Scholar and advocate of Persian and other Middle Eastern cultures and languages; Linguist; University professor. Born– January 10, 1920, Birmingham. Parents– Nels and Lillie (Hagman) Frye. Married– Barbara York, May 29, 1948. Children– Three. Married–Eden Naby.  Children–two.  Education– University of Illinois, A.B., 1939; Harvard University, M.A., 1940; Ph.D., 1946; post-doctoral study at the University of London, 1946-1947. Served with the U.S. Army Office of Strategic Services, 1941-1945; taught at Harvard as Aga Khan Professor of Iranian, 1957-1990; visiting professor at Frankfurt University, 1958-1959. Lectured in German (Germany), French (Tehran and Paris), Persian (Afghanistan), and Russian (Moscow). Member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, International Orientalist Society, and the Explorers Club of New York.  Awarded emeritus status at Harvard on his retirement in 1990. Died March 27, 2014.


Contemporary Authors online; obituary


The Golden Age of Persia.  Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1975.

The Heritage of Central Asia from Antiquity to the Turkish Expansion.  Markus Wiener Publishers, 1996.

The Heritage of Persia. Cleveland; World Publishing, 1963.

History of Ancient Iran. Munich, W. Germany; C.H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandllung, 1983.

Iran. New York; Holt, 1954.

Islamic Iran and Central Asia (7th-12th centuries). London; Variorum Reprints, 1979.

Medieval Bukhara.  University of Oklahoma Press, 1967.

The Near East and the Great Powers. Cambridge, Mass.; Harvard University Press, 1951.

Opera Minora. Shiraz, Iran; Asia Institute of Pahlavi University, 1976-

The Sasanian Remains of Qas-iAbu Nasr. Harvard University Press, 1973.


History of the Nation of the Archers. Cambridge, Mass.; Harvard University Press, 1952.

Notes on the Pre-Islamic Coinage of Transoxiana. New York; American Numismatic Society, 1949.

The United States and Turkey and Iran. Cambridge, Mass.; Harvard University Press, 1951.


History of Bukhara. Cambridge, Mass.; Medieval Society of America, 1954.

Islam & the West. Cambridge, Mass.; Harvard University Press, 1957.

The Near East and the Great Powers. Cambridge, Mass.; Harvard University Press, 1957.

Neue Methodologie in der Ianistik. Harrassowitz, 1974.

The Parthian and Middle Persian Inscriptions of Dura-Europos. London; Percy Lund, Humphries, 1968.

The Period From the Arab Invasion to the Saljugs. Cambridge, Mass.; University Press, 1975.

Sasanian Seals in the Collection of Mohsen Foroughi. London; Jund Humphries, 1971.


A collection of the papers of Richard Nelson Frye is held by the special collections department at Harvard University libraries.