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Former University of Chicago Staffer Publishes New Biography of Oriental Institute Founder

Archaeologist James Henry Breasted founded the Oriental Institute at the University in 1919, and was a beloved figure around the world. Jeffrey Abt, a former Special Collections exhibits coordinator and former acting director of the Smart Museum, has written a biography of Breasted called American Egyptologist: The Life of James Henry Breasted and the Creation of His Oriental Institute, out this month from University of Chicago Press.

Abt discussed the book on Wednesday, December 14, at 7 p.m. at Breasted Hall in the Oriental Institute.

From the University News Office:

Originally, Abt wanted to write about teaching museums and decided to start with the Oriental Institute Museum because of its close proximity. In going through its archives, however, he quickly discovered the wealth of materials on Breasted and became fascinated with the archaeologist’s multi-faceted career.

Breasted, who received his Egyptology PhD in Germany, was the first formally trained American Egyptologist. While he was dashing and adventuresome, he also brought to the University the formidable intellectual gifts and ambitions that helped to fulfill William Rainey Harper’s vision of a research university.

Read the University News Office story here.

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