Vera Saeedpour, who started the first library and museum in the United States dedicated to the Kurds, an ancient people scattered in Iraq, Iran, and Turkey, has died. She was 80.
Mrs. Saeedpour was divorced from her first husband, Marcel Beaudin, and had moved to Harlem to attend Columbia University Teachers College, where she earned a Ph.D. in 1976, when she met Homayoun Saeedpour, who lived in a neighboring building.
They fell in love and married, and she learned about the plight of his oppressed people, a story she said later resonated with her given her Jewish heritage.
When her husband died five years later, she established the Kurdish program, and soon scholars, journalists, government officials, homesick Kurds, and the just plain curious were beating a path to the door of her Brooklyn home.
Mrs. Saeedpour died May 30 in Schenectady, N.Y., not far from the Victorian house she had recently moved into in Fort Plain. Her daughter, Rebecca Beaudin, said her mother died of a heart attack.
Mrs. Saeedpour had planned to move her library and museum to her new home, but now the fate of her collection - 2,000 texts in Kurdish and other languages as well as artifacts, costumes, ancient maps, and artworks - is uncertain. So is the future of the two journals about Kurdish concerns she started, edited, and published.
She was born Vera Marion Fine on March 27, 1930, in Barre, Vt., where her father made a living collecting and selling scrap rags and metal.
- N.Y. Times News Service