Stepan Dedeyan (c. 1827-1906) and Dikran-Haroutiun Dedeyan (1832-1868)

The Dedeyan Publishing House of Smyrna, 1853-1892

Author: Jennifer Manoukian 12/08/21 (Last modified 12/08/21)


In December 1868, a 36-year-old man lay dying in the city of Smyrna. [1] Fifteen years of near-constant work as a translator and writer, typesetter and proofreader, press manager and publisher had finally caught up to him. This man—Dikran-Haroutiun Dedeyan—had poured all of his efforts into his publishing house. He was the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night; not even the cholera epidemic of 1865 kept him from coming to work each day. [2] “He didn’t know how to take a break,” a friend recalled. “For him there was no other diversion, no other source of enjoyment. His entire world was inside his publishing house.” [3] But the more the publishing house grew, flourished and prospered, the more emaciated, jaundiced and exhausted Dikran-Haroutiun became. “Do you know what upsets me most?” he reportedly said on his deathbed, a stack of proofs in his lap and a pen between his fingers. “Do you see this money? ... I have gotten the work to a point where almost every week sums like these regularly arrive from Constantinople, Tiflis, Erzurum, Jerusalem and elsewhere. And in this thriving state of the press, I am leaving it behind.” [4]

When Dedeyan opened his publishing house in 1853, this kind of commercial success had been far from guaranteed. Armenian publishing was not new to Smyrna or to the rest of the Ottoman Empire, but there were a series of social impediments to success. The vast majority of the Armenian population was illiterate; schools that would have facilitated the spread of literacy were few and far between; and the centuries-old preconception that only the clergy should be able to read had only just started to be challenged. Having had access to formal education and having gained literacy in multiple languages, intellectuals like Dedeyan and his like-minded contemporaries were relatively rare among the Ottoman Armenian population and were concentrated in the coastal cities of Smyrna and Constantinople. Their influence, however, was far-reaching, and they used the printed word to implicitly and explicitly advocate for the importance of mass literacy, the spread of information and the creation of a dynamic national public sphere. The Dedeyan Publishing House, which operated between 1853 and 1892, is a prime example of an institution that held these convictions. In this article, I will examine how the Dedeyan Publishing House used its publications to both educate Ottoman Armenians about the world beyond their imperial borders and instill in them a sense of belonging to an Armenian national community.

This mission was connected to the broader mid-nineteenth-century view that the spread of reading, education and information among Armenians would lead to “national progress” (ազգային յառաջադիմութիւն), a multifaceted ideal that predominated among a segment of the Ottoman Armenian intelligentsia at the time. [5] The epitome of progress for Dedeyan and many of his contemporaries was Western Europe, which they saw as offering the ultimate socio-cultural model to follow in remaking their own society. [6] Though this worldview was undeniably Eurocentric, it is important to recognize the agency of Armenian intellectuals in this social engineering project. They did not uncritically mimic Western Europeans in every regard. Instead, they selected aspects of Western European social, political and intellectual culture that they thought could benefit Ottoman Armenians, rejecting others that they deemed harmful or otherwise unsuitable. The focus on spreading knowledge and expanding popular participation in public life through reading were considered some of the very best aspects of Western European collective culture and were thus adopted and adapted to the Ottoman Armenian context. In this process of adoption and adaptation, few mechanisms were as essential as the publishing house. [7]

The Establishment of the Dedeyan Publishing House

The Dedeyan Publishing House was founded in 1853 by 21-year-old Dikran-Haroutiun Dedeyan. It was located at 50 Reshidiye Street, a main artery of the Armenian quarter in Smyrna. [8]

Dikran-Haroutiun was born in Smyrna in 1832 to Marie Margossian Azadentz (c. 1797-c. 1875) and Hovhannes Dedeyan (c. 1795-c. 1878), who made his living as an exporter of agricultural products from the Ottoman Empire to Europe. [9] As a boy, he attended the city’s Mesrobian School at the height of its prominence under the directorship of Roupen Andreas Papazian. [10] A poet and translator, Papazian made the study of European languages one of the school’s pillars, educating many of the young men who would later become affiliated with the Dedeyan Publishing House as writers, translators and newspaper editors. [11]

It was with the encouragement of Papazian and the financial support of his father and two brothers—Aram-Garabed (c. 1824-1901) [12] and Stepan (c. 1827-1906) [13]—that Dikran-Haroutiun was able to establish his publishing house at such a young age. [14] Before opening for business, Dikran-Haroutiun needed to acquire printing technologies from different parts of the world. Sources conflict over whether the printing press itself came from the United States or France, but his many Armenian fonts were undoubtedly ordered from Venice, Vienna, Paris and Constantinople. [15] As the images below show, the Dedeyan Publishing House made use of a variety of simple and ornate typefaces, distinguishing their publications from others of the period. After all the parts were acquired and the press began operating, the publishing house was credited for giving Smyrnan Armenian writers the opportunity to print their unpublished work and was seen as having encouraged others to pick up their pens for the first time, fueling a more dynamic and diversified intellectual culture among Armenians in the city. [16]

