The American Numismatic Society is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Jere L. Bacharach on April 9, 2023. Dr. Bacharach was a long-time member of the Board of Trustees, and an invaluable scholar of the numismatic community and Middle Eastern studies.
Dr. Bacharach was born in 1938 in New York. He received his B.A. from Trinity College in 1960, his M.A. from Harvard University in 1962, and his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 1967. As one of the most renowned academics in medieval Islamic history, he taught at the University of Washington for forty years, during which he became Professor Emeritus in the Department of History and the Stanley D. Golub Professor Emeritus of International Studies before his retirement in 2007. He divided his time between Cairo, Egypt, and Seattle, Washington.
In addition to the University of Washington, Dr. Bacharach served as the Director of the American Research Center in Egypt from 2002-2003, and was involved in other projects with the American Research Institute in Syria, the International Society for Iranian Studies, the Historians of Islamic Art and the Middle East Medievalists. He was motivated to connect people and cultivate relationships – as the 2004 recipient and namesake of the Jere L. Bacharach Service Award by the Middle East Studies Association, he was lauded for forging partnerships with many institutions worldwide, making it a priority to engage and publish with scholars in Egypt. Dr. Bacharach cared deeply for his colleagues and students, as he was honored with the 2015 Mentoring Award by the Middle East Studies Association.
Dr. Bacharach joined the Board of Trustees of the American Numismatic Society in 1993, then called the Council, and was active until his death with only a brief hiatus from 2001-2005. With his distinguished academic career and passion for supporting the Society, he was a Fellow since 1980 and a member of the Society for over fifty-six years. Among many acts of service for the Society, Dr. Bacharach was active as the Chair of the Personnel Committee and the Archer M. Huntington Award Committee, and on the editorial board of the American Journal of Numismatics. He inspired many students through his lectures for several ANS Graduate Summer Seminars and ANS Money Talks.
In collaboration with the ANS and Dr. Sherif Anwar of Cairo University, Dr. Bacharach oversaw the debut of Dar al-Kutub, a digital publication and database of the non-hoard numismatic collection of the Egyptian National Library of more than 6,500 objects, to which he brought his extensive experience on Medieval Islamic coinage. He published prolifically on Islamic numismatics and history, with more than sixty volumes including Islamic History through Coins: An Analysis and Catalogue of Tenth Century Ikhshidid Coins (2006), The Restoration and Conservation of Islamic Monuments in Egypt (1995), and A Middle East Studies Handbook (1984).
Dr. Bacharach was a tireless advocate of the ANS, and supported the Society through his time as a preeminent numismatic scholar, donations to the collection, and his thoughtful expertise. As ANS President Ute Wartenberg Kagan recounts, “Jere was fully committed to our organization, and his service and hard work were exemplary. He was always ready to help students, colleagues, at times total strangers. Most importantly, he was a dear friend of many of us at the ANS. His death leaves a huge void.”
Between his commitment to the numismatic community through his research and the bridges that he built between so many institutions and individuals, Dr. Bacharach leaves behind a profound legacy. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and all those who had the opportunity to know and work with him.
This article was first published in the ANS blog Pocket Change.
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