Stanford University has acquired one of the most valuable libraries on Egyptian history in private hands, documenting more than 1,500 years of Egyptian history from about 650 B.C. to about 1000 A.D.
The library is the collection of Wolja Erichsen (1890-1966), a professor at the University of Copenhagen.
After his death, his heirs disagreed where the library should go, and it stayed in Copenhagen until Stanford acquired it.
"The Erichsen library is one of the most significant and perhaps the last great Egyptology library in private hands," said Joe Manning, Stanford associate professor of classics. "It is difficult to overestimate the importance of acquiring this collection. Stanford's acquisition adds great momentum to our research and strengthens our profile as one of the very best places in the world to study ancient Mediterranean civilizations."
Erichsen was an expert in demotic Egyptian and Coptic, two ancient Egyptian languages.
"The breadth of text editions and studies of demotic and Coptic text editions in this library is unmatched," Manning said.
The purchase of the library was partially funded by a donation made by Stanford alumna Chele Chiavacci, the granddaughter of Edna Kumpe, who had a lifelong interest in Egypt and the Bible. The Classics Department and provost's office provided the other funds for the acquisition.