Below I classify the major types of publications produced by the Dedeyan Publishing House, highlighting certain materials that give us insight into the press’s role as a disseminator of knowledge and as an architect of national cohesion. While works in Classical Armenian and Armeno-Turkish (Turkish written in Armenian letters) are indeed represented in this body of work, the overwhelming majority of its publications were written in an early form of Western Armenian. Many of the press’s publications have been digitized and made freely accessible online by the National Library of Armenia and other institutions worldwide. I have included links to all the digitized copies available as of May 2021. An ever-expanding list of Dedeyan Publishing House books digitized by the National Library of Armenia, including many I do not discuss in this article, can be found here.


The Dedeyan Publishing House printed several monthly, bi-monthly and tri-monthly periodicals, some short-lived, others long-running. Though each had its own editor and thematic focus, all their periodicals were united by a shared goal of at once facilitating the spread of information among Ottoman Armenians and stirring a sense of national consciousness. For historians, these periodicals are a rare window into the kinds of issues on the minds of editors and readers. They also show the extent to which editors were in dialogue with their counterparts in other cities, republishing, discussing and debating articles in Armenian periodicals published in Venice, Constantinople, Moscow and elsewhere.

These periodicals reached readers in different parts of the Empire and beyond. For example, the editor of Dzaghig, one of the newspapers featured below, printed letters-to-the-editor from Smyrna, Constantinople, Aleppo, Belen, Kayseri, Manisa, Adana, Mersine, New York, Alexandria and Cairo, among other far-flung locales. Despite their geographic reach, editors often complained about low subscription rates and readers receiving issues without paying their subscription fees. In these periodicals, it is not uncommon to see editors pleading with their readers to send the money they owe, their tone becoming harsher and harsher as the months passed. [17]

Below are brief looks at three of the press’s periodicals, accompanied by selections of articles that offer a glimpse into the kinds of ideas that were circulating among Armenian readers in Smyrna and beyond in the 1850s and 1860s.

Arpi Araradian (Արփի արարատեան)

Editors: The Dedeyan Brothers
Years of Publication: 1853-1855 or 1856 [18]

Arpi Araradian was the Dedeyan Publishing House’s first periodical and one of its very first publications of any kind. It was published monthly under the editorship of the Dedeyan brothers.

In addition to their own articles and pieces by established Smyrnan writers, it is noteworthy that the brothers also published the work of students from the local Mesrobian school, welcoming their translations and original compositions. The brothers wrote explicitly about their hope that the periodical would be “an auxiliary to the improvement of the nation”, presumably by exposing its readers to a wide array of topics and issues. [19] It published articles about:

  • Places around the world, including California, Australia, Damascus, and China. Similarly, it featured a short piece about food customs of different cultures around the world (1855, no. 4, pp. 31-32).
  • How the telegraph worked (1854, no. 1, pp. 15-17).
  • The life of Velieddin Rifat Pasha, an Ottoman ambassador to France (1854, no. 4, pp. 42-43). This article was part of the periodical’s series on Ottoman history.
  • The history of Armenia (1854, no. 6, pp. 57-59). This article was a translation from French. It was not unusual at this time for Ottoman Armenians to translate and print information that Europeans had written about them, paradoxically relying on British and French Orientalists to educate them about their own past and present.

Haverjahars (Յաւերժահարս)

Editor: Sarkis Papazian
Length of Publication: January to July 1862

Haverjahars was one of the handful of short-lived periodicals that the Dedeyan Publishing House printed in the early 1860s. [20] It was published between January and July 1862 and included a total of fourteen issues. [21] At the editorial helm was Sarkis Papazian, a figure about whom very little has survived. His articles in this periodical, however, suggest that he was an editor who was keenly aware of and responsive to the varied needs and desires of his readers. Most other periodicals at this time published exclusively in a form of Armenian that was devoid of Turkish borrowings, despite their predominance in many varieties of spoken Armenian. Papazian, however, deliberately included a section in each issue with articles in the spoken language—complete with familiar Turkish borrowings—so that all readers, no matter their educational background, could understand them. [22] He also invited readers to contact him if they could not understand anything published in his newspaper, noting that he was willing to explain the ideas aloud or in writing until they were clear. [23] During its short lifetime, Haverjahars published:

