Louis Dupree (professor)

Louis Dupree (August 23, 1925 – March 21, 1989) was an American archaeologist, anthropologist, and scholar of Afghan culture and history. He was the husband of Nancy Hatch Dupree, who was the Board Director of the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University in Afghanistan and author of five books about Afghanistan. The husband and wife team from the United States worked together for 15 years in Kabul, collecting as many works written about Afghanistan as they could. They travelled across the country from 1962 until the 1979 Soviet intervention, conducting archaeological excavations.

Louis Dupree
Born(1925-08-23)August 23, 1925
Greenville, North Carolina
DiedMarch 21, 1989(1989-03-21) (aged 63)
Durham, North Carolina
SpouseNancy Dupree (1966–1989; his death)
Academic background
EducationHarvard University
Academic work
DisciplineArchaeology and anthropology
Sub-disciplineAfghan culture and history
Notable worksAfghanistan
WebsiteProfessor Louis Duprée

Early life and careersEdit

Dupree was born on August 23, 1925, in Greenville, North Carolina. He left Greenville High School around 1943 without graduating to serve in World War II,[1] where he joined the United States Merchant Marine and was stationed in the Philippines. At the end of the war he decided to transfer to the 11th Airborne Division of the United States Army. When World War II ended, he began Asian archeology and ethnology studies at Harvard University. After receiving his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees, he planned to re-visit the Philippines for research purposes but was rejected by its government, instead he was invited to join an archeological survey in Afghanistan in 1949. This led to his lifelong interest in southwestern Asia, from 1959 and 1983.[2]

Dupree taught at the following universities:

During his career, Dupree also served as adviser to several governments, including those of West Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, and Great Britain. He consulted with the United States Department of State and the United Nations. As an affiliate of the American Universities Field Staff (AUFS), he was their expert on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He and his wife were often seen driving in a four-wheel-drive Land Rover truck in Afghan cities. After the April 1978 Saur Revolution in Afghanistan, Dupree was arrested and deported from the country. He moved back to the United States but often visited neighboring Pakistan to monitor the Soviet–Afghan War. He has worked with the mujahideen forces who were fighting the Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan. He spent time in Peshawar, Pakistan, along with his wife, assisting Afghan refugees. He had previously stayed in Pakistan as a Fulbright Scholar and as an advisor on Afghan affairs to the US ambassador in Pakistan.[3][4]


Dupree died of lung cancer on March 21, 1989, at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, just a month after the last Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan.[4][5]


  • Afghanistan (1973)
  • An Historical Guide to Afghanistan (1972)
  • An Historical Guide to Kabul
  • A Guide to the National Museum


  1. ^ "Louis Dupree papers, 1943-1989 and undated". Duke University Libraries. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  2. ^ Edwards, David B. (December 15, 1996). "DUPREE, LOUIS". Encyclopædia Iranica Online Version. Retrieved 2011-07-11.
  3. ^ Grandmother of Afghanistan' Nancy Hatch Dupree says it may be time to move on[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b "Obituary: Louis Dupree, 1925–1989". Central Asian Survey. 8: 1–2. 1989. doi:10.1080/02634938908400678.
  5. ^ Narvaez, Alfonso A. (23 March 1989). "Louis Dupree, 63, Anthropologist And Expert on Afghanistan, Dies". New York Times. Retrieved September 15, 2021.

External linksEdit