STANFORD — The microfilming staff at Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace recently came across an unmarked box of microfilm that presented them with difficulty: a copy of a newspaper from World War I published in the Armenian script. To help transliterate the title, the Hoover librarian turned to Behzad Allahyar, principal Middle East languages cataloger for Stanford University Libraries; he in turn sought help from Nora Avetyan, the librarian for Armenian and Persian at UCLA. With the help of those two colleagues, the Institute had enough information to identify and catalog this publication, as well as realizing that no other copies appear to be available. “We are proud that the Hoover Library has again added an item unique to its collection”. Stated the Institute in a press release.
The newspaper, entitled Zang, was produced by the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party, founded in Switzerland in 1887 by Armenians hoping to establish an independent Armenia free from the Ottoman Empire. (It also may have been the first socialist political party in the Ottoman Empire.)
The issues available on microfilm span the years from 1919 to 1922, the period when the short-lived First Republic of Armenia was established in the wake of the Russian Revolution before being incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1922 (1920 MP).
This is an important source for any scholar researching Armenian history and political institutions, the First Armenian Republic, the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, or the early history of the Soviet Union.