  • A recipe for making inexpensive ink (1862, no. 6, p. 47).
  • An article on the principles of photography (1862, no. 3, pp. 22-23).
  • Aram-Garabed Dedeyan’s serialized translation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (Վենետիկի վաճառականը). Parts of this translation appeared in the first twelve of Haverjahars’s issues. This is one of a great many examples from Smyrna and elsewhere of literary translations into Armenian that were never published in book form, making them difficult for scholars to find.
  • A meditation on two slurs used against Armenians by their Turkish and Greek neighbors: gavur (infidel) and bokji (shit-shoveler) (1862, no. 12, pp. 97-98). The writer reflected on the psychological effects these slurs had had on him as a child, leading him to feel ashamed of being Armenian. An American expatriate noted in the 1830s that bokji was also used to describe Armenians in and around Constantinople, suggesting that the writer’s account may have had resonance beyond Smyrna. [24]

Dzaghig (Ծաղիկ)

Editor: Krikor Chilingirian [25]
Years of Publication: 1861-1867 [26]

Dzaghig was one of the Dedeyan Publishing House’s more enduring periodicals. Known for its reformist politics, it was founded by 22-year-old Krikor Chilingirian, who wrote frankly about the need for fundamental social change among Ottoman Armenians. The primary target of his criticism was the Armenian Apostolic clergy and its lay allies, whose power extended into nearly all aspects of social and political life and whom Chilingirian and his like-minded contemporaries saw as “opposing the spirit of the century”. [27] The clashes between their worldviews are ever-present in the pages of Dzaghig, which was suspended multiple times by order of the powerful figures its editor defied. [28] The selection of articles below are a sampling of the controversial social issues that Chilingirian broached and that the Dedeyan Publishing House dared to print: [29]

  • The Armenian National Constitution was a nearly constant topic of discussion in Dzaghig in the years leading up to its final ratification in 1863 and immediately following it. The articles preceding the ratification show the great promise that the constitution represented for Chilingirian and his contributors, who believed it would curb the power of the clergy, democratize the administration of communal affairs and facilitate the spread of education. The articles after ratification, however, reflect their disappointment at the slow pace of change. This attitude is exemplified in an article by Madteos Mamourian entitled “The National Constitution: What Happened?” (1867, no. 135, pp. 578-580).
  • Girls’ education and the participation of Armenian women in intellectual life were issues of fundamental importance to Chilingirian. For him, national progress could not be achieved if half the population was left illiterate, uneducated and barred by convention from partaking in public life. In addition to publishing about the accomplishments of European women, he welcomed articles, translations and letters-to-the editor by Armenian women, whose perspectives were rarely seen in the press at that time. [30] He also used his periodical to highlight their initiatives. For example, in 1862, we see him celebrate the founding of Gitar, a journal based in Constantinople and edited by Elbis Gesaratsian, who had been widely criticized for her “brazenness” in establishing her own journal. Not only was Gesaratsian not being brazen, Chilingirian argued, but she was performing “an essential duty”. (1862, no. 43, pp. 360).
  • As we will see below, Chilingirian gained renown for his complete translation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, which the Dedeyan Publishing House printed in ten volumes between 1868 and 1870. The publishing house took on this risk even after seeing the ferocious reaction of certain Armenian clergymen to the excerpts of the novel that Chilingirian had published in Dzaghig beginning in November 1863 (no. 64, pp. 10-13). One particularly conservative cleric, Hovhannes Brousatsi Der Garabedian Chamourjian Deroyents, used slander, imprisonment and threats to try to put an end to its publication, considering Hugo’s politics and views on religion to be dangerous for Armenian readers. [31] The tenacity of Chilingirian and the Dedeyan Publishing House to both continue the publication of Les Misérables in Dzaghig and to issue the full translation in book form a few years later illustrate their commitment to offering Ottoman Armenians readers a multiplicity of perspectives and their boldness in expressing ideas unpopular with the powers-that-be.
  • Considering the sustained resistance he encountered from the religious elite, it is likely no surprise that Chilingirian also devoted space in Dzaghig to reflecting on the importance of a free press (1863, no. 66, pp. 26-28).

Non-Fiction as Public Education

The volumes of non-fiction that the Dedeyan Publishing House printed were often akin to the themes explored in its periodicals. One of the most striking examples is Kalousd Gosdantian’s Library of the Public (Հասարակաց թանգարան) series, which was published in 1858. Eighteen-year-old Gosdantian devoted each of his sixteen volumes to short studies of scientific topics, ranging from phrenology, mesmerism, and electricity, to chemistry, astronomy and the laws of motion. Gosdantian wrote that he had deliberately presented the information in a condensed and engaging way to help readers understand and assimilate this new information. [32] “My main goal with this Library,” he noted in his introduction to the first volume, “was … only to give our people all that the (European) educational world gives to its people.” [33] He wrote that he had carefully chosen topics that had not yet been written about substantially in Armenian, hoping that his work would kindle an interest in the sciences among readers. [34] In order to facilitate this diffusion of information, the Dedeyan Publishing House distributed these books to readers free of charge. [35]

In addition to spreading scientific knowledge, the publishing house also printed translated works of non-fiction that helped acquaint readers with world leaders like George Washington, twelve Roman emperors and the French monarchy. Similarly, though linguistically uncharacteristic, it published a bilingual English-Armenian book by Sarkis Mirza Vanantetsi, who made the far-fetched claim that Queen Victoria was a descendant of the Arsacids (Արշակունիք), a dynasty that had ruled the Kingdom of Armenia in the first few centuries of the common era. This volume was presented to the queen in February of 1880 and is still part of the Royal Collection in London today.

