Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

David Randolph Milsten


Tulsa World, Obituary (by Barbara Byrne), July 6, 1996, p. A11:

David Randolph Milsten--Tulsa attorney, civic leader, poet and biographer--died Friday at his Tulsa home. He was 92.

Services are pending with Fitzgerald Funeral Service in Tulsa.

Milsten was known for his biography of "Oklahoma's favorite son," friend and humorist Will Rogers. He also acted as Tulsa's unofficial poet-laureate.

Milsten was born in Coalgate, Indian Territory, on Sept. 29, 1903. He graduated from Coalgate High School in 1920 and went on to attend the University of Oklahoma, where he received a bachelor of arts in 1925. Milsten attended law school at Yale University.

He received a law degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1927. He practiced law in Oklahoma while serving a variety of civic duties.

From 1929 to 1931, he was the assistant county attorney for Tulsa County. He was elected honorary president of Temple Israel and served two terms as president of the board of directors of the Temple Israel of Tulsa.

Milsten was honored by the Oklahoma Historical Society with the "Certificate of Merit" for his biographical work and received an award of the same name from the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity.

He is the author of "Howdy, Folks," the official poem of the State of Oklahoma. Milsten also wrote a biography of Thomas Gilcrease and published several volumes of poetry, including "Before My Night" and "The Morning After."

Milsten was instrumental in the formation of several civic groups, including Tulsa Little Theatre, Tulsa Opera Inc., The Salvation Army's Red Shield Club, and what is now the Tulsa Philharmonic.

He was active in the Akdar Shrine Temple, the Scottish Rite, the Thomas Gilcrease Institute and the Will Rogers Memorial Commission.

Milsten was known as an expert in the legal areas of radio and copyright laws.

Survivors include his sister, Freida Schuman, of Tulsa; a son, Dr. Donald E. Milsten of Baltimore; and a daughter, Suzanne Parelman of Bethesda, MD.


"Howdy Folks"


David Randolph Milsten, Before My Night: Selected Poems (New York: Exposition Press, 1962)

__________________, The Morning After (Dorrance & Company, 1978)


David Randolph Milsten, An Appreciation of Will Rogers (San Antonio: Naylor Company, 1936)

___________________, Thomas Gilcrease (San Antonio: The Naylor Company, 1969)

___________________, Will Rogers The Cherokee Kid (West Chicago, Illinois: Glenheath, 1987)(Tulsa, Oklahoma: Coman & Associates, 1994)