of ANC, Paul Sampliner of IND, Warren Angel of Kable News, and Irving S. Manheimer of Publishers Surplus Corporation as character witnesses for Ned L. Pines, to counter which the defendant claimed all five were in fact affiliated businessmen.
In 1936 Irving S. Manheimer and his son, Lawrence H. Manheimer, lived at 760 West End Avenue on the Upper West Side. The ex-wife and mother, Ruth Braunstein, had remarried to become Mrs. Ruth Shack, and she continued to sue for control of the son until all legal appeals were exhausted on July 2, 1937.
By 1937 Irving S. Manheimer was listed as the owner of Publishers Surplus Corporation as well as PDC (Publishers Distributing Corporation), although both companies were first registered to Theodore Epstein twelve years earlier.
In 1938 Irving S. Manheimer's widowed mother, Bessie Manheimer, died at the age of eighty in NYC.
In 1938 Irving S. Manheimer convinced William M. Cotton,a young Advertising Director at Fawcett Publications, to leave his job and accept offered credit to form Ideal Publishing Corporation on the 12th floor of the Chanin Building at 122 East 42nd Street. Their first two publications were Hollywood fan magazines Movie Life and Modern Movies. These pre-existing titles had been published by Ultem Publications and were distributed by PDC. Ultem was owned by Isaac Wise Ullman and Frank Zelig Temerson.
William M. Cotton went on to establish a significant career in publishing. He added titles Movies and Movie Stars Parade, as well as Intimate Romances and Personal Romances. Over the next thirty years every periodical he produced had the PDC logo, which identified his continued business connection to Irving S. Manheimer. Eventually the company became a subsidiary of Grosset & Dunlap.
In September 1938 William M. Cotton released the first issue of Peek, a humor magazines of gags and pin-ups. The editor was Adrian Lopez. To distinguish this new branch of humor magazine from his Hollywood fan magazines, they formed a new company, Bilbara Publishing, with offices at 18 East 48th Street. The new company was named after William M. Cotton's two young daughters Billie and Barbara.
In 1939 Irving Manheimer married his fourth wife, Ruth Bayarsky, in Dade County, Florida. She was born November 5, 1909 in Brooklyn. They moved to a suburban home at 83 Somerstown Road in Ossining, NY. The town was renowned as the historic home of Sing-Sing State Prison. The notable Warden, Lewis Lawes, headed the prison for twenty years, even after his reputation was curiously compromised by an infamous incident in 1935, when he was listed as co-owner of Prison Life Stories along with an indicted race track tip-sheet publisher Theodore Epstein, an affiliate of Moe L. Annenberg, Walter W. Hubbard, and Leo Greenwald.
On March 6, 1940 Publishers Distributing Corporation leased an entire floor of 225 West 57th Street. The company employed Leo Greenwald as Business Manager and hired Samuel E. Scheff as accountant.
By 1940 William M. Cotton's two biggest competitors in the field of Hollywood fan magazines were Fawcett and Dell. Both companies also produced humor magazines and comic books, so Bilbara Publishing also began to produce comics. In June of 1940 he released the first issue of Cyclone Comics, which featured Tornado Tom. The editor was Worth Carnahan, whose wife, Elizabeth Mary Slayden, was a childhood friend of Mrs. Cotton. The cover of the second issue of Cyclone Comics was drawn by Worth Carnahan. It is signed in the lower-right corner with the artist's distinctive signature design composed of his interlocked initials "WC." The inside front covers of each issue of Cyclone Comics has the same full page advertisement for Movie Life Magazine from Ideal Publishing Company.
On October 4, 1940 The New York Times reported a petition of bankruptcy had bee filed against Centaur Publications at 215 Park Avenue South, with a debt of $4,800 owed to Publishers Surplus Corporation, a company owned by Irving S. Manheimer that bought and distributed unsold magazines overseas.
Prior to the first issue of Cyclone Comics, Worth Carnahan had been editing and publishing the first six issues of Champion Comics. Although the publisher was listed as Worth Publishing Company, the executive offices at 1 East 42nd Street were leased to Leo Greenwald, a PDC Circulation Manager employed by Irving S. Manheimer. The February 1941 issue of Champ Comics identified Leo Greenwald as the Publisher and Editor.
