Noah "Ned" Labe Pines was born December 10, 1905 in Malden, Massachusetts, a suburb six miles north of Boston. His father, Joseph Pines, was born in 1872 in Grodno, Belarus, Russia. The family name Pines is most likely derived from the neighboring region of Pinsk, where the Pina River flows through Belarus, Russia. His mother, Dora Goldes, was born in 1875 in Russia. Both parents were of Jewish ancestry and came to America in 1892. His parents met in Boston, where they married on February 16, 1896. They had three children, Robert (b.1897), Lillian (b.1902), and Noah (b.1906). The family lived at 29 South Margin Street. The father owned the Pines Rubber Raincoat Manufacturing Company.
By 1910 the father's business expanded to New York City, where the Pines family moved to Brooklyn and lived at 1141 44th Street.
By 1915 the father had become a prominent businessman and the family had moved to a more prosperous home at 1430 50th Street.
His father was the Director of the Brooklyn Federation of Jewish Charities, the Director of the Judea Life Insurance Company, and also the Director of the Borough Park Y.M.H.A. (Young Mens Hebrew Association).
In 1917 the family's fourth child, Kermit Pines, was born.
In June of 1918 the oldest brother, Robert Pines, graduated from Columbia University, where he had edited two school publications, The Daily Spectator and The Literary Monthly. After graduation he served in the U.S. Navy during the Great War. At that time Ned Pines was a twelve-year-old student and enthusiastic member of the Boy Scouts Troop 161, which met at the Borough Park Y.M.H.A., where his father was Director.
On July 23, 1918 nationwide newspapers reported a war profiteering scandal of headline proportions. "Bribery and Graft Found in Contracts For Army Supplies. Extensive Conspiracies in Regard to Rubber Raincoats Disclosed by Department of Justice." A corrupt purchasing agent had been caught using extortion and bribery to win a $20,000,000 contract to supply raincoats to the army, and then organized a conspiracy of fifteen manufacturers in Brooklyn and Boston to deliver "rotten raincoats." Joseph Pines of the Pines Rubber Company was among those arrested. During the subsequent investigation government agents double-checked all deliveries and determined 24% of the raincoats supplied by the Pines Rubber Company were defective. The fraud only came to light after the raincoats were sent to soldiers fighting overseas, where General Pershing found them unsatisfactory. "A few rainstorms were sufficient to make these coats fall to pieces." Many of the rubber raincoats were made from rotten cloth and rubber, in dimensions that were scantier than specifications, and with improperly-cemented seams. The war profiteers were rounded condemned by editorial writers in nationwide newspapers, who demanded the death penalty for treason during wartime. The fraud case resulted in convictions for the ringleaders, but after three years of appeal the verdict was set aside by the Supreme Court.
On April 6, 1919 The Brooklyn Eagle reported on current developments in local chapters of The Boy Scouts, "Troop 161 of Bay Ridge has an interesting monthly newspaper called The Scout Courier. The editor-in-chief is Noah Pines, who reports Ned Pines has organized the Rattlesnake Patrol, with N. Pines as Patrol Leader and Robert Pines as the Scoutmaster."
On April 4, 1920 The Brooklyn Eagle notified the public that Noah Pines had purchased a press to produce The Scout Courier and offered to print similar newspapers for other troops at reasonable rates.
One week later on April 11, 1920 The Brooklyn Eagle reported that Noah Pines had formed the Scout Courier Printing and Publishing Company, the purpose of which company was to print scout magazines for any Scout Troops that subscribed to his service. This earliest venture into publishing was later described by NYC gossip columnist Don O'Malley, "He got the idea for buying up a paper mill's entire output at low prices for later re-sale. He discovered, however, that the best price for the paper could be obtained if it were sold in the form of magazines, so he became a publisher."
On May 9, 1920 Ned Pines ran an advertisement in The Brooklyn Eagle to solicit material from other amateur Boy Scout magazines and newspapers, from which he could edit a selection to compile into a Scouts Digest Magazine.
In June of 1921 Ned Pines' older brother, Robert Pines, graduated from Columbia University masters program in Business Law, after which he provided legal services in real estate, deeds, leases, contracts, loans, incorporations and bankruptcies.
In 1923 the Pines family lived at 260 Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn.
