POPPE, Nicholas (Nikolai 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 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, 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 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). Married 1923 with Natalija Belolipskaja (d. 1949), two sons, again 1952 with Edith Ziegler.
NP 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. 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.
– 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. 1955; Vergleichende Grammatik der altaischen Sprachen. 1. 1960; Introduction to Altaic Linguistics. 1965; Mongolian Language Handbook. 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 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. Western Washington 1983.
Sources: H. Halén, FUF 51, 1993, 285-289; 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 further references.