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American Historian Nancy Dupree Dies In Kabul At Age 89

Afghanistan -- Nancy Hatch Dupree works at the Afghanistan Center, Kabul University, June 6, 2015

BY RFE/RL's Radio Maashal

KABUL -- An American historian who spent decades in working Afghanistan to preserve the heritage of the war-torn country has died in Kabul at the age of 89.

An Afghan government statement on September 10 said historian Nancy Hatch Dupree died overnight. The statement did not specify the cause or the precise time of her death.

A statement from the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University said Dupree died an “illness,” calling her “the honorary ‘grandmother of Afghanistan’.”

Dupree first arrived in Kabul in 1962 as the wife of a U.S. diplomat.

She later married the archaeologist and anthropologist Louis Dupree and lived for decades in Afghanistan.

She spent much of her life collecting and documenting historical artifacts – amassing a large collection of books, maps, photographs, and rare recordings of Afghan folk music that is now housed at Kabul University.

She raised millions of dollars for the Afghan Center at Kabul University, where she worked to create an extensive library that can be accessed electronically from universities in Herat, Kandahar, Jalalabad, and Mazar-e Sharif.

She also created a mobile library program that brought thousands of books in Pashto and Dari to rural communities across the country.

The books in that program often were transported on the backs of donkeys.

Hundreds of Afghans on September 10 posted condolences on social media.

With reporting by AP