Irving H. Saypol

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Irving Howard Saypol
Irving Howard Saypol circa 1950.jpg
New York Supreme Court Justice
In office
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
In office
Preceded by John F. X. McGohey
Succeeded by Myles J. Lane
Personal details
Born (1905-09-03)September 3, 1905
Lower East Side
Manhattan, New York City
Died June 30, 1977(1977-06-30) (aged 71)
Manhattan, New York City
Education St. Lawrence University
Brooklyn Law School

Irving Howard Saypol (September 3, 1905 – June 30, 1977) was a United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and New York Supreme Court Justice. He was involved in several high-profile Communist prosecutions, including the Alger Hiss, William Remington, Abraham Brothman, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg cases.[1][2]


He was born on September 3, 1905 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City to Louis and Michakin Saypol.[1][2]

While attending night classes at Brooklyn Law School he married in September 1925 to Adele B. Kaplan.[1][2] Their son, Ronald Saypol, served as CEO of Lionel Corporation from 1968 to 1982.[3]

Saypol quickly advanced in the United States Attorney's Office. Irving Saypol led the prosecution of several members of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) including Eugene Dennis, William Z. Foster, John Gates, Robert G. Thompson, Gus Hall, William Remington, Abraham Brothman and Miriam Moskowitz. As a result of these prosecutions Saypol was described by Time as "the nations's number one legal hunter of top communists."[4]

From 1950 to 1951 he was Chief Prosecutor for the federal government in the espionage case against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Morton Sobell.[5] He gained a reputation as an efficient prosecutor of Communists. Saypol served on the New York Supreme Court from 1952 until 1968. In 1976 he was indicted with Surrogate S. Samuel DiFalco for bribery and perjury in connection with an alleged scheme to obtain appraisal and auction commission funds for Saypol's son; the charges were dismissed.[1]

In 1975 Saypol ruled against the landmark designation for Grand Central Terminal in New York City removing legal barriers to the construction of a 59-story office tower on top of the terminal.[6]

Saypol died from cancer on June 30, 1977 at his home at 152 East 94th Street in Manhattan, New York City.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Tom Goldstein (July 1, 1977). "Justice Irving H. Saypol, 71, Dies; Rosenberg Spy‐Trial Prosecutor". New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c "A Stickler for Decorum – Irving Howard Saypol". New York Times. January 7, 1965. p. 23. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Ronald Saypol dies at 85; led model-train maker Lionel into retailing". Los Angeles Times. December 8, 2014.
  4. ^ Caute, David (1978). The Great Fear: Anti-Communist Purge under Truman and Eisenhower. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 63. ISBN 0-671-22682-7.
  5. ^ "Saypol Appointed U.S. Attorney Here". New York Times. Associated Press. January 7, 1950.
  6. ^ Gildberger, Paul (1975-01-22). "Grand Central Landmark Status Voided". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-05.