By 1941 Ideal Publishing leased additional space for their Women's Group Division at 295 Madison Avenue on 41st Street.
August 1941 was the cover date of the premiere issue of Spitfire Comics, which listed the distributor as PDC and the publisher as "John F. Mahon" with offices at 2 West 46th Street. The cover was by Malcolm Kildale. This unique comic contained prominent advertisements for Champ Comics and Pocket Comics, both of which were published at that time by the Harvey Comics Company, which was owned by Alfred Harvey Wiernikoff (1913-1994).
By 1941 Irving S. Manheimer was the head of a syndicate that controlled enough shares to demand the reorganization of Macfadden Publications and charged the founder with having recklessly depleted company funds to finance hopeless political aspirations, so Bernarr Macfadden was forced to retire with the stipulation that he not publish any rival magazines for five years.
On April 26, 1942 he reported for draft registration during WWII. He was recorded at that time to be five-four, 160 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair and a light complexion.
In 1942 he had an apartment at 565 West End Avenue, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
In 1943 his son Emanuel Manheimer was born. His youngest son Raymond was born later.
On October 04, 1944 The Atlanta Constitution reported a meeting of East Coast independent distributors who pledged collective cooperation to overcome the challenge of war time paper shortage, which resulted in government legislated paper rationing program.
Irving S. Manheimer continued to head a syndicate that dominated Macfadden Publications and in 1950 he ended publication of Liberty Magazine. In 1951 he became the President of the company, which produced Photoplay, Motion Picture, TV Radio Mirror, Climax, Saga, Sport, True Detective, True Story,Revealing Romances, Intimate Stories, and Confidential.
Throughout the first half of the 20th century ANC (American News Company) dominated the national newsstand distribution market. It was a massive company that operated hundreds of wholesale outlets with thousands of employees and a nationwide network of warehouses, cargo and freight handling subsidiaries. The NYC headquarters were at 9 Park Place in Lower Manhattan across from City Hall. The only rival to ANC was ID (Independent Distributors), which was a council of independent distributors, chief among which were S-M News Company, Interborough News, Garfield News, PDC, IND, and Leader News. Interborough News, located at 525 West 52nd Street, had a unique monopoly on newsstands in the NYC subway system and related transportation terminals.
In 1955 eleven percent of the stock in ANC was acquired by Henry Garfinkle (1903-1983), who then became President of the Board. He owned Garfield News Company, which was a member of the ID council. He instituted a disastrous reorganization that swiftly caused the complete collapse of ANC. Repercussions from that industrial meltdown devastated the American publishing industry and generated widespread misgivings about the ulterior motives of Henry Garfinkle. When the dust had settled ID was the uncontested dominant National newsstand distributor. Although S-M News had controlling interest of the ID council, PDC, IND and Leader News Company were suddenly major distributors. As the owner of PDC, Irving S. Manheimer used this power to negotiate even greater prosperity.
In 1957 the Macfadden Publication, Confidential, was involved in a sensational criminal libel suit with Hollywood stars Liberace and Doris Day. The case was finally settled on November 12, 1957 when Confidential paid a $5,000 fine for publishing obscene material and promised to never again print gossip about movie stars.
In 1958 True Detective Magazine listed offices at 206 East 43rd Street.
On June 16, 1959 his fourth wife, Ruth Bayer (Bayarsky) Manheimer, died at the age of forty-nine in Ossining, NY.
On January 2, 1964 syndicated newspaper gossip columnist Walter Winchell posed the question, "...Isn't publishing tycoon I. S. Manheimer (former Chairman of the Board at Macfadden's) marrying 'HH' soon? He's worth at least $20 Million."
Irving S. Manheimer subsequently married his fifth wife, Barbara Manheimer.
In 1969 ANC merged with Kable News, IND, Leader News, PDC and Garfield News to form Ancorp National Services, the nation's largest retailer of periodicals, with Irving S. Manheimer, Paul Sampliner and Samuel J. Campbell on the Executive Board of Directors, along with the sons of William Randolph Hearst and Moe L. Annenberg.
Irving S. Manheimer died at the age of eighty-seven in NYC on June 16, 1980.
© David Saunders 2014