Riggs, Elias

Riggs, Elias

(1810–1901) linguist, missionary; born in New Providence, N.J. His gift for languages emerged by age 11; he eventually made use of seven ancient and 14 modern languages. He graduated from Andover Theological Seminary (1832) and embarked upon an extensive missionary career that took him to Greece (1832–38), Turkey (1838–44), Armenia (1844–53), Constantinople (1853–56), and Turkey (1859–62). He translated the Scriptures into Armenian (1853) and Bulgarian, and worked on a joint translation into the Turkish language (1878). Three of his sons became ministers and ten of his grandchildren became missionaries.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.