David Fulton "Dave" Karsner (1889–1941) was an American journalist, writer, and socialist political activist. Karsner is best remembered as a key member of the editorial staff of the New York Call and as an early biographer of Socialist Party of America leader Eugene V. Debs.
Karsner's journalistic career began about 1907 when he went to work for a newspaper in the city of Chicago. While in Chicago Karsner made the acquaintance of a number of socialist intellectuals, including Upton Sinclair, Jack London, and Carl Sandburg. His discussions with these led Karsner himself to become an advocate of socialism and to join the Socialist Party of America.
In 1911 Karsner married the Romanian-born socialist Rose Greenberg (1889–1968). The pair had a daughter, Walta Karsner, named after radical poet Walt Whitman. Following the dissolution of their marriage, Rose Karsner married James P. Cannon, regarded as the founder of American Trotskyism, while David Karsner remarried to Esther Eberson.
Karsner joined the editorial board of the New York socialist daily, the New York Call, editing that publication's weekend magazine section before gaining position of managing editor of that publication.
One of the major stories covered by Karsner during his time at The Call was the 1918 mass trial of 166 members of the Industrial Workers of the World held in Chicago before Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
In April 1923 Karsner resigned from the financially struggling Call in protest over the paper's decision to publish a critique of Soviet Russia written by Francis McCullaugh, a member of the British secret service.
Another of Karsner's biographical works, a 1932 book on Colorado businessman and politician H.A.W. Tabor was made into a motion picture by Warner Brothers. The film starred Edward G. Robinson in the lead role and debuted in December 1932.
Death and legacy
David Karsner died of a heart attack on February 20, 1941. He was 51 years old at the time of his death.
- John F. Barlow, "Biography for David Karsner," IMDb, Retrieved October 3, 2011.
- Kelli Piotrowski, "Guide to the David Karsner Papers: Historical/Biographical Note," Tamiment Library and Robert F. Warner Labor Archives, New York University.
- J. Louis Engdahl, "Cahan Dictator of The Call as Karsner, Editor, Resigns; More Light on Anti-Soviet Plot," The Worker [New York], v. 6, whole no. 272 (April 28, 1923), pp. 1-2.
- Mordaunt Hall, "Silver Dollar (1932): Edward G. Robinson in a Film Version of David Karsner's Biography of Haw Tabor," New York Times, December 23, 1932.
- "David Fulton Karsner papers, 1912-1929," New York Public Library, New York.
- "Carrying the Banner," International Socialist Review, vol. 12, no. 11 (May 1912), pp. 756–759.
- "Horace Traubel," The Western Comrade, vol. 1, no. 11 (March 1913), pp. 366–367.
- Debs Goes to Prison. New York: Irving Kay Davis and Co., 1919.
- Debs: His Authorized Life and Letters from Woodstock Prison to Atlanta. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1919.
- Horace Traubel: His Life and Work. New York: E. Arens, 1919.
- Talks with Debs in Terre Haute (and Letters from Lindlahr). New York: New York Call, 1922.
- "The Passing of the Socialist Party," Current History, vol. 20, no. 2 (June 1924).
- Sixteen Authors to One: Intimate Sketches of Leading American Story Tellers. Illustrations by Esther M. Mattsson. New York: Lewis Copeland Co., 1928.
- Andrew Jackson: The Gentle Savage. New York: Brentano's, 1929.
- Silver Dollar: The Story of the Tabors. New York: Covici-Friede, 1932.
- John Brown, Terrible "Saint." Illustrated by Esther Eberson Karsner. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1934.
- Eugene V. Debs, "Letter on Unity to David Karsner in New York City from Eugene V. Debs in Atlanta, April 30, 1920," The Chicago Socialist, whole no. 392 (May 15, 1920), pg. 2.
- Theodore Debs, "Letter of Condolences to Esther Karsner, April 2, 1941," Wabash Valley Visions & Voices: A Digital Memory Project, Indiana State University.
- J. Louis Engdahl, "An Open Letter to David Karsner," The Worker [New York], v. 6, whole no. 271 (April 21, 1923), pg. 6.
- Kelli Piotrowski, "Guide to the David Karsner Papers," Tamiment Library and Robert F. Warner Labor Archives, New York University.