Polemical Pamphlets and Other Religiously Themed Texts

The Dedeyan Publishing House was founded at a time of intense religious debate between Catholic Armenians and Apostolic Armenians. Defenses and refutations of each confession’s tenets, leadership and forms of religious practice appeared regularly in newspapers and as pamphlets in many mid-nineteenth-century centers of Armenian printing. In Smyrna, these texts were some of the first to come off the press of the Dedeyan Publishing House, which printed largely anti-Catholic materials. [36] According to a contributor to the publishing house, these pamphlets were quite popular among readers, likely representing a major source of revenue for the press in its early years. [37]

Source: Խթան ընդդէմ լուսաւորչական ազգիս հայոց քրիստոսահիմն եւ առաքելական Ս. Եկեղեցւոյ, Smyrna, Dedeyan Publishing House, 1854.

From the start of Armenian printing in the sixteenth century until the mid-nineteenth century, books for religious training and worship predominated in Armenian print culture. These included prayer books, catechisms, books of hours, hymnals and psalters, among others. We can see the imprint of this longstanding tradition on a handful of the publications of the Dedeyan Publishing House, including an illustrated prayer book published in 1866. The title shows us that this book was intended exclusively for Apostolic Armenians, pointing to the ways printed materials beyond polemical pamphlets may have reflected confessional boundaries.

The Dedeyan Publishing House did not leave behind its desire to expose readers to the world beyond the Ottoman Empire when publishing on religious matters. In 1856, it published a short book in Armeno-Turkish that discussed morning prayer, evening prayer and communion in the United Church of England and Ireland. Though not indicated, it appears to have been a translation of selected chapters from The Daily Services of the United Church of England and Ireland, published in 1849 in Britain.


Many of the publishing house’s other religiously themed books were likely intended to be used as schoolbooks. Armenian education in the Ottoman Empire was largely controlled by religious authorities and, until the late nineteenth century, schoolbooks were mainly limited to religious texts. Two of the Smyrnan Armenians who contributed their work to the press wrote memoirs of their childhoods in which they described classrooms in the 1840s and 1850s that were dominated by rote recitation of religious texts in Classical Armenian, a variety of the language distinct from the one they used in everyday life. [38] In Smyrna and elsewhere in the Empire, teachers had their students practice reading with catechisms, the Book of Psalms and Krikor Naregatsi’s Book of Lamentations, all of which were published by the Dedeyan Publishing House and represent the continuation of longstanding pedagogical methods.

By the 1860s, however, there was a growing interest in reforming teaching methods. The Dedeyan Publishing House was at the forefront of this effort, publishing textbooks of all kinds with an eye to appealing to students. Dikran-Haroutiun himself penned a grammar book, an alphabet primer [39] and a reader with a selection of short passages for young students. In the introduction to his reader, he noted how he had specifically crafted his book to be pleasing to children by including illustrations, using simple language and selecting topics that would interest them, all in hopes that they would learn to read more easily and more quickly. [40] The degree of attentiveness to the ways students learned is illustrative of a larger shift in pedagogical thinking seen among many Ottoman Armenian reformists during this period.

In the 1870s, Madteos Mamourian expanded on Dikran-Haroutiun’s pedagogical work with materials for both elementary and secondary school children. Mamourian was the longtime director (տեսուչ) of the Mesrobian boys’ school and the Hripsimian girls’ school in Smyrna. [41] It was in this capacity, he wrote, that he had seen the need for carefully conceived textbooks for a variety of subjects. [42] With the Dedeyan Publishing House, he published, among others, a book of stories for young students, a new reader and a three-volume series of world history textbooks. With this series in particular, he sought to challenge the dry way history had been taught in many Armenian schools, doing away with the recitation of dates and names to allow students to understand and retain the material. [43]

Additionally, Mamourian—aware of many of the teaching tools and methods used in Europe at the time—adapted French- and English-language textbooks for Armenian use. In particular, he translated Arabella B. Buckley’s A Short History of Natural Science and wrote a guide to Armenian composition based on the methods found in William and Robert Chambers’s Introduction to English Composition. He continued to produce textbooks and other pedagogical resources after breaking ties with the Dedeyan Publishing House and starting his own press in 1883.

Works of Original Literature

When the Dedeyan Publishing House was founded in the middle of the nineteenth century, works of non-religious literature in Armenian were in short supply. This absence was a concern for many Ottoman Armenian intellectuals, who saw the existence of a secular body of literature as an indicator of a nation’s “progress.” [44] Despite a small literate population and an even smaller group with the ability and desire to read literature, the Dedeyan Publishing House took on the financial risk of publishing a series of works of original prose and poetry.

