Dr. Solomon I. Bayevsky was born in 1923 in Mogilev, Belarus, to Isaak Zelikhovich Bayevsky, engraver, and Mera Solomonovna Bayevsky, nee Pevzner, librarian. His father passed away in 1933. In 1935 his mother with 12 year old Solomon moved to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), where young Solomon received his schooling. While a student at an elementary school he joint a history study group in Hermitage museum. Studies in this world famous museum stimulated his interests in Persian artifacts, art and culture.
Immediately after graduation from the high school in 1941 with the break of Great Patriotic War he joint a military academy. After a graduation from the infantry school as a lieutenant, he fought at the Stalingrad battle in the 51st Army as a commander of infantry platoon, commander of cavalry reconnaissance party, adjutant of regiment commander. He has been awarded many decorations for bravery by Soviet government. On January 7, 1943 he was wounded and as a result of this lost ability to use his right arm.
He was hospitalized in several military hospitals, the last one in Ufa, Bashkiria. In the summer of 1943 he was discharged from the army on the 2nd group of disability. In September 1943 he was accepted to the department of history in the Bashkirian Pedagogical Institute. After a year he transferred to Moscow State University and then in 1946 to Leningrad University. While in Moscow he began to study Persian language with M.N. Bogolyubov (later Professor, Dean of Oriental Studies Faculty in Leningrad University and member of Russian Academy of Sciences). In 1946 he got transfer to the Oriental Faculty of Leningrad State University following his teacher M.N. Bogolyubov. He continued his studies with Professors M.N. Bogolyubov and A.A. Freiman, (corresponding member of Academy of Sciences of the USSR and patriarch teacher of Russian Iranists). The last one has played major role in Bayevsky's education and later employment. In 1948 S.I. Bayevsky won the highest award for academic excellence of students in universities.
He graduated in 1949 and immediately was accepted into aspirantura (preparation to the academic degree of Candidate of Sciences—a Russian equivalent of a Ph.D.) under the guidance of Freiman who was by this time the chair of the Department of Persian. In 1954 he completed dissertation under M.N.Bogolyubov's guidance after the retirement of A.A.Freiman. Unable to secure an academic appointment, he lived on small disability pension. In 1955 he gave lessons in Persian in the Department of Persian of Leningrad State University.
In 1956 he was accepted as a junior fellow in the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of the USSR, Leningrad Branch, by a famous Orientalist, J.A. Orbeli, then director of the Institute. S.I. Bayevsky personally presented his plan of description of the Persian manuscripts to J.A. Orbeli. Over the next 12 years he cataloged the manuscripts of Persian lexicographical contents and published the catalogs, one volume in 1962 (see below no. 3), another in 1968 (see below no, 4).
In 1971 he was promoted and hold title “senior research worker” in which capacity he worked until his emigration from Russia in 1993. The activities of a research fellow in the Institute included much more than working on his own project (e.g. writing peer reviews and evaluations, working in committees, participating in editorial and publication activities, etc.) It is appropriate to mention that this Institute, former Imperial Asiatic Museum, was the best institution devoted to Oriental Studies in Russia from its foundation in 1818 to the present, a great depository of Oriental manuscripts, primary sources and modern research publications as well as the institution which employed cohorts of dedicated and talented researchers.
S.I. Bayevsky spent much of the rest of his career in the Institute, studying mostly the history of Persian lexicography and describing collections of Persian and Tajik manuscripts. In the process of his research he discovered, identified and described a number of unknown or unidentified Persian dictionaries (farhangs) and demonstrated their importance in the history of Persian lexicography. For example, in 1965 in Tashkent he discovered the text of the dictionary Farhang-i zq/anguya va djahanpuya (nos. 5, 13, 14, 17, 21, 24, 44, 46, 65), which considered to be lost, in 1969 he discovered the second manuscript of dictionary Meyar-e jamali, by Sams-i Fakhri (no. 8) and text of the same dictionary in the Persian lithography of 1856 (nos. 19 and 29). His edition of the dictionary Farhang-i zafanguya va djahanpuya (no. 5) attracted attention of not only Iranists (see reviews cited under no. 5), but also of Turkologists, who used part VII of this dictionary to discuss Old Turkic lexics.
