Abraham Elijah Harkavy (1835–1919), Russian orientalist, scholar of Jewish history and literature. Harkavy was born in Novogrudok, Belorussia. He studied at Lithuanian yeshivot and at the universities of St. Petersburg, Berlin, and Paris. On his return to Russia in 1870 he began teaching ancient oriental history. The opposition in certain circles to the appointment of a Jew to a university lectureship prompted the Russian government to cancel his post, and he was transferred to the department of Jewish literature and oriental manuscripts at the Imperial Library in St. Petersburg. In 1877 he was made head of that department, remaining in that position for the rest of his life.
Harkavy was esteemed by the czarist regime, and in the 1890s he was awarded a hereditary noble title and made an honorary member of several scientific societies in various countries. He was active in the Jewish community of St. Petersburg as the gabbai of the central synagogue and as a member of Mefizei Haskalah be-Yisrael and Mekizei Nirdamim societies. A listing of his entire work through 1907, including 392 titles, was published by D. Magid with corrections and supplements by S. A. Poznanski in a Festschrift published on the occasion of Harkavy's 70th birthday, Zikkaron le-Avraham Eliyahu (1908).