Puri Soltani


Puri Soltani was an academic who was a “pioneer of Iranian librarianship”.

Soltani was born in Hamadan. Her father, a prominent constitutionalist lawyer, died while she was a child. Her husband, the poet and newspaper editor, Morteza Keyvan, was executed three months after their wedding, prompting Soltani to leave Iran for several years. After returning to Iran, Soltani founded multiple library organizations, expanded the library system of the University of Tehran, and oversaw the digitization of Iranian national documents. Soltani is credited with modernizing libraries and information science in Iran. She died in Tehran in 2015.

Pouri Soltani, the daughter of Mehdi Soltani Shirazi and Roqayeh Khanom Ha’iri (daughter of Sheikh Abdullah Ha’iri Mazandarani and Amina Khanom Kermanshahi), was born on September 22, 1931. Her father was a lawyer and a follower of Rahmat Ali Shah (Sheikh Abdullah Ha’iri) and moved from Shiraz to Tehran because of him, settling in his lodge. Eventually, he married his eldest daughter, Roqayeh Khanom. They had three sons and four daughters together (Yousef, Mahmoud, Shamsi (Zahra), Hamideh (Badri), Monir, Masoud, and Purandokht (Pouri), who were twins).

Pouri Soltani completed her primary and secondary education in Tehran and became a member of the Iran Girls’ Pioneer Organization at that time. In 1952, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Persian literature from the Faculty of Literature at the University of Tehran and was employed by the Ministry of Culture (current Ministry of Education) that same year, teaching in schools in Sari. Alongside teaching, she was politically active, giving speeches in the city, mainly attended by local political activists. Following the coup d’état of August 19, 1953, it became unsafe for her to stay in Sari; apparently, she was threatened by the Third Force Party. Consequently, she returned to Tehran and resumed teaching in schools there.

On June 16, 1954, Pouri Soltani married Morteza Keyvan, a journalist and literary critic. However, just three months into their marriage, Pouri and her husband were arrested. Morteza Keyvan and nine other army officers were executed on October 19, 1954, on charges of membership in the secret organizations of the Tudeh Party of Iran. In December of that year, Pouri, suffering from illness and psychological pressure, was released from prison.

  • Birthday: August 24, 1931
  • Death: November 7, 2015
  • Birthplace: Hamedan, Hamedan, Iran

Pioneer of Iranian Librarianship

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