Lybyer, Albert Howe (1876-1949) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Lybyer, Albert Howe (1876-1949)

Historical Note:

Albert Howe Lybyer (1876-1949) was associate professor (1913-16); professor (1916-44); and professor emeritus (1944-49) of history at the University of Illinois (UI). He is widely considered a founding scholar of Ottoman studies in the United States (Lowry, 65).

Lybyer was born in Putnamville, Indiana, in 1876. He earned a bachelor's degree from Princeton University (1896) and a master's degree from Princeton Theological Seminary (1899), becoming an ordained Presbyterian minister in 1900. Lybyer then taught at Robert College in Istanbul (1900­-06) and Harvard University (1907-09) before earning a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1909. His dissertation, "The Government of the Ottoman Empire in the Time of Suleiman the Magnificent," was published in 1913 and became an influential early work in the field of Near Eastern studies in the United States. Lybyer taught at Oberlin College (1909-13) before joining the history faculty at the University of Illinois in 1913. Under his leadership, the UI became "the first institution to grant multiple degrees to students working on Ottoman studies in America" (Lowry, 65/66). At the end of WWI, Lybyer served as technical advisor for Colonel Edward House's Inquiry into Peace Terms (August-March 1919); the American Commission to Negotiate Peace (August-March 1919); and the King-Crane Commission on Mandates in Turkey (April-September 1919). Following WWI, the modern history of the Balkans became Lybyer's primary research interest. He later served as trustee for the American College in Sofia, Bulgaria; associate editor and contributor to Current History (1923-30); and president of the New Orient Society of America (1936-39).

Lybyer was active in the Champaign-Urbana chapter of the Progressive Citizens of America. He was married to Clara Lybyer, and he died in 1949.


"Albert H. Lybyer, 72, Taught at Illinois U," New York Times, March 29, 1949, accessed May 21, 2020,

Heath W. Lowry, "The State of the Field: A Retrospective Overview and Assessment of Ottoman Studies in the United States of America and Canada," Turkish Studies Association Bulletin 24, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 65-119, accessed online May 21, 2020,

"Record Series 15/13/22, Lybyer, Albert Howe, Paper, 1876-1949," University Archives PDF (UIUC), accessed May 21, 2020,

Wikipedia, s.v. "Albert Howe Lybyer," accessed May 21, 2020,

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