David Karpeles was born in Santa Barbara, California, on January 26, 1936. His family moved to Duluth, Minnesota in 1942. He began his own business (age 6) selling flowers and portrait discount coupons, raising over $2000.00 in two summers. Attended Munger Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, West Jr. High, and Denfeld High School graduating in 1953. Entered the University of Minnesota at Duluth as both a mathematics major and a physics major. Joined the swimming team. Co-started the Darling Observatory Astronomy Group, taking over the local observatory and opening it free to the public. Served as a substitute instructor (age 19) at the University of Minnesota in Duluth and graduated at the end of junior year with the honor award as "the most outstanding 'senior'" ... Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Arts degree, in 1956. Continued in mathematics as a Masters student at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, while serving as a graduate instructor (age 20) in the department. David accepted a research position at Remington Rand Univac in St. Paul and transferred to Remington Rand Univac facility in San Diego, serving as the training coordinator between the Navy and Univac. Taught in the extension department of University of California (USC). Completed Masters Degree in Mathematics in 1962 from San Diego State University. Moved to Santa Barbara where David took a position as a research analyst for General Electric Tempo division in 1963. Taught mathematics at Santa Barbara City College. He began his real estate investment business, and worked toward a Ph.D. at the University of California at Santa Barbara while working at General Electric Tempo. Competed all Ph.D. course-work in 1971 at the University of California at Santa Barbara, but did not complete the program until 2003 when he wrote his dissertation, "Biblical Historicity" and received a PhD in History from Atlantic International University. Also received an Honorary Ph. D. from SUNY (New York University System).
While at General Electric, David created the first operating optical character recognition program. This program automatically read the handwritten figure amounts on bank-checks and printed that amount magnetically on the margin of the check. Developed an artificial intelligence program allowing personnel to question a computer using unrestricted English language. The program analyzed the syntax of the question, determined the meaning and gave the appropriate answer.
Publications include: (Mathematics) Rapidly Computable Planar Metrics and Approximation and Representation of Line Graphs; (Artificial Intelligence) Pattern Recognition using Multi-variate Normal Characteristics and Autognome CR-2, A versatile new system for the machine recognition of handwritten characters; (Military) Multi-path Analysis for Sonar Echoes; Determination of the Percentage of Radar Beam Filling; and Fireball and Toroid Classification by "Minimization" Methods; (Housing) Program Lock-in, a method for providing affordable housing; plus over 60 (Historical) monographs relating to the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum holdings.
David begin collecting historical documents in 1978 after visiting the Huntington Museum. He is the founder and C.E.O. of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums located in Santa Barbara, California; Buffalo, New York; Charleston, South Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Tacoma, Washington; Duluth, Minnesota; Shreveport, Louisiana; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Newburgh, NewYork. The museums are open to both scholars and the general public; all with no charge. Most are open daily, year around. The Karpeles Manuscript Library is the world's largest private holding of important original documents and manuscripts.
Met Marsha (Mirsky) Karpeles in 1957, and they were married the following year.
Marsha Karpeles is the Executive Director of the Karpeles museums. She has also been; President, Brandeis University National Women's Committee, Santa Barbara chapter; Board member University of California (Santa Barbara), History Affilliates; Board member, United Cerebral Palsy; member Santa Barbara County Grand Jury; Chairman, Santa Barbara Jewish Festival; Publisher and Creator of the Guide to the Jewish Community for Santa Barbara; Board member, Santa Barbara Jewish Women's Federation; Board member Elderhostel; Board member SPAWN (Small Publishers and Writers Network); President of PEO, a philanthropic educational organization.
David received an award from California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. for developing a plan for providing affordable housing in California (1981).
David and Marsha have four children, all married; Mark, Leslie, Cheryl, and Jason, and 10 grandchildren.