Norbert Pearlroth

Norbert Pearlroth

Norbert Pearlroth

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Norbert Pearlroth (May 7, 1893, Tarnow, Austria - April 14, 1983, Brooklyn, New York) was the primary researcher for the Believe It or Not! cartoon panel from 1923 until 1975.

Pearlroth attended university in Kraków, Poland, planning to become a lawyer, but events of World War I took him away from his studies. He came to America in 1920. Working in a New York bank in 1923, he learned from a friend that Robert L. Ripley was looking for a linguist. Ripley needed someone capable of researching foreign newspapers to locate material for his syndicated Believe It or Not! panel.

Since Pearlroth knew 11 languages, he was hired to do Ripley's research and soon began doing the picture research as well. He usually worked ten hours a day, six days a week in the New York Public Library's Main Reading Room. The library estimated that Pearlroth examined some 7,000 books every year, meaning that he researched in more than 350,000 books during decades of work on Believe It or Not!., New York Public Library.

Married for more than half a century, Pearlroth and his wife lived in Brooklyn at Newkirk Avenue and East 16th Street. For 52 years, he took the subway into Manhattan in the morning and worked at his office until noon, answering some of the 3000 letters that arrived each week from readers all over the world. Instead of having lunch, he then went to the library where he worked through the afternoon and evening, taking half an hour for dinner. When the library closed at...
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