In June of 1923 Ned Pines graduated from high school in Brooklyn. In September of 1923 he began to attend Columbia University as a freshman.
The school continued to produce several publications, such as The Daily Spectator and The Literary Monthly, which had been edited by the older brother of Ned Pines Ned Pines during his undergraduate years at Columbia. Following in those footsteps, Ned Pines also became an active contributor to school publications. At that time College Humor was a popular newsstand magazine, which offered an edited selection of the best of wit and humor from American college publications. That magazine was produced by Collegiate World Publishing Company in Chicago, IL. The president of the company was Joseph M. Lansinger, while the V.P. and Editor was Harold Norling Swanson (1899-1991). Following that successful formula, Ned Pines started College Life and named his publishing company The Collegian Press.
On August 14, 1925 The Brooklyn Eagle reported, "Boro Boy at Columbia Starts Magazine of Fun. N. L. Pines, a 19-year-old sophomore at Columbia, living at 260 Ocean Parkway, has distinguished himself by starting a magazine of collegiate humor, called The Collegian, which is published in Paterson, NJ. Although the magazine has only been published a year, it is already a success. It contains many original drawings and jokes. The magazine concerns itself chiefly with satire on college life and modern tendencies."
In 1926 Ned Pines left Columbia in his Junior year and went into business with his brother Robert Pines as publishers of College Life for the Collegian Press.
On November 20, 1928 The New York Times reported the new incorporation, "Collegian Press, newspapers - R. A. Pines, 26 Court Street, Brooklyn."
By 1929 Ned Pines had signed a contract to have College Life distributed to newsstands by Eastern Distributing Company, which was founded in 1924 by Warren Angel and Paul Sampliner. Their business was located at 45 West 45th Street.
The April 1930 an advertisement in a trade journal of the distribution industry listed College Life as a periodical available through Eastern Distributing Company.
In 1930 Ned Pines was listed as a "Magazine Publisher" who lived with his parents "Joseph & Dora Pines" at 260 Ocean Parkway, with siblings, Kermit and Lillian. She had married Dr. Lester Baker, who also lived with the family, as well as the maternal grandfather, Joel S. Goldes (b. 1855 in Russia).
On September 20, 1930 Ned Pines' father, Joseph Pines, died of a heart attack at the age of fifty-eight in Brooklyn.
In 1930 Modern Sports Publishing Company at 570 Seventh Avenue at 40th Street. produced Contract Bridge Made Easy and Fifty Games of Cards and How to Play Them by M. A. Goldsmith. The company logo featured a Pine tree and the credo "Better Books." The front and back covers were painted by J. George Janes. That same year Modern Sports Publishing Company also produced Golf Made Easy, Girl Rackets, and a humor magazine Tickles.
On July 31, 1931 The New York Times reported that Robert Pines had registered Metropolitan Magazines as a newly incorporated business. The first periodicals produced by this company were Thrilling Love and Thrilling Detective. The premiere issues of each magazine was dated November 1931, which suggests they were on the newsstands in October, so they most likely went to press in August of 1931. The indicia of these earliest magazines list the company President as M. A. Goldsmith, while N.L. Pines was listed as the Treasurer and Managing Editor. M. A. Goldsmith was Marcus Ahlenfold Goldsmith (1881-1963) of Cleveland, Ohio. His wife was Etta A. Sampliner of Cleveland, Ohio. She was the cousin of Paul Sampliner. Marcus A. Goldsmith owned and operated Goldsmith Publications and Child Play Company, which produced children's books, puzzle books, and books about card games. To sell his books Marcus A. Goldsmith also worked as a traveling salesman. He had no family connection with Harold Sanford Goldsmith (1903-1969), who at this same time worked for Warren Angel and Paul Sampliner. Ace Magazine since he had completed his studies at Columbia University in 1924. The executive office of Metropolitan Magazines was at 570 Seventh Avenue at 40th Street in Manhattan. A companion magazine, Thrilling Adventures, was soon added to the roster. The cover artists of these earliest issues were J. George Janes, Rafael M. DeSoto and R. G. Harris. The interior art was drawn by Terry Gilkison, Pete Costanza, Stookie Allen, Mel Graff, Lyman Anderson and Don Hewitt.
In 1932 Ned Pines hired Leo Margulies (1900-1975) as chief editor. He had also attended Columbia University, and had previously worked at Munsey Magazines.
