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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

NEWMAN, JOSEPH SIMON

NEWMAN, JOSEPH SIMON

NEWMAN, JOSEPH SIMON (6 Dec. 1891-10 Nov. 1960) earned his living as a founder of the NEWMAN-STERN CO. and gained renown as a writer of light verse. Born in New London, O., he was the son of Simon and Hanna Cohn Newman, who soon brought him to Cleveland. A graduate of CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL, Newman attended Case Institute of Technology (see CASE WESTERN RESERVE) before withdrawing to go into business. He married Babette Weidenthal, daughter of Cleveland journalist Maurice Weidenthal, in 1913. Two years later, with brother Arthur S. Newman and partner Arnold Stern, he founded the Electro-Set Co. to manufacture educational toys, some being of his own invention. The firm soon added sporting goods to its line and became the Newman-Stern Co. Newman meanwhile began writing columns on electricity for the PLAIN DEALER and contributing humorous rhymes to TED ROBINSON's "Philosopher of Folly" column under the pseudonym, "Prof. Cy N. Tific." A member of the CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND, from 1925-58 he teamed with CARL D. FRIEBOLIN to write lyrics (775 in all) for the club's annual ANVIL REVUE. His first volume of verse, Poems for Penguins, was published in 1941, followed by It Could Be Verse (1948), Perishable Poems (1952), and Verse Yet (1960). Following his retirement from business, he began a weekly column for the CLEVELAND PRESS in 1952 under the heading "It Could Be Verse." A daily counterpart, "Joe Newman's Frying Pan," was added in 1957. Among many other activities, Newman taught at Cleveland College and served as trustee of the CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE. Survived by his wife and 2 sons, James M. and Robert W., he was buried in Mayfield Cemetery.