The Passing of a Giant
Irvin Borowsky, founder of North American Publishing Company and Target Marketing, was small in size and towering in stature.
A magnificent schemer and dreamer, Irv was a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist who changed lives and changed the world.
The child of Polish immigrants, he grew up in South Philly. He started his first enterprise while still in grade school-printing business cards for local executives and salesmen on a printing press set up in his bedroom. With his little business, he put a number of his eight siblings through college. Among the subsequent businesses he founded:
- Foster Manufacturing Company (1946). The company manufactured and sold storage equipment for printers and newspapers.
- TV Digest (1948). The first publication to provide television schedules to viewers. In 1953, he sold it to Daily Racing Form publisher Walter Annenberg who changed the name to TV Guide. Thirty-five years later, the TV Guide empire was sold to Rupert Murdoch for $3 billion.
- North American Publishing Company (1958) A mini conglomerate that included Audio, Sailing World, CUE, Target Marketing, Custom House Guide, Package Printing and Printing Impressions. As CEO of a publicly held corporation, Irv rebelled against stockholder involvement and dealing with government regulators, so he sold off the consumer publications and took the company private. This enabled him to follow his bliss-philanthropy and making the world a better place.
- American Interfaith Institute (1982). The institute has the goal to build bridges between Christians and Jews.
- The National Liberty Museum (2002). A passionate believer in human rights, Irv founded the museum that thrives two blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in Center City Philadelphia.
In 1992, Irv bought our little business in Stamford, Conn. and moved us to Philadelphia to take over Target Marketing. At the office Christmas party that December, Irv told me of his grandiose dream: to create a new translation of the Christian Bible.