A notable example of this early literary production is Armenag Haigouni’s Էլիզա կամ վերջին արեւելեան պատերազմի ժամանակ տեղի ունեցած իրական դէպ մը (Eliza, or a Real Event that Took Place during the Last Eastern War), published in 1861. This supposedly autobiographical novel recounts a romance between a British woman, Eliza, and Haigouni, who—as he mentions in the novel’s introduction—had worked as an interpreter for British forces during the Crimean War (1853-1856). In later decades, we see the press publish two other original love stories:Տօրա (Dora) by Nshan Mirza of Smyrna and Միրզա եւ Աննա (Mirza and Anna) by V.G. Barkhudaryants of Karabakh.

The Dedeyan Publishing House was also a means by which Russian Armenian literature reached Ottoman Armenian readers. In the mid-nineteenth century, many Ottoman Armenian reformists appear to have been aware of the work of their counterparts in the Russian Empire. It was perhaps due to their shared politics that we see the Dedeyan Publishing House publish a series of poetry collections by the Russian Armenian reformist Gabriel Patkanyan in the mid-1870s. Thematically, these collections dealt with episodes and figures in Armenian history and mythology, likely intended to inspire feelings of national pride and patriotism. Two of these collections were prefaced by the noted clergyman and amateur ethnographer Karekin Servantsdiants. This endorsement suggests that Patkanyan’s work may have been seen as fodder for the new interest in Armenian oral tradition that Servantsdiants had helped to kindle among Ottoman Armenian readers with his own work during this period. Nevertheless, why exactly Patkanyan’s books were published for the first time in the Ottoman Empire rather than in the Russian Empire; why the Dedeyan Publishing House in particular printed them; and what precisely Servantsdiants meant when he thanked Stepan Dedeyan for “freeing” Patkanyan’s work is unclear. [45] Below are the collections that Patkanyan published with the Dedeyan Publishing House:

Անուշաւան (Anoushavan) (1875)
Մահ Պարէտի (Death of Bared) (1875)
Պարոյր կամ առումն Նինուէի (Barouyr, or The Capture of Nineveh) (1876)
Զաւան եւ Փառնակ (Zavan and Parnag) (1877)

Works of Literature in Translation

The Dedeyan Publishing House was best known for its sustained focus on literature in translation. Its more than sixty literary translations—often hefty, multi-volume works—were almost exclusively pieces of European literature that had been cultural sensations in nineteenth-century Europe, particularly in France. Translation had been a mainstay of the press since its earliest years, used to make up for the lack of secular literature in Armenian, to entice Armenians to see reading as an enjoyable pastime and to integrate them into the worldwide cultural conversations taking place around these stories. Although a handful of the translations had initially appeared in serialized form in the newspapers published by the press, the vast majority of its translations made their first appearances in book form, giving them a posterity that newspapers could not offer and allowing them to be found and read decades after publication. Copies of some of these mid-nineteenth-century translations could still be found in bookshops in Constantinople in the 1920s. [46]

This illustration, which accompanied Sarkis D. Kasbarian’s translation of Gulliver’s Travels, was signed by the noted Smyrnan-Armenian engraver and lithographer Boghos Tatikian.

In terms of genre, the corpus of translations was composed of plays and novels intended for a popular audience of readers young and old. The translators’ introductions show us that the press and its translators were discerning in the works they chose and that they prized literature that entertained readers while also leaving them with a moral lesson. In examining their corpus, we see clusters of books by the same authors, most notably Molière, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas. This clustering was likely a strategy used to draw in readers and offer them a substantial part of an author’s oeuvre. For example, in addition to a handful of other works by Dumas, between 1871 and 1875, the press published Madteos Mamourian’s translation of the enormous D’Artagnan Romances trilogy (The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years Later and The Vicomte of Bragelonne), which amounted to a total of 19 volumes. The press also specifically avoided publishing works of European literature that depicted behavior or morals that it deemed inappropriate for Ottoman Armenian readers. [47] In this way, the Dedeyan Publishing House used its literary translations in much the same way it used its other publications: as tools to mold the minds of readers and to instill in them knowledge and values that would facilitate the realization of their particular vision of national progress.

These translations were collaborations between the Dedeyan Publishing House and 25 local literary translators. As literary translators themselves, Dikran-Haroutiun and his brothers valued and understood the demanding task of translation. They encouraged and recognized the work of translators not only by putting their names on the title pages and including their introductions but also by paying them for their work and covering the costs of publication, both of which were uncommon practices at the time. [48] While detailed biographical information for all the translators has not survived, the incomplete information that does exist suggests that the press both commissioned and accepted submissions from men and women from Smyrna who were often in their late teens and twenties when they began translating with the press. Many had attended the Mesrobian or Hripsimian schools and later went on to contribute to Smyrnan Armenian intellectual and cultural life in different ways.

