Leichty: “We have forty thousand of these things here”

The Agade list reports the passing Monday night of Dr. Erle Verdun Leichty (1933-2016), Emeritus Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Assyriology) at the University of Pennsylvania.

The announcement says,

In 2006, a number of colleagues and students banded together to produce “If a Man Builds a Joyful House. Assyriological Studies in Honor of Erle Verdun Leichty” (Brill). This volume is available for download at < http://tinyurl.com/zgdf9pb>. In it, his Penn colleague Barry Eichler tells about “Cuneiform Studies at Penn: From Hilprecht to Leichty,” where can also be found details on Leichty’s fine career and contributions.

I did not know Dr. Leichty, but did have a chance meeting with him at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in 2004. I was looking for a particular ancient document and inquired of the staff. They could not provide the answer but said that Dr. Leichty might be able to help me. When I arrived at the research area where the cuneiform tablets were kept, Dr. Leichty cheerfully left the work he was doing and spent some time with me. He said the document was not in their collection. He told me about the dictionary he was working on.

Dr. Erle Leichty showing the cuneiform tablets at the University of Pennsylvania. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Dr. Erle Leichty showing the cuneiform tablets at the University of Pennsylvania. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

What impressed me that day was that Erle Leichty cheerfully took time to answer a question from an unknown. As I was leaving the research lab we passed the cabinets where some of the cuneiform tablets were stored. He pulled open one of the drawers and picked up one of the tablets. He said, “We have forty thousand of these things here.”

I have forgotten what document I was looking for, but I have not forgotten that pleasant meeting with Erle Leichty. That was a nice day.

4 responses to “Leichty: “We have forty thousand of these things here”

  1. Mr. Jenkins! What a heart-warming post! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Hi Ferrell,

    Thanks again for sharing your bit of news. It has been a lot of years since we were freshmen at Florida College. I still return annually for the FC Lectures. My wife Jackie and I enjoy seeing you and your wife. I am working on birthday 81 and looking for 82. I have heart surgery in my immediate future, scheduled for October 4, 2016.

    Please keep me in your prayers. If all goes well I will hope to see you again in 2017.

    Robert E. Bennett, FC class of 1957.

    On Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 10:40 PM, Ferrell’s Travel Blog wrote:

    > ferrelljenkins posted: “The Agade list reports the passing Monday night of > Dr. Erle Verdun Leichty (1933-2016), Emeritus Professor of Asian and Middle > Eastern Studies (Assyriology) at the University of Pennsylvania. The > announcement says, In 2006, a number of colleagues and ” >

  3. Trust the Lord grants a speedy recovery. I am looking at 81.

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