Irvin Borowsky, Founder of North American Publishing Co., Dies at 90
Irvin J. Borowsky, the distinguished publisher and philanthropist who in 1954 founded North American Publishing Co., the parent company of Promo Marketing magazine died Tuesday in Philadelphia, days after his 90th birthday.
Known as "Mr. B," Irvin Borowsky was born in Philadelphia in 1924, the youngest of nine children born to Polish immigrants. He started a printing business called City Wide Press at the age of 14, after answering an ad in Popular Mechanics for a $5 printing press. His next company, founded after World War II, sold custom storage equipment to major newspapers of the day. His first foray into print publishing was a company, founded in 1948, that would become TV Guide.
North American Publishing Co. was founded in 1954, following Borowsky's sale of the TV magazine to Walter Annenberg. The company's first magazine was Printing Impressions, and its stable of magazines grew to over 20 in the 1970s. The company's growth continued after that, eventually becoming the modern media company comprised of five different sub-groups (printing, promotional products, publishing, consumer electronics and direct marketing) that it is today.
Borowsky stepped away from the company in the early 1980s, devoting his primary energies to philanthropy. He founded the American Interfaith Institute in 1982 and the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia in 2000.
"For those of you who didn’t know Mr. B, he lived a very accomplished life and left this earth with a legacy that will live on for years to come," Dave Leskusky, president of NAPCO, said in a letter to employees.
"I’m not sure if he was a more accomplished entrepreneur or philanthropist but he was great at both. He followed his dreams, worked hard, went where he wanted to go and lived life on his terms," said Leskusky. "Mr. B lived more in one life than most and he's going to missed. He was a mentor to many and a selling genius. In fact, many of us still have the binder full of how to answer objections that he titled 'Selling Is A Noble Profession.' He was truly unique and I'm glad that I had a chance to know him and learn from him."
Mr. Borowsky's funeral was held Friday, Nov. 28.