Alexander Turyn Papers, 1940-77
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Brief Description: Papers of Alexander Turyn (1900-1981), professor of Classics (1947-1969), professor emeritus (1974-1981), including correspondence (1940-1977), notes, manuscripts, and related material concerning classical writings, and publications. Substantial portions of the collection includes notes taken in European Libraries while researching for his publications and correspondence with book publishers and other professors of the Classics. Principal correspondents include: (1940-1964) C. Diamantopoulos, Aubrey Diller, Werner Jaeger, Paul Lemerle, Gilbert Murray, A.N.L. Munby, D. Agostino Pertusi, Laurence Witten, Gunther Zuntz.
Held at:
University of Illinois Archives
19 Library
1408 W. Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL 61820
Phone: (217) 333-0798
Fax: (217) 333-2868
Email: illiarch [at]
Record Series Number: 15/6/26
Created by: Turyn, Alexander (1900-1981)
Volume: 6.0 cubic feet
Acquired: 04/21/2005.
More information is available at
Arrangement: By subject and alphabetically thereunder.
Biographical Note for Turyn, Alexander (1900-1981) :

Alexander Turyn (1900-1981) was visiting professor (1945-47), professor (1947-69), and professor emeritus (1969-81) of classics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He was a preeminent codicologist and paleographer, who specialized in the textural transmission of the Greek tragedies.

Turyn was born in Warsaw, Poland, on December 26, 1900. He studied classics at the University of Warsaw with Tadeusz Zielinski (1959-1944), earning a Ph.D. in 1923. He then conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Berlin with Wilamowitz (1848-1931) from 1923 to 1925 before accepting a position as instructor of classics at the University of Warsaw (1925-39). Upon the outbreak of WWII in 1939, Turyn left Poland and undertook research at the Vatican Library in Rome, Italy, and, later, in Athens, Greece, ultimately emigrating to the United States in 1941. He worked as a lecturer at the University of Michigan (1941-42) and as associate professor at The New School for Social Research (1942-45) before arriving at UIUC in 1945. Turyn's research interests over the course of his career included codicology, manuscripts, paleography, and the Greek tragedies. Among his publications were "Studies in the Manuscript Tradition of Aeschylus'' (1943), ''Studies in the Manuscript Tradition of the Tragedies of Sophocles'' (1952), and ''The Byzantine Manuscript Tradition of the Tragedies of Euripides'' (1957). He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1959 and research collaborator for the Vatican Library (1960-66). Turyn became a member of the Center for Advanced Studies at UIUC in 1962. He was widely recognized during his lifetime, including with the Golden Cross of the Order of the Phoenix from the Greek Government (1934); corresponding membership to the Polish Academy in Krakow (1946); membership on the Board of Scholars of the Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies (1956-62); membership in Epistemonike Hetaireia of Athens (1957); the Goodwin Award of Merit (1960) from the American Philological Association; a honorary doctorate from the University of Athens (1965); and the Award of Merit from the Alfred Jurzykowski Foundation (1978).

Turyn married Felicia Leontine Sachs in 1926 and together they had a son, Andrew. Turyn became a United States citizen in 1946, and he died in Urbana, Illinois, on August 26, 1981.


"ALEXANDER TURYN, 80, SCHOLAR," August 31, 1981, New York Times, accessed May 20, 2020,

John Viao, "TURYN, Alexander," Database of Classical Scholars, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, accessed May 20, 2020,

Miroslav Marcovich, "Alexander Turyn," Gnomon 54, no. 1 (1982): 97­-98, accessed May 20, 2020,

Wikipedia, s.v. "Alexander Turyn," accessed May 20 2020,

Access Restrictions: None.
Subject Index
Classics Department
Faculty Papers
Genres/Forms of Material
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
French [fre]
Italian [ita]
Greek,Ancient(to1453) [grc]
Latin [lat]
German [ger]
Polish [pol]