HIRTH, Friedrich. Gräfentonna (Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha) 16.4.1845 — Munich 9.1.1927. German Sinologist in the U.S.A. Spent 25 years in China, then Professor in New York. Educated at Gotha Gymnasium, in 1865-68 studies of classical philology at Leipzig, Berlin and Greifswald. Ph.D. 1868. Then further studies at Rostock. In 1870-97 served in Chinese Customs Service in different parts of China and Taiwan (in 1878-88 at Stat. dept. in Shanghai). In 1895-97 on a furlough in Munich, where he then settled down. Member of Bavarian A.W. 1897-1902 and 1920-27. Unable to find proper academic position in Germany he moved to the U.S.A. in 1902 and taught in 1902-17 at Columbia University in New York as Professor of Chinese and Head of Department of Chinese. In 1917 retired and returned to Munich, where he lived until his death. Married in 1871, widow 1917. FH was a famous specialist of ancient relations between China and the Western world, who did important pioneer work.
Publications: China and the Roman Orient: Researches into their ancient and medieval relations as represented in Old Chinese records. Shanghsi – Hong Kong 1885 (repr. Chicago 1975).
– “Zur Geschichte des antiken Orienthandels”, Verhandlungen des Gesellschafts für Erdkunde zu Berlin 16, 1889, 46-64; “The Mystery of Fu-lin”, JAOS 30, 1909-10, 1-31 & 33, 1913, 193-208; “Early Chinese notices of East African territories”, JAOS 30, 1909-10, 46-57; “The story of Chang K’ién, China’s pioneer in Western Asia. Text and translation of chapter 123 of Ssï-ma Ts’ién’s Shï-ki”, JAOS 37, 1917, 89-152.
– “Chao Ju-kua, a new source on Medieval Geography”, JRAS 1896, 57-82; “Chao Ju-kua’s Ethnography: Table of contents and Extracts”, JRAS 1896, 477-507; translated: Das Reich Malabar nach Chao Ju-kua. 1895.
– translated with W. W. Rockhill: Chao Ju kua: His Work on the Chinese and Arab Trade in the 12th and 13th centuries, entitled Chu Fan Chï. 1912.
– other works on Sinology.
Sources: *AM Probeband (Fs. Hirth) 1923, ix-xxxxvii (aurobiography) & xlix-lvii (bibliography); *E. Erkes, Art.As. 2, 192?, 218; Who Was Who in America 1; short note in JAOS 47, 1927; Wikipedia with photo (another in German version).