The January 1933 issue of Thrilling Detective listed the publishing company as Standard Magazines, Inc. This is the first appearance of that company name. The president of the company was still listed as M. A. Goldsmith, and the offices were still at 570 Seventh Avenue.
These pulp magazines carried mail order advertisements in the back pages for the book Girl Rackets from Better Publications located at 570 Seventh Avenue. That company was also owned by Ned Pines.
In 1933 Paramount Studio in Hollywood released College Humor, a sensational musical comedy with an all-star cast of Bing Crosby, Jack Oakie, George Burns and Gracie Allen.
Hoping to capitalize on this popular movie, Dell Publishing Company bought College Humor from Collegiate World Publishing Company of Chicago in the summer of 1934. Their first issue of the new magazine was dated November 1934. After five issues of disappointing sales they sold College Humor to Ned Pines in 1935. His first issue was dated March 1936. His older brother, Robert Pines, was listed as Editor and Publisher. They produced the magazine under the name Collegian Press, which may have marked a proud milestone in the career of Ned Pines, since his first magazine, College Life in 1924, was an imitation of College Humor.
By 1936 Ned Pines had moved his offices to 22 West 48th Street, where he published eleven monthly periodicals under various company names, Standard Magazines, Nedor Publishing, Better Publications, and Thrilling Publications, and Beacon Publications. One of his pulps was titled G-Men Magazine, but in May of 1936 a rival publisher, Henry Steeger of Popular Publications, introduced Ace G-Man Stories. Ned Pines sued him for copyright infringement. On May 13, 1936 the New York Supreme Court issued an injunction order to stop Popular Publications from producing their magazine. During the trial the prosecution presented testimonies from 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 Pines. To counter their supposedly unbiased claims the defendant provided evidence that all four were in fact businessmen affiliated with Ned Pines and therefore financially concerned in the outcome of the trial. During the trail Ned Pines said, "I am also the publisher, under a trade name "Thrilling Group," of eleven other pulp magazines, as well as three smooth paper magazines, among which is the well-known College Humor. The total annual distribution of the twelve pulp magazines published under the name "Thrilling Group" is around eighteen million copies per year."
On October 6, 1936 Ned Pines grandmother, Sarah Labe Pines, died at the age of eighty-nine in Brooklyn.
On October 2, 1937 the newspaper gossip columnist Don O'Malley of The Brooklyn Eagle reported, "About seven years ago, a young New Yorker named Ned Pines decided to go into the paper business. He got the idea of buying up a paper mill's entire output at low prices for later re-sale. He discovered, however, that the best price for the paper could be obtained if it were sold in the form of a pulp magazine. Now Pines has about thirty publications, with a circulation of two million copies a month. He switches them on and off according to the profits they show. Pines can get out a new pulp title on a week's notice or less - and he junks unprofitable magazines with equal abruptness."
On September 20, 1938 Ned Pines married Jacquelyn Sangor. She was born February 1, 1913 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was the daughter of Benjamin Sangor (1889-1953), a real estate lawyer affiliated with Moses L. Annenberg. Benjamin Sangor was a Russian of Jewish ancestry who came to America in 1904 and settled in Milwaukee. He studied at the Marquette Law School in Wisconsin. He came to NYC in 1923 and organized a New Jersey resort development scheme that resulted in his arrest and indictment in 1930 on five charges of larceny and embezzlement. After eight years of appeal he was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison and fined $1000. He surrendered to the New Jersey State prison authorities on January 31, 1938, so at the time of his daughter's marriage he was not able to attend the ceremony.
On October 29, 1938 Ned Pines and Jacquelyn Sangor Pines rented an elegant apartment at 965 Fifth Avenue on 78th Street. Their apartment windows offered picturesque views of Central Park. Mr. & Mrs. Pines had two children, Judith (b.1939), and Susan (b.1942).
In 1939 Benjamin Sangor was released from New Jersey State Prison and returned to NYC to resume his business association with Paul Sampliner. That same year Ned Pines formed Standard Comics, which was the parent company of Better Publications and joined in partnership with Benjamin Sangor to form Nedor Publishing, which produced Thrilling Comics and Exciting Comics. The company name, Nedor, combines the first and last syllables of Ned Pines and Benjamin Sangor.
