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Ehsan and Latifeh Yarshater Archive

Eighth Annual Bita Prize for Persian Arts: Ehsan Yarshater

A doyen of Iranian Studies and Iranology, Ehsan Yarshater (1920- 2018) was born in Hamadan, Iran, and studied Persian language and literature at the University of Tehran and Iranian philology at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies. From the early 1960s to the early 2000s, he taught as the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies at Columbia University, where he founded and directed the Encyclopaedia Iranica and the Center for Iranian Studies. The collection consists primarily of four decades (1980s-2000s) of Yarshater’s correspondence. The temporal scope of the collection, however, spans nine decades as it contains Yarshater's personal correspondence and research files from the late 1920s to the early 2010s. The collection also includes hundreds of archival documents, correspondence, and research files that belonged to Latifeh Yarshater (1926-1999). Many of the materials collected by Latifeh Yarshater deal with women’s rights organizations, events, and activists in Iran during the 1950s-1960s. The documents and correspondences in the collection are primarily in Persian, English, and French. The Yarshater family donated the Ehsan and Latifeh Yarshater papers to the Stanford University Library in 2023. 

Highlights From the Yarshater Archive

Letter from Fereydoun Hoveyda to Amir Abbas Hoveyda in 1972, in Persian, page 1 of 3

Supporting Iranian Studies Abroad

Correspondence from Iran's ambassador to the U.N., Fereydoun Hoveyda, to the Prime Minister of Iran, Amir Abbas Hoveyda, in 1972 sharing a report by Dr. Ehsan Yarshater on the need for supporting education on Iran in academic institutions abroad. As a professor of Iranian studies, Dr. Yarshater was seeking financial support from the Iranian government to facilitate the expansion of Iranian studies in American universities, including at Columbia. 

Correspondence from Habib Nafisi to Ehsan Yarshater

Correspondence from Habib Nafisi to Ehsan Yarshater dated 4 December 1968 confirming the receipt of a tone booster and the submission of a conference paper. Habib Nafisi (1908-84), a prominent educator and cabinet minister, served as Iran's Labor Minister from 1946 to 1950. He drafted and helped pass the country's first labor and employment regulations into law during this period. In 1951, Nafisi was appointed by Mohammad Mossadegh as Iran's ambassador to the USA. As a member of the Zahedi cabinet (1953-55), Nafisi held office as Iran's Minister of Industry. He founded Tehran Polytechnic (now Amirkabir University of Technology) in 1956. In the same year, Nafisi instituted the Nafisi Tehnicum in Tehran, one of the country's earliest private STEM colleges, which was later integrated into the K. N. Toosi University of Technology.  

Correspondence from Charles Pellat to Ehsan Yarshater

Correspondence from the French Algerian historian and scholar of Arab and Islamic studies Charles Pellat (1914-1992) to Ehsan Yarshater congratulating him as the recipient of the Giorgio Levi Della Vida Medal for 1991 and inviting him to attend the next Levi Della Vida Conference in Paris. Pellat served as a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres from 1984 until the end of his life. Giorgio Levi Della Vida (1886-1967) was an Italian-Jewish linguist. His scholarly interests included Hebrew, Arabic, and other Semitic languages, as well as the history and cultures of the Near East.