SALISBURY, Edward Elbridge. Boston, Mass. 6.4.1814 — New Haven, Conn. 5.2.1901. U.S. Indologist and Oriental Scholar. Professor in New Haven. Son of Josiah S. and Abigail Breese, a learned American family. Educated by his father, then at Boston Latin School. Studies ofGreek and Hebrew atYale, graduated 1832. After one year of private studies and three years at theological seminary in New Haven he went to Europe in 1836 and continued his studies at Berlin under Bopp and Paris under Silvestre de Sacy and Garçin de Tassy. From 1841 Professor of Arabic and Sanskrit at Yale, without salary, and went again to Europe to deepen his knowledge at Bonn (Lassen) and Paris (Burnouf). In 1843 he started teaching. In 1854 left Sanskrit to his student Whitney and continued two years longer as Professor of Arabic. In 1857 again in Europe, this time as a wealthy private scholar. Gradually he donated funds for a full chair of Sanskrit at Yale. LL.D. 1869 Yale, 1886 Harvard. From 1863 President of A.O.S. Married 1836 Abigail Phillips (d. 1869), one daughter, again 1871 Evelyn MacCurdy.
In Indology Salisbury was the pioneer in the U.S.A. He did not pursue original studies, but wrote good summaries of work done by others. His only real students in Sanskrit were Whitney and J. Hadley. In Arabic he was more vigorous, but his published work remained modest. He did important work in organizing the A.O.S. (its President 1863-66, 1873-80). His further interests included art and genealogy.
Publications: Inaugural Discourse on Arabic and Sanskrit literature. 1843.
– “Memoir on the History of Buddhism”, JAOS 1, 1849, 79-135; “M. Burnouf on the History of Buddhism in India”, ibid. 275-298; review of Lassen’s Ind. Alterthumskunde, ibid. 299-316; “On the identification of the signs of the Persian Cuneiform Alphabet”, ibid. 517-558.
– “Translation of two unpublished Arabic Documents relating to the Doctrines of the Ismâ’ilīsa and other Bâṭinian sects”, JAOS 2, 1851, 257-324; “Science in Moslem tradition”, JAOS 1861; “Materials for the History of the Muhammadan Doctrine of Predestination and Free Will”, JAOS 8, 1866, 105-182.
– “On the genuiness of the so-called Nestorian Monument of Singan-Fu”, JAOS 3, 1853, 399-419.
– Family Memorials. 1886; Family Histories and Genealogies. 1-7. 1892.
Sources: *S. Insler, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 814; Nat. Cyclop. of Am. Biogr. 11, 1909, 448; E.W. Hopkins, JAOS 22, 1901, 1-6; family details in findagrave-com; briefly Wikipedia with photo; https://salisbury175.yale.edu/news/yale-marks-175th-anniversary-arabic-and-islamic-studies-exhibit-public-events also with photo.
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