CLEVELAND — Jacob Sapirstein, founder of American Greetings Corp. 81 years ago, died Wednesday at his home in University Heights. He was 102.
American Greetings is the largest publicly held manufacturer of greeting cards.
Sapirstein emigrated from Poland to Boston in 1905, then moved to Chicago before settling in Cleveland in 1906.
He began his career by selling cards in a downtown hotel and later founded the Sapirstein Greeting Card Co., handling the selling, ordering and bookkeeping from a horse-drawn wagon. The firm now employs 23,000 people and had revenues of $1.2 billion last year.
Sapirstein's decision to start his own business followed an embargo of German-produced cards, which created a demand in the United States.
Sapirstein Greeting Card Co. became American Greetings Publishers in 1938, and stock was offered to the public in 1952.
Sapirstein was to have retired from the firm's board of directors today.