Thursday, May 19, 2011

Karl W. Ganzlin (1909-2007)

Author, Teacher, Newspaperman
Born January 20, 1909, Sauk City, Wisconsin
Died December 28, 2007, Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin

Karl William Ganzlin was a friend and associate of August Derleth, one of the most prolific of contributors to Weird Tales and an author who perhaps more than anyone kept its spirit alive. Born within weeks of each other, Ganzlin and Derleth were friends as youngsters. Ganzlin earned mention in a couple of Derleth's works of non-fiction. Together, they wrote a story called "The Conradi Affair" for the October 1928 issue of "The Unique Magazine." They were only nineteen years old at the time. Derleth was a veteran author by then, having written his first story for Weird Tales at seventeen. "The Conradi Affair" was Ganzlin's only story for the magazine.

Ganzlin was born on January 20, 1909, in Sauk City, Wisconsin. He spoke German until entering grade school and during World War II served as an interrogator of German prisoners while with the U.S. Army. He began teaching high school English and German in 1932 and resumed that career after three years of service in the United States and Europe. He wrote a single story for Weird Tales but witnessed true horrors when his unit entered Buchenwald concentration camp as the war was ending. Teaching until 1950, Ganzlin got into the newspaper business for a year with The Pioneer Press (at Derleth's urging). In later years, he worked for other firms and for a time edited a monthly house organ for Badger Ordnance. He died on December 28, 2007, in Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin, doing one of the things he liked best: watching football. He was nearing his ninety-ninth birthday as the year 2007 neared its end.

Karl W. Ganzlin's Story in Weird Tales
"The Conradi Affair" (Oct. 1928) with August Derleth

Further Reading
Karl Ganzlin lived into the age of Internet obituaries. You can read an account of his life on the website of Wisconsin News, here.

Lacking a photograph of Karl Ganzlin, I can offer one of his friend and co-author, August Derleth (1909-1971). This one probably dates from the late 1920s or 1930s.
Ganzlin and Derleth's story, "The Conradi Affair," was published in Weird Tales in October 1928. The cover is by C.C. Senf.
Text and captions copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

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