Source: Այտա, trans. Garabed B. Sheriddjian, Smyrna, Dedeyan Publishing House, 1872.

Although the publishing house respected translation as a craft, certain translators described in their introductions how their labor was often dismissed by others. “Some, especially some learned people of repute, think perhaps that translating a book is an easy task, that it is mechanical work, that it is simply a material production,” one translator wrote in 1870. “We do not think this way. Sometimes the translator’s role is almost as difficult as the author’s.” [49] These difficulties often stemmed from linguistic gaps in modern Armenian, which in the mid-nineteenth century was still building its vocabulary in specialized domains like literature and the arts. Mesrob Noubarian struggled with these gaps to such an extent that, while translating The Hunchback of Notre Dame for the Dedeyan Publishing House, he decided to compile the first French-to-modern-Armenian dictionary. [50] After more than a decade of work, his Dictionnaire français-arménien was published in Constantinople in 1892.

Using republication as an indicator of popularity, below is a selection of the press’s most popular translations, divided by translator. In the twentieth century, many of the same titles were published by other presses in Constantinople and in the diaspora, but most appear to be entirely new translations rather than republications.

Haig-Hagop Dedeyan (?- c. 1909) [51]

Երեսուն և երեք ծաղրաբանութիւնք (title of first printing)
Ծաղրաբանութիւնք Նասրէտտին Խօճայ (title of second printing)
The Tales from Nasreddin Hodja
Translated from a French translation of the Turkish original
Published in 1854 and 1858

Dikran-Haroutiun Dedeyan (1832-1868)

The Miser, a comedy by Molière
Translated from the French
Published in 1854, 1863 and 1881

, a children’s moral tale by Christoph von Schmid
Translated from a French translation of the German original
Published in 1861, 1865, (third publication date unknown) and 1876

Կոմս Մօնթէ-Քրիսթոյ
The Count of Monte-Cristo
, an adventure novel by Alexandre Dumas
Translated from the French
Published in six volumes between 1866 and 1868 and between 1872 and 1875

Krikor Chilingirian (1839-1923) [52]

Les Misérables
, a social-protest novel by Victor Hugo
Translated from the French
Published in ten volumes between 1868 and 1870; 1885 and 1886 (Constantinople); 1909 and 1910 (Constantinople); 1922 (Constantinople); 1927 and 1929 (Constantinople in 14 volumes) [53]; and 1953-? (Beirut). This is a rare example of a work whose initial translation was republished six times in a century.

Դարուս մէկ զաւակին խոստովանանքը
Confession of a Child of the Century
, a historical novel by Alfred de Musset
Translated from the French
Published in two volumes in 1873, 1874 and 1875

S.G.E. [Sophie G. Ekizler (later Spartali)] (1853-1939) [54]

Graziella, a romance novel by Alphonse de Lamartine
Translated from the French
Published in 1872, 1873 and 1874

Aram-Garabed Dedeyan (c. 1824-1901)

Tartuffe, a comedy by Molière
Translated from the French
Published in 1874 and 1882

Madteos Mamourian (1830-1901)

The Sorrows of Young Werther
, a sentimental novel by Johannes Wolfgang von Goethe
Likely translated from an English or French translation of the German original
Published in 1868, 1892 (Constantinople) and 1926 (Constantinople)

, a historical novel by Walter Scott
Translated from the English
Published in three volumes between 1872 and 1873 and between 1873 and 1874

The following is a full list of the literary translators who published with the Dedeyan Publishing House, listed by date of first translation with the press: Hovhannes Yezegian, Dikran-Haroutiun Dedeyan, Haig-Hagop Dedeyan, Sarkis D. Kasbarian, Mesrob Noubarian, Aram-Garabed Dedeyan, Dikran Karakashian, Baghdasar K. Baltazarian, Lucy Balasanian, K.G. Dilberian, Krikor Chilingirian, Madteos Mamourian, Garabed B. Sheriddjian, Krikor Mserian, G. Yazmadjian, Sophie G. Ekizler, Y.M.S., Mariam H. Djermagian, Kh.E. Bourounsouzian, S. Ghougasian, Antranig K. Kasevetian, Cornelia S. Papazian, V.G., Cournelia S. Sophiali and Takvor Djermagian.

