New Publication by ISAW Professor Dan Potts on Albert Houtum Schindler: A Remarkable Polymath in Late-Qajar Iran

By Iris Fernandez

In August Professor Dan Potts  published a biography of Albert Houtum Schindler, a person whose name crops up frequently in literature on Iran concerning everything from geography and geology to numismatics and archaeology.

Widely regarded in his lifetime as the greatest living authority on all things Iranian, across an enormous range of disciplines, Albert Houtum Schindler lived and worked in Iran from 1868 to 1911. All who either met or corresponded with him came away praising his extraordinary fund of information and insight. A member of numerous learned societies in Europe, he sustained a wide web of intellectual contacts and was insatiably curious. As an employee of the Indo-European Telegraph Department, the Imperial Bank of Persia and the Persian Bank Mining Rights Corporation, he experienced firsthand the ups and downs of Iran’s slow but inexorable movement towards modernity. Yet when he died in 1916 his obituaries were frustratingly brief. Private when it came to the details of his personal life, Albert Houtum Schindler gave little away.

Albert Houtum Schindler: A Remarkable Polymath in Late-Qajar Iran is the first full-scale examination of the life and legacy of an extraordinary witness to the late Qajar period and the land, people and history of Iran.