Max Winkler (1888-1965), an immigrant from Bukovina (a German-speaking enclave in the eastern region of the Habsburg Empire), arrived in New York in 1907, and after working for Carl Fischer, started Belwin in 1918. The name Belwin came from three surnames: S.M. Berg, Sol Levy and Max Winkler. Winkler was an inventive person, having devised cue sheets for silent cinema pianists (silent movies were popular from 1905 to 1930), although this claim is disputed. Belwin published popular songs and also many theater orchestra works.
Belwin took over S.M. Berg in 1919. It merged with Mills Music Publishers to form the Belwin-Mills Publishing Corporation in 1969, with Martin Winkler as director. It is now based in Miami and specialises in educational music. The imprint is part of Alfred music's list.