End of the Press

After Dikran-Haroutiun’s death in 1868, his brothers, particularly Stepan, took over the day-to-day management of the Dedeyan Publishing House. By the late 1870s, however, its pace had slowed. The sharp decline in its rate of publications in the 1880s has been linked to its loss of Arevelian Mamoul, a monthly journal that had provided the press with a consistent source of revenue since 1871. [55] Madteos Mamourian, the editor of the journal and a prolific contributor to the press, had begun his own publishing house in Smyrna in 1883, taking his work with him. [56] After publishing only irregularly from the mid-1880s to the early 1890s, the Dedeyan Publishing House stopped printing altogether in 1892 and closed shortly after. [57]

In its heyday in the 1850s, 1860s and 1870s, the Dedeyan Publishing House had been driven by a social mission to increase access to knowledge and spread an appreciation for learning among Ottoman Armenians. As the press expanded so too did the Empire’s educational infrastructure, which facilitated this work on a grander scale. By the end of the century, more schools and educational programs had been established in urban and rural parts of the Empire and greater inroads were being made into adding to the pool of informed, socially engaged and globally aware Ottoman Armenians that Dikran-Haroutiun and his like-minded contemporaries had envisioned a half-century earlier.

In their ethics, convictions and willingness to take on financial risk, Dikran-Haroutiun and his brothers were rare figures in Armenian publishing, the likes of whom were not often seen in later periods. In the final decades of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, Ottoman Armenians of means rarely used their wealth to fund publications, let alone books that were not more or less guaranteed to turn a profit, making it difficult for many works to find a publisher. [58] Ultimately, as we see in Stepan Dedeyan’s quote below, it was for reasons beyond the financial that led Dikran-Haroutiun and his brothers to continue their work, work that helped to expand the horizons of Armenian readers in Smyrna, in the rest of the Ottoman Empire and beyond:

"If I look at the piles upon piles of multi-volume novels that have come out of the Dedeyan Publishing House; if I tabulate the revenue and expenses; if I consider that barely one fifth of the books published go out of print within a few years and the rest remain in storage, I should not only bid farewell to this enterprise, but I should close the press and publishing house and, like many, I too should lament the idea that the Armenian people are not avid readers. But keeping the Dedeyan Publishing House active is not so much a matter of profit as it is a wish to be of service to my beloved nation as much as possible, a zeal to preserve the memory of an honorable brother, and an obligation to be a testament to his hard work to sustain the press during his lifetime. … If the Dedeyan Publishing House has not in fact been of service to the nation, I can at least boast and say that it has helped to stir a love of reading. This is its greatest reward". [59]

