George Earl Buzza

George Earl Buzza

Marion, Linn County, Iowa, USA
Death 14 Apr 1957 (aged 73)
Burial Leaburg, Lane County, Oregon, USA
Memorial ID 109769477 · View Source
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From the Cedar Rapids Gazette that ran on the 14th of April, 1957:

George E. Buzza, 73, former Marion resident, died Friday at Guatemala enroute with his wife to their home in Los Angeles after a vacation in the West Indies and South America. He and Mrs. Buzza had visited his sisters, Mary Buzza and Amber Travis, in Marion a month ago.
Born June 22, 1883, at Marion, the son of George and Sophia Winsor Buzza, he attended Marion schools and studied art at Cornell College and Drake University.
In 1907, while a student at Drake, Mr. Buzza went to Minneapolis to collect a debt from a Des Moines printer. He remained in Minneapolis and with another artist for several years manufactured college posters, popular at that time.
Three years later he began publishing greeting cards under the name of the Buzza Company. In 1928 he sold 52 percent of his stock in the Buzza Company and moved to CA, planning to retire. On the West Coast he formed a partnership with a former business associate in Minneapolis. He was president of the Buzza-Cardozo Company, a greeting card firm at Hollywood.
Mr. Buzza had recently built a residence in Vida, Ore., and had planned to retire and make his home there.
Mr. and Mrs. Buzza were enroute home from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where they had visited his nephew, Frank B. Travis, and his family.
Surviving, in addition to his wife are a daughter, Mrs. Robert Lawton, of Pacific Palisades, Calif.; three sons, George E. Buzza, jr., of Los Angeles; Merritt and William of Vida, Ore., another sister, Mrs. Newell C. Rice of Mountlake Terrace, Wash., and a brother, Frank C. Buzza of Owen Sound, Ontario.
Services and burial will be at Vida, Ore., Thursday morning.

( The former sexton's wife confirms there is a Buzza fountain- nonfunctioning- in Greenwood cemetery, rural Vida.)


History of Christmas Cards
Christmas Cards by the Decade

American Publishers
Page Eight F
The Buzza Company of Minneapolis, previously The Buzza-Rheem Company, began to produce Christmas cards in 1909 with twenty-four designs. These cards have been referred to as 'poster like' when compared to other designs of that time. They were very original in design and color compared to others on the market. George Buzza, a commercial artist by trade, had a tough time at first selling his designs, but his perseverance paid off. After six years the line was fully accepted by the public. Buzza remained a pioneer in color usage, incorporating harmonies of color to the point of being considered daring. He also used a variety of papers and cardboards of unusual shades and texture.

Alfred Anderson and H.S Swartwood joined the company about 1915. The company began to make great strides, adding to its portfolio of designs by artist such as Lee Mero, Bernice Shaver, Janet Scott, and C.D. Van Gorder. George Buzza also realized that it was the sentiment that sells the card, and employed the works of the popular poet Edgar Guest. By surrounding himself with men and women of great talent, George Buzza was able to lead his company to much success and growth.


Checking out the buzz at Buzza Lofts

Driving East on Lake Street in Uptown you can't help notice the letters — five feet tall at the top of the tower shouting "BUZZA." The building's been there for years sitting rather quiet and nondescript but now it's all cleaned up, dramatically lit at night, and welcoming renters to live at Buzza Lofts.

But what's Buzza?

Born in Iowa, George E. Buzza (1883–1957) moved to Minneapolis after drawing cartoons briefly for the Chicago Tribune. After gaining experience here in printing, illustrating, advertising and writing, he opened the Buzza Company in 1909. The beginnings of the American greeting card industry began in the mid-1850s but greeting cards began to flourish in the early 20th century. The first Buzza cards were printed in 1910. By 1927 the company was making $2 million a year and was one of the nation's largest greeting card companies.

Every major department store in the country bought Buzza greeting cards. They were known for high quality design, innovations in printing, hand-painted accents, and lavish embellishments. The Buzza Company hired leading artists, printing experts from Europe, and nationally known writers and humorists to capture sentiments ready-made for their customers. The charming, bright colored, Art Deco cards are highly collectible today.

Buzza's original offices were on 14th and Hennepin. As the company grew and expanded they needed more space. An existing building on Lake Street had formerly been home to the Self-threading Needle Company. Buzza hired Minneapolis architectural firm Magney & Tusler (Foshay Tower, Downtown Post Office, Calhoun Beach Club) to design the addition and signature tower. Six hundred employees settled into the new building, called Craftacres, in May of 1927.

Five floors and three buildings were filled with artists, designers, printers, engravers, gold leafers, salesmen, order takers, packers, and shippers. The basement level loading dock opened onto the railroad tracks. The place was bustling as the Buzza Company manufactured and shipped 40 million greeting cards a year!

In addition to cards, the Buzza Company also produced bridge scorecards, framed sentimental mottos, place cards, and a variety of books on topics such as entertaining, etiquette, bridge, and many childrens' books.

George Buzza sold his interest in the company in 1929. He moved to California and started another greeting card company named Buzza Cardozo. Production at this facility ceased in 1942 but George Buzza lives on in his many products that are out there being sold as vintage collectibles on Etsy and in the recently opened Buzza Lofts. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012 as a historic manufacturing facility.


George's first wife was Suzanne Comstock (1885-1958), they had children George Earl, Jr., b. Oct. 13, 1909, Hennepin Co., MN, d. Oct. 3, 1970, Los Angeles, CA and Polly Suzanne Buzza (Lawton), b. January 15, 1917.

They appear to have divorced about June 8, 1935 when George, Senior, and Suzanne executed an agreement for an inter vivos trust. ( Estate of Buzza 194 Cal. App. 2d 598 )

His second wife was Jane Louise Greene (1908 - 1955), their marriage was June 13, 1937. Their children were sons Merritt and William. She had been an artist at the Buzza Company. Some trees on Ancestry state she died April 24, 1955 in Leabury, Oregon.

George remarried for a third time, hence the mention of a wife in the obit. She was a former Miss Guatemala.

The 1940 census shows George and Jane with a 1 year old son named Windsor. A Google search shows Windsor Merritt Buzza, b. 1939; this is likely the Merritt listed in the obituary.

This branch of the Buzza family originated in Cornwall, England. Our immigrant ancestors travelled to the Owen Sound/Sydenham area of Ontario which is where most of them settled.

The Cornwall Buzzas were copper, tin, and lead miners. When they came over to Canada, most of them became farmers. There is one decendant who has occupations listed of "saddler" and "mail carrier".

The family has since grown and moved all across Canada. There are a large number of Buzzas in the US and I am sure that we all come from the same line but I have yet to make the connection.

If anybody can provide any further information, it would be most appreciated. I will also share any information that I have.

I would like to thank Janice Buzza, Annabelle Schurr, Mary Jane Buzza and Ralph Buzza for providing me with tons of invaluable information.

As with any family tree, this is a work in progress, so check back often for any new information.

Kathy Buzza
14 Plains Road
Toronto, ON M4J 2R1



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  • Created by: Kent Gebhard
  • Added: 30 Apr 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 109769477
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for George Earl Buzza (22 Jun 1883–14 Apr 1957), Find A Grave Memorial no. 109769477, citing Greenwood Cemetery, Leaburg, Lane County, Oregon, USA ; Maintained by Kent Gebhard (contributor 47001358) .