JACKSON, Abraham Valentine Williams. New York 9.2.1862 — New York 8.8.1937. U.S. Indo-Iranian scholar. Professor in New York. Son of David S. Jackson, a merchant, educated in New York. From 1879 studies at Columbia College, began with classics and Anglo-Saxon, but soon also took Sanskrit and Iranian (Perry and Hopkins). A.B. 1883, A.M. 1884, L.H.D. 1885, Ph.D. 1886 Columbia. In 1887-92 several study trips to Germany, especially at Halle and Berlin (Geldner, Pischel). From 1886 Assistant in Anglo-Saxon and Instructor of Indo-Iranian Languages at Columbia College, from 1891 Adjunct Professor of English Literature. From 1895 Professor and Head of the new Department of Indo-Iranian Languages and Literatures, retired in 1926 (succeeded by L. H. Gray). Hon. LL.D. 1904 Columbia. Visited several times India and/or Iran, in 1901, 1903, 1907, 1910, 1911, 1918 (around the world), and 1926. Married twice, 1889 Dora Ritter (d. 1909) and 1911 Kate Brigham, no children.
Jackson was mainly an Iranian scholar, although he also taught and was interested in Indology (especially in Sanskrit dramas). His command of Sanskrit has been deemed excellent. In his early years his research was mainly concerned with the Avesta, later the new Central Asian fragments led him into Manichaeism. In field he studied e.g. Indian Parsis and the Behistun inscriptions. In the Zoroaster (1899) he followed closely Iranian and Arabic traditions trying to find out the truth behind them. He wrote much, his full bibliography contains more than 350 items (but very few reviews). Among his students were G. C. O. Haas, J. H. Moore, C. J. Ogden, M. Schuyler and A. Yohannan.
Publications: “On some Avestan superstitions”, PAOS 1885, lix-lxi.
– Diss. The style of Tibullus. Manuscript of 27 p. 1886.
– A Hymn of Zoroaster: Yasna 31. Translated with comments. 7+62 p. St. 1888.
– The Avestan Alphabet and its Transcription. 36 p. St. 1890.
– An Avesta Grammar in Comparison with Sanskrit. 1. 321 p. St. 1892, 2nd ed. 1912 (part 2. on syntax never appeared).
– Avesta Reader. First Series: Easier Texts, Notes and Vocabulary. 120 p. St. 1893.
– “On the Date of Zoroaster”, JAOS 17, 1896, 1-22.
– “Certain dramatic elements in Sanskrit Plays”, AJPh 19, 1898, 241-254; “Time Analysis of Sanskrit Plays”, JAOS 20, 1899, 341-359 & 21, 1901, 88-108.
– Zoroaster, the Prophet of Ancient Iran. 312 p. N.Y. 1899, 2nd ed. 1901, 3rd 1919, 4th 1928; tr. into Gujarati by P. B. Desai: Navuṁ Jartośt nāmuṁ. 1900.
– “The Great Behistun Rock and some results of a re-examination of the Old Persian inscription on it”, JAOS 24, 1903, 377-395.
– “Die iranische Religion”, W. Geiger & E. Kuhn (edd.), Grundriss der iran. Philologie. 2. 1904, 612-708.
– Persia Past and Present: A Book of Travel and Research. 31+471 p. N.Y. 1906; From Constantinople to the Home of Omar Khayyam: Travels in Transcaucasia and Nortern Persia. 33+317 p. 132 pl. N.Y. 1911.
– Edited: A History of India. 1-9. L. 1906-07 (vol. 9, foreign notices, by himself).
– With A. Yohannan: A Catalogue of the Collection of Persian Manuscripts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 25+187 p. Indo-Iranian Series 1. N.Y. 1914.
– Early Persian Poetry, from the Beginning down to the Time of Firdausi. N.Y. 1920.
– “The Persian Dominions of Northern India down to the Time of Alexander’s Invasion”, chapter XIV in Cambridge History of India. 1. C. 1922, 319-342.
– With G. K. Nariman & C. J. Ogden: Priyadarśika, a Sanskrit Drama by Harsha. Ed., transl. and notes. 1923.
– Zoroastrian Studies. 33+325 p. Indo-Iranian St. 12. N.Y. 1928.
– Researches in Manichaeism, with Special Reference to the Turfan Fragments. 38+393 p. Indo-Ir. Ser. 13. N.Y. 1932.
– A great number of articles on Avesta, Manichaeism, etc. in JAOS, AJPh, etc.; encyclopedia articles; edited Columbia University Indo-Iranian Series 1-13, 1901-1932.
Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; *S.W. Jaison, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 468; E.D. Perry, JAOS 58, 1938, 221-224, with bibliography by G.C.O. Haas 241-257, and photo; W.W. Malandra, Encyclop. Iranica 14:3, 2007, 318-323 (online 2012); *Prof. J. Mem. Vol. Bombay 1954 (with life by C.J. Ogden, iii-viii); *Nat. Cyclop. of Amer. Biogr. 13, 550; Wikipedia with photo.