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Scholar, former UChicago staff member Jeffrey Abt completes book on O.I. founder
Archaeologist James Henry Breasted was so well known during his lifetime that he landed on the cover of Time. When he died in 1935, the last half hour of his memorial service in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel was broadcast nationally on radio.
Yet Breasted, who founded the Oriental Institute in 1919 and was instrumental in promoting understanding of the ancient Middle East for scholars and the public alike, has never been the subject of a comprehensive biography, said Jeffrey Abt, author of the new book, American Egyptologist: The Life of James Henry Breasted and the Creation of His Oriental Institute. The University of Chicago Press published the book earlier this month.
“The only other biography of Breasted is Pioneer to the Past, by his son Charles,” Abt said. “It is in part a memoir and gives scant attention to his father’s work after the mid-1920s. Also, because Charles was not a scholar, much of James Breasted’s research is not addressed,” added Abt, who is an associate professor in the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History at Wayne State University.
The Oriental Institute will host a talk by Abt on his book at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14, in Breasted Hall. Abt will sign copies of his book after the talk, which is free and open to the public...