Benjamin Sangor later formed The American Comics Group and Cinema Comics in partnership with Paul Sampliner at 45 West 45th Street.
The June 1940 issue of Exciting Comics carried a full-page advertisement for many of the the periodicals produced by Ned Pines, Black Book Detective, Captain Future, Detective Novels, The Ghost Super-Detective, G-Men Detective, The Lone Eagle, Masked Rider Western, Phantom Detective, Popular Detective, Popular Love, Popular Sports, Popular Western, The Rio Kid Western, Sky Fighters, Startling Stories, Strange Stories, Thrilling Adventures, Thrilling Detective, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Love, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Ranch, Thrilling Sports, Thrilling Spy, Thrilling Western Thrilling Wonder, and West. Also included were Everyday Astrology and Your Prophecy for 1940.
In 1941 Ned Pines formed See Magazine with Harry Donenfeld, who was another business partner of Paul Sampliner. The editor and publisher of See Magazine was listed as Robert Pines.
In 1942 Ned Pines and Leo Margulies formed the paperback publishing company Popular Library.
During WWII Ned Pines was thirty-seven, married and the father of two infant daughters, so he did nor serve in the military.
In 1946 Harry and Gussie Donenfeld were proud to inform social columnists that their son and daughter were engaged. Irwin Donenfeld married Arlene Judith Levy, a Law School graduate, and Sonia Donenfeld married Frederick H. Iger, a veteran of WWII Army Corps of Engineers and a student at NYU. As soon as he graduated Frederick H. Iger's new father-in-law made him co-owner with Benjamin Sangor of ACG (American Comics Group) at 45 West 45th Street.
On August 8, 1949 Ned Pines' brother, Robert Pines, died of a heart attack at the age of fifty-two in NYC.
In 1949 Ned Pines became a Director of the Eastern Life Insurance Company.
In 1951 Benjamin Sangor married Frances Unger Stotter. She was the widow of Leo Stotter, of Dayton Ohio, but more importantly, she was also the older sister of Sophie Unger Sampliner, the wife of Paul Sampliner, so after their wedding Benjamin Sangor became the Brother-In-Law of Paul Sampliner.
In 1952 Ned Pines purchased Silver Screen and Screenland Magazines, which had been published by Public News Company located at 45 West 45th Street.
On January 26, 1953 Benjamin Sangor died at the age of sixty-three in Florida. After his death the ownership statement of the American Comics Group listed the publisher as Regis Publications, and owners as Frances U. Sangor and Fred Iger. Regis is "S(angor) Iger" spelled backwards.
In 1954 all previous records for book sales were surpassed by 3,300,000 copies of the Popular Library paperback Duel In The Sun by Niven Busch.
In 1957 Ned Pines formed Miss Magazine, with newsstand distribution through the Hearst Corporation.
In 1958 Ned Pines was listed in the NYC Business Directory at 10 East 40th Street.
His eldest daughter, Judith Pines, married Anthony Edward Marks, a Columbia graduate of the Anthropology Department.
In July of 1959 Ned Pines divorced Jacquelyn Sangor Pines through the Civil Court of Alabama.
After the divorce Jacquelyn Sangor Pines lived at the Savoy Hilton Hotel on Fifth Avenue and 58th Street.
On June 2. 1960 The New York Times reported, "The directors of the Eastern Life Insurance Company of New York have elected Ned L. Pines as Chairman. Mr. Pines, who is president of Pines Publications, Inc., and of Popular Library Inc., both here, has been a director of the insurance company eleven years. He is also a member of the board of the Magazine Publishers Association."
In 1964 Ned Pines married his second wife, Maxine Firestone. She was born October 10, 1924 in Tennessee. She was divorced and had two sons, Anthony Michaelman and Kenneth Michaelman, who became stepsons to Ned Pines.
On May 11, 1965 Jacquelyn Sangor Pines died at the age of fifty-two in NYC.
He served on the Board of Directors of the Merce Cunningham Dance Federation. He served as a member of the Publication Committee of Commentary Magazine. He was a Trustee of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies.
In 1971 he retired from publishing and spent several months of each year in France, where he enjoyed collecting European modern art paintings and the food and wine of Burgundy.
Ned Pines died at the age of eighty-four in the American Hospital of Paris, France, on May 14, 1990.
© David Saunders 2015