POPPE, Nicholas N. (Nikolaj Nikolaevič, Nikolaus). Chefoo (Chih-fu, now Yantai in Shandong), China 8.8.1897 — Seattle 8.6.1991. Russian Mongolian and Altaic Scholar in the U.S.A. Son of Nikolaj Poppe, a diplomat, of a St. Petersburg family of German origin. Came to Russia in 1904, educated in St. Petersburg. Matriculated in 1916, studied first science and, after brief military service in 1917-18, Mongolian, Turkology and Tibetan at St.Petersburg (under Kotwicz, Rudnev and Vladimircov), graduated 1921. Mag. 1923. Dr. 1934. From 1920 teacher at Institute of Living Oriental Languages and from 1925 Professor of Mongolian at Leningrad University, from 1928 also at Academy Institute. In 1926-29 visited Mongolia yearly, later Buryatia. During the war evacuated in Kalmukia, fell into hands of Germans and came to Berlin. After the war he emigrated to the U.S.A. and became in 1949 Professor of Mongolian at University of Washington in Seattle. Retired in 1968 (and the chair was never filled again). Hon. dr. 1968 Bonn. Married 1923 Natalija Belolipskaja (d. 1949), two sons, again 1952 Edith Ziegler.
Poppe was a long-living and very productive scholar, one of the leading names in his field. His bibliography contains around 50 books, 210 articles and 170 reviews. He was mainly a linguist, but also interested in philology and edited, i. al., some Mongolian Buddhist texts. In linguistics he strongly supported the Altaic theory. Numerous students.
Publications: Much on Mongolian, i.al. Russian grammars of Buryat (1938) and classical Mongolian (1937), on Turcology (Jakut Grammar 1926); numerous editions of folklore and other linguistic materials.
– “Remarks on the Salar Language”, HJAS 16, 1953, 438-477; Tatar Manual: Descriptive Grammar and Texts with a Tatar-English Glossary. 11+271 p. Uralic and Altaic Ser. 43. Bloomington 1963.
– Grammar of Written Mongolian. 195 p. Porta Ling. Or. 1. 1954; grammars of Khalkha (1951) and Buryat (1960), also of Tatar (1963) and Bashkir (1964); Introduction to Mongolian Comparative Studies. 300 p. MSFOu 110. Helsinki 1955; Vergleichende Grammatik der altaischen Sprachen. 1. 188 p. Wb. 1960; Introduction to Altaic Linguistics. 212 p. Ural-alt. Bibl. 16. Wb. 1965; Mongolian Language Handbook. 15+175 p. Washington DC 1970.
– The Mongolian monuments in the hP’ags-pa script. Transl. and prepared by J. Krueger. 2nd ed. 159 p. 12 pl. Gött. Asiat. Forsch. 8. Wb. 1957.
– Edited and translated: The Mongolian version of the Vessantarajātaka. 92 p. St.Or. 30:2. Helsinki 1964; The twelve deeds of Buddha. A Mongolian version of the Lalitavistara. 173 p. 65 facs. As. Forsch. 23. Wb. 1967; The Diamond Sutra. Three Mongolian Versions of the Vajracchedika Prajñaparamita. 234 p. As. Forsch. 35. Wb. 1971.
– Reminiscenses. Ed. by H. Schwartz. 13+331 p. Western Washington 1983.
Sources: H. Halén, FUF 51, 1993, 285-289; G. Kara, AOHu 46, 1992-93, 91f.; M. Weiers, ZASt 24, 1994, 232f. with photo; *CAJ 21, 1977, 177-192 (with photo); *Bibliography for 1957-76 CAJ 21, 1977, 161-176; for 1977-82 *CAJ 26, 1982, 161-166; Wikipedia with photo and further references.
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