Ehsan Ollah Yarshater was born in Hamadan, Iran on April 3, 1920. He received a doctorate in 15th-century Persian poetry from the University of Tehran and a second doctorate in ancient Iranian languages from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. In 1958, he became a visiting professor of Indo-Iranian languages and religions at Columbia University. Three years later he was named Columbia's first chairman of Iranian Studies. In 1968, he founded the Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia. He founded and edited the Encyclopedia Iranica, a magnum opus of Iranian history and culture. He started the project in 1972 and retired as the editor in chief in 2017 at the letter K. He was also the editor of a 40-volume translation of the scholar al-Tabari's 10th-century history of the world and the founding editor of a classic multivolume series of Persian literature. He died on September 2, 2018 at the age of 98.