S.I. Bayevsky's work also caught the attention of Indian Iranists. First, because the dictionary was compiled in India, and second because besides Tashkent manuscript discovered by Bayevsky in 1964 and two other manuscripts discovered by him in Iran and Germany, there was an additional manuscript of the same work in India. An Indian Iranist Nazir Ahmad used Bayevsky's edition for his later edition, and the Indian manuscript helped to improve the text of the dictionary in comparison to Bayevsky's text. However the edition of the critical text would have been impossible without Bayevsky's philological work.
Bayevsky also translated a number of Persian literary works. He held research positions at the Institute of Oriental Studies for almost 40 years. His wife of 50 years Z.N. Vorozheikina is a known scholar of Persian literature in her own right, and Bayevsky wrote some of his works in close collaboration with his spouse (nos. 18, 22, 26, 43, 71-74).
In January, 1993 S.I. Bayevsky migrated to the United States with his family and settled in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. There he enjoys his status as a retired scholar, still contributing his articles to Encyclopaedia Iranica, as well to some American and European journals. The number of his entries in the ongoing project of the Encyclopaedia Iranica is rather substantial, and he still receives new assignments as the project progresses.
In the USA Dr. S.I. Bayevsky maintains membership in the Societas Iranologica Europea since 1991 and a member of the American Oriental Society. He is also a member of the Middle Eastern Studies Association of America. He delivered a lecture to the conference of the Societas Iranologica Europea in Bamberg, Germany, 1991 (no. 45).
The Library of Congress in Washington has listed Bayevsky's works under the name Solomon Baevskh or Solomon I. Baevskij, while Iranian publications quote his name as Bayafski. Bayevsky's Lebenswerk, a fundamental monograph Early Persian Lexicography of the 11th—15th Centuries (no. 6) is still the only monograph on the subject. Soon this work will be published in unabridged English translation of Nataly Kollian.
His catalogs of Persian manuscripts (nos. 3 and 4) are used widely. His scholarly edition of Badr al-Din Ibrahim. Farhang-e zafan-guya (no. 5) was the first edition of this important lexicographic work. Although Dr. Bayevsky's writings were written predominantly in Russian (the language which not often studied by Western scholars), they are well known to the scholarly community in Europe, America Iran, and India. A few of his works were translated into English and Persian.
By HAYIM Y. SHEYNIN
Бадр ад-дин Ибрахим. Фарханг-и зафангуйа ва джаханпуйа (Словарь говорящий и мир изучающий). Факсимиле рукописи. Издание текста, введение, список толкуемых слов, приложения С.И.Баевского. Ответственный редактор А.Г.Тагирджанов. М.: Издательство «Наука» Главная редакция восточной литературы, 1974 (ППВ XLVI)
Азиатский музей - Ленинградское отделение Института востоковедения АН СССР / Редакционная коллегия: А.П.Базиянц, Д.Е.Бертельс (отв. секретарь), Б.Г.Гафуров, А.Н.Кононов (председатель), Е.И.Кычанов, И.М.Оранский, Ю.А.Петросян, Э.Н.Тёмкин, О.Л.Фишман, А.Б.Халидов, И.Ш.Шифман. М.: «Наука», 1972.
Баевский С.И. Описание персидских и таджикских рукописей Института народов Азии. Выпуск 5. Двуязычные словари. [Ответственный редактор А.Н.Болдырев] М.: ГРВЛ, 1968.
Баевский С.И. Описание персидских и таджикских рукописей Института народов Азии. Выпуск 4. Персидские толковые словари (фарханги). М.: ИВЛ, 1962