SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 11, 2013

Armenian books on display at Pingree School

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — To highlight its new exchange program with a school in Armenia, Pingree School in Hamilton is hosting a number of exhibits, including a collection of books on Armenian subjects.

The collection belongs to Beverly resident John Soursourian, whose wife, Judith Klein, is director of communications and marketing at Pingree.

Soursourian, whose father came to America from the town of Kharpert at the age of 8, has loaned works in English by contemporary Armenian-American novelists Peter Balakian and Carol Edgarian.

There is also a copy of the memoirs of Henry Morgenthau, American ambassador to Turkey from 1913 to 1916, describing the genocidal holocaust in which 1.5 million Armenians were murdered by Turks.

These events are treated in another book in the collection, a textbook published by the nonprofit organization Facing History and Ourselves, which helps students address the topic of genocide.

There are titles in Armenian, a language with a unique script that uses a 36-letter alphabet that was codified in 404 A.D. by St. Mesrob.

There are also books documenting Armenians’ experience as immigrants, including “The Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem” and “The Armenian People of Portland, Maine,” a collection of photographs.

“Our Boys,” which collects photographs of Armenian veterans who served in World War II, was published by the Armenian General Benevolent Union of America.

“It shows the pride,” Klein said. “We’re Americans first.”

The display also includes “The Whole Armenian Catalog,” published in 1974 by the Armenian Student Association of America, which parodies “The Whole Earth Catalog,” a popular resource for the counterculture.

Photographs of life in Armenia before 1915, which come from Project SAVE Armenian Photographic Archives in Watertown, are also on display in the library. Visitors are asked to check in with the school’s main office, Klein said.