Published: April 3, 2007
Dr Henry David Ginsburg, an expert on Thai painting and manuscripts, died in New York City on March 29. He was 66.
The son of the late antiques dealers Benjamin and Cora Ginsburg of Tarrytown, N.Y., and the grandson of John Ginsburg, a founder of Ginsburg & Levy Antiques, Henry Ginsburg served in the US Peace Corps in Thailand after his graduation from Columbia College. He earned his doctorate degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Henry Ginsburg moved to London in 1967 and joined The British Library in 1973. Until his retirement, he was curator of Thai and Cambodian collections at the British Library. For a brief period in the mid-1970s, he also taught at the University of California, Berkeley.
“He was the ideal person to expand and to research the library’s holdings of illustrated manuscripts,” said his friend and colleague Hiram W. Woodward, Jr, research curator in Asian art at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.
Henry Ginsburg was the author of Thai Manuscript Painting (London and Honolulu, 1989), a subject on which he was the world’s leading authority. A second important book, Thai Art and Culture: Historic Manuscripts from Western Collections, appeared in 2000. This publication included many manuscripts in other collections, in addition to ones in the British Library. At the time of his death, Ginsburg was working on a book on Thai banner painting.
A man of deep sympathies and wide-ranging talents, Henry Ginsburg was an accomplished pianist and harpsichordist.
He is survived by his brother Carl Ginsburg of Bad Soden, Germany, and his sister Deborah Ginsburg Ramsden of Woodstock, N.Y.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Amnesty International or to Doctors Without Borders.
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