Ahmed Vâsıf Efendi (ca. 1730-1806) was born in Baghdad and, after working with several private libraries of local magnates, he served as secretary of the serasker Abaza Mehmed Paşa. He was captured by the Russians in 1771, during the Hotin campaign. After his liberation he entered state bureaucracy (1772) and played a role in various diplomatic endeavours, including the negotiations for the peace of Küçük Kaynarca. Upon his return to Istanbul, he directed the revival of Müteferrika’s printing press; in 1783 he was appointed vakanüvis (and again in 1789-1791, 1793-1794 and 1799), and then served in various posts, among which being an ambassador to Spain in 1787-1788. In 1805 he became reisülküttab.
Apart from poetry, geography and other minor works, Vasıf’s main work is his court chronicle, Mehâsinü’l-âsâr ve hakâikü’l-ahbâr(“The charms and truths of relics and annals”). He also wrote an account of his embassy to Spain (sefâretnâme); most probably he is also the author of “Sekbanbaşı risalesi”, composed just before his death (see Kemal Beydilli, “Sekbanbaşı risalesinin müellifi hakkında”, Türk kültürü incelemeleri dergisi 12 (2005), 221-24). In an earlier age, his political views were expressed in his Risâle (“Essay”), incorporated in his chronicle (Ahmed Vâsıf Efendi, Mehâsinü’l-âsâr ve hakâikü’l-ahbâr, ed. Mücteba İlgürel, Istanbul 1978, 150-152).