Edwin Smith (Egyptologist)

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Edwin Smith
Edwin Smith (1822-1906) B&W photo of 1847 portrait.JPG
Portrait of Edwin Smith painted 1847 by Francesco Anelli, in the collection of the New-York Historical Society.
Bridgeport, Connecticut
DiedApril 27, 1906(1906-04-27) (aged 83–84)
Occupationdealer and collector of antiquities
Known forEdwin Smith Papyrus

Edwin Smith (1822 – April 27, 1906) was an American dealer and collector of antiquities who gave his name to an Ancient Egyptian medical papyrus, the Edwin Smith Papyrus.


Smith was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut,[1][2] and lived in Egypt during the latter half of the 19th century. In 1862 he came temporarily into possession of a medical papyrus which was sold by its Egyptian owner to Georg Ebers in 1873 and published by Ebers in 1875.[3] It was thus best known as the Ebers Papyrus.

In 1862 he also purchased the papyrus which came to bear his name, from a dealer called Mustapha Aga at Luxor.[4] Smith's knowledge of hieratic was not sufficient to enable him to translate the papyrus, a task which was undertaken by James Henry Breasted, aided by Dr. Arno B. Luckhardt, a professor of physiology, and led to the publication of the translation in 1930.

Edwin Smith died in 1906.


  1. ^ Frederick G. Kilgour Journal of the American Society for Information Science, Volume 44, Issue 5 , Pages 292 - 297, 1993.
  2. ^ Breasted (1922), p.9
  3. ^ Clagett (1995), p.193
  4. ^ Breasted (1922), p. 30


  • Marshall Clagett, Ancient Egyptian Science: A Source Book, vol. II, Calendars, Clocks, and Astronomy, 1995, ISBN 9780871692146.
  • James Henry Breasted (editor), The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus: Hieroglyphic Transliteration, Translation and Commentary, 1922, New-York Historical Society