Sapiro, Aaron

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SAPIRO, AARON (1884–1959), U.S. lawyer. Sapiro, born in San Francisco, California, spent most of his poverty-stricken childhood in an orphan asylum. He went on, however, to graduate from the University of Cincinnati, studied briefly for the rabbinate, and then received his law degree from the University of California. Sapiro's legal practice emphasized labor law, men's compensation, and, especially, farm cooperatives. He was the author of the California Industrial Accident laws and was chiefly responsible for the standard Cooperative Marketing Act in effect in over 40 states. In 1924 Sapiro was attacked by Henry Ford's Dearborn Independent in a series of articles alleging a Jewish conspiracy to control U.S. agriculture. He brought a $1,000,000 damage suit against Ford, and when the case came to trial in 1927, Ford denied antisemitic intent, but settled out of court with Sapiro. The Ford-Sapiro case set the stage for the conclusion of the Dearborn Independent's anti-Jewish campaign and for Ford's public apology to the Jews.


New York Times (Nov. 25, 1959); G.H. Larsen and H.E. Erdman, in: Missisippi Valley Historical Review, 49 (1962/63), 242–68; M. Rosenstock, Louis Marshall, Defender of Jewish Rights (1965), 182–97.

[Morton Rosenstock]