Karpeles Manuscript Museum Tacoma, WA

Karpeles Manuscript Museum

The Karpeles Manuscript Library is a treasure trove of historical documents and manuscripts, containing over one million original manuscripts spanning a wide range of fields such as literature, science, religion, political history, exploration, music, and art. Founded in 1983 by David and Marsha Karpeles, the library’s aim is to promote literacy and inspire curiosity in history among people of all ages. The library’s vision is to encourage future generations to appreciate the achievements of notable figures from various periods in history, including authors, scientists, composers, philosophers, artists, sovereigns, leaders, and pioneers. By doing so, the Karpeles Manuscript Library hopes to instill in them a sense of purpose, courage, hope, pride, and fulfillment.

David Karpeles, the co-founder of the Karpeles Manuscript Library, was a mathematician and philanthropist who earned his cum laude degree in mathematics and physics from the University of Minnesota in 1956. He later completed his Master’s degree in mathematics in 1962 at San Diego State University while serving as a graduate instructor. After working as a research analyst for the General Electric Tempo division in Santa Barbara, where he proposed the use of the first optical character recognition system for handwriting, he began investing in real estate in 1968. He became known for his work in offering tenants financing options to help them become first-time homeowners, and was recognized for his efforts in affordable housing by Governor Jerry Brown in 1981. Alongside collecting historical manuscripts and documents, David also worked toward earning a PhD in Religion from the University of California and a PhD in History from Atlantic International University. He received an Honorary Doctoral degree in Humane Letters from SUNY in 2012. Sadly, David passed away on January 19, 2022, at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, surrounded by his family.

Marsha Karpeles, David’s wife, co-founded the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum and raised four children. She was actively involved in several organizations such as the Brandeis University National Women’s Committee, Santa Barbara chapter, the University of California (Santa Barbara) History Affiliates Board, United Cerebral Palsy Board, Santa Barbara County Grand Jury, Santa Barbara Jewish Festival Chairman, the Guide to the Jewish Community for Santa Barbara Publisher and Creator, the Santa Barbara Jewish Women’s Federation Board, Elderhostel Board, Small Publishers and Writers Network (SPAWN) Board, and PEO philanthropic educational organization President. In 2003, Marsha completed her Masters degree in Creative Writing and currently resides in Florida with her eldest son, Mark Karpeles, who is the CEO of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.

The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum has its collections in 14 mid-sized cities across the United States, and admission is free to the public. The library’s mission is to share the Karpeles’ passion for history and education with the world, and to inspire curiosity and learning in everyone. Visitors can explore a wealth of primary source materials that have helped shape the world we live in today. From the original handwritten drafts of famous authors to scientific breakthroughs and political documents that have changed the course of history, the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum provides an unparalleled opportunity to experience history firsthand.

In addition to being a research and educational resource, the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum also hosts events and lectures to promote cultural understanding and to celebrate the achievements of notable figures throughout history. The museum’s collections are regularly rotated, ensuring that visitors always have new materials to explore and discover.

In conclusion, the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum is an exceptional institution that offers a unique opportunity to learn about history through original documents and manuscripts. Founded by David and Marsha Kar

Visit another Tacoma, WA Landmark: Washington State History Museum