CWRU Links

ZEVIN, BEN D.

ZEVIN, BEN D. (16 May 1901-27 Dec. 1984) built the WORLD PUBLISHING CO. into one of the country's leading book publishers in the period during and after WORLD WAR II. Born in the Ukraine, U.S.S.R., he came to America with his family and settled in New York City early in the 20th century. He had his own advertising agency by the age of 21 and became manager of a trade paper. After a childless marriage to Susan Zevin, in 1933 he married Lillian Cahen (1908-93) of Cleveland, daughter of the founder of the Commercial Bookbinding Co., Alfred Cahen. Zevin came to Cleveland in 1934 to become advertising manager of the firm, which became World Publishing the following year. Working alongside his wife, who became World's editor-in-chief, Zevin took the company from sales of $600,000 in 1935 to an estimated $17 million in 1965, when he retired as chairman of the board. Building on the company's reputation as a publisher of Bibles, he made it a leader in dictionary publishing with the introduction of Webster's New World Dictionary in 1953. For the publisher Houghton Mifflin of Boston, Zevin edited Nothing to Fear: The Selected Addresses of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1946). A co-founder and president of the Cleveland Council on Human Relations, he also served as president of the CITIZENS LEAGUE and the CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND. He and his wife Lillian raised 4 children: Bernice (Eaton), Rima (Parkhust), Jacquelyn, and Robert B. Following their divorce in 1966, he married Sonia Grau. Zevin died in Miami, Fla., survived by his last 2 wives and the 4 children of his 2d marriage.