  1. [1] For Dikran-Haroutiun Dedeyan’s obituary, see “Ազգային,” Արշալոյս արարատեան 29, no. 848 (1869): 2-3.
  2. [2] Մեսրոպ Նուպարեան, “Կենսագրական. Տիգրան Յարութիւն Տէտէեան,” part 3, Արեւելեան մամուլ 31, no. 4 (1901): 151-152.
  3. [3] Ibid., 152.
  4. [4] Ibid., 154.
  5. [5] “Ընթերցասիրութիւն,” Բազմավէպ 1, no. 17 (1843): 272.
  6. [6] “Պզտիկ առաջարկութիւն մը,” Արփի արարատեան 1, no. 1 (1853): 1-5.
  7. [7] For more on these dynamics, see Jennifer Manoukian, “Literary Translation and the Expansion of the Ottoman Armenian Reading Public, 1853-1884,” Book History (forthcoming).
  8. [8] Secondary literature has given both 1851 and 1853 as the date of the foundation of the publishing house. It was in 1851 that Dikran-Haroutiun received a permit to operate his press and in 1853 that he began printing. Հ. Յակոբ Վ. Քօսեան, Հայք ի Զմիւռնիա եւ ի շրջակայս (Vienna: Մխիթարեան տպարան, 1899), 273. Its address can be found on the covers of many of its publications, including this one.
  9. [9] Christian Dédéyan, Les Dédéyan. Leurs titres, leurs alliances (Venice: Saint Lazare, 1972), 27-28. These years of birth and death are inconsistent in the secondary literature and should be seen as approximations.
  10. [10] Վ.Գ. Զարդարեան, ed., Յիշատակարան, vol. 2 (Constantinople: Նշան-Պապիկեան, 1911), 246-247; Քօսեան, Հայք ի Զմիւռնիա, 123-124.
  11. [11] These men included Dikran-Haroutiun and Aram-Garabed Dedeyan; Krikor Chilingirian; Mesrob Noubarian; Sarkis Papazian and other Smyrnan Armenian intellectuals. For Nubarian’s tribute to his teacher and a description of Papazian’s impact on mid- to late-nineteenth-century intellectual life in Smyrna, see Մեսրոպ Նուպարեան, “Իզմիրի հայոց զարգացումը ասկէ կէս դար առաջ,” in Տարեցոյց Նշան-Պապիկեան 1907 (Constantinople: Նշան Պապիկեան, 1906), 9-15.
  12. [12] There is inconsistency in the secondary literature regarding Aram-Garabed’s year of death, but the following obituary confirms that he died in 1901. “Կարապետ Տէտէեան,” Արեւելեան մամուլ 31, no. 6 (1901): 249-250.
  13. [13] There is inconsistency in the secondary literature regarding Stepan’s year of death, but the following obituary confirms that he died in 1906. Մեսրոպ Նուպարեան, “Տիար Ստեփան Տէտէեան,” Արեւելեան մամուլ 36, no. 45 (1906): 1124-1125.
  14. [14] Նուպարեան, “Իզմիրի հայոց զարգացումը,” 12; Քօսեան, Հայք ի Զմիւռնիա, 273. Kosian wrote that it was another brother, Sarkis, who helped found and manage the press, but we know from the obituary above that it was indeed Stepan who helped to found the press and managed it after Dikran-Haroutiun’s death.
  15. [15] Kosian writes that the Dedeyans had gone to Paris to buy the press (Քօսեան, Հայք ի Զմիւռնիա, 273), while Mesrob Noubarian writes that it had been bought from the Mesrobian School in Smyrna, which had operated an American press in the early 1840s. Նուպարեան, “Կենսագրական. Տիգրան Յարութիւն Տէտէեան,” part 3, 151.
  16. [16] Գրիգոր Չիլինկիրեան, “Զմիւռնիաբնակ հայոց յառաջադիմութիւնը,” Ծաղիկ 1, no. 26 (1862): 210.
  17. [17] For an example, see “Ազդ,” Ծաղիկ 2, no. 55 (1863): 449.
  18. [18] Bibliographies of Armenian print indicate that Arpi Araradian closed in 1856, but I have not seen any issues or citations to issues beyond 1855.
  19. [19] “Յառաջաբան,” Արփի արարատեան 2, no. 1 (1854): 3.
  20. [20] For examinations of these periodicals, see Մ. Ն. Հակոբյան, Զմյուռնահայ պարբերական մամուլը (1861-1880) (Yerevan: Հայկական ՍԱՀ ԳԱ հրատարակչություն, 1987).
  21. [21] The National Library of Armenia has only digitized issues no. 1 though no. 12, but Krikoris Kalemkearian indicated that Haverjahars published issues no. 13 and no. 14 in July before folding in August. Հայր Գրիգորիս Գալէմքեարեան, “Պատմութիւն հայ լրագրութեան 1860-էն մինչեւ մեր օրերը,” Հանդէս ամսօրեայ 11, no. 9 (1897): 272.
  22. [22] “Կարեւոր ծանուցում,” Յաւերժահարս 1, no. 3 (1862): 17.
  23. [23] Ibid.
  24. [24] An American, Constantinople and its Environs, vol. 2 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1835), 132.
  25. [25] The Constantinople-born writer Armenag Haigouni was credited as co-editor during the periodical’s first year. During this time, Haigouni was living in Smyrna and teaching English at the Mesrobian School. Վ.Գ. Զարդարեան, ed., Յիշատակարան, vol. 1 (Constantinople: Նշան Պապիկեան, 1910), 11.
  26. [26] For political reasons, issues 109 (April 1865) to 134 (May 1867) were published in Constantinople, and Chilingirian was officially replaced by Zareh Stepanian as the editor, though he continued to contribute articles under his own name and his pseudonym Պերճ.
  27. [27] “Ազգային իշխանութեան պաշտօնը,” Ծաղիկ 3, no. 90 (1864): 223.
  28. [28] For Chilingirian’s account of the imprisonment and persecution he faced for the views he expressed in Dzaghig, see Պ. [Գրիգոր Չիլինկիրեան], “Տքնութիւնք ի բանտի,” Ծաղիկ 4, no. 109 (1865): 370-375.
  29. [29] In certain issues from 1862 and 1863, there is a disclaimer on the last page of Dzaghig, making known that “the publishing house is not responsible for the contents of this journal,” suggesting that the Dedeyan Publishing House received complaints about the topics discussed in the journal.
  30. [30] Some examples of these articles include “19-րդ դարու կինը,”Ծաղիկ 2, no. 56 (1863): 461-463; Յակոբ Ս. Գուրգէնեան, “Քանի մը խօսք իգական սեռին նկատմամբ,” Ծաղիկ 3, no. 80 (1864): 137-139; and Հայուհի Մ. Գ., “Բոլոնիացի կիները,” Ծաղիկ 4, no. 108 (1865): 364-366. The third article is a translation from French signed by a woman using only the initials M.K. I suspect that the translator in question was Mariam Kazdaghlian, Chilingirian’s future sister-in-law and the future secretary of Smyrna’s relief organization for orphaned girls, Հոգատար-որբախնամ ընկերութիւն (Քօսեան, Հայք ի Զմիւռնիա, 208). She later married Madteos Mamourian, who lovingly dedicated his translation of The Sorrows of Young Werther to her.
  31. [31] Հայկ Ղազարյան, Գրիգոր Չիլինկիրյան (Yerevan: Հայպետհրատ, 1959), 21-28.
  32. [32] Գալուստ Կոստանդեան, Գանկաբանութիւն համառօտ (Smyrna: Տպարան Եղբարց Տէտէեան, 1858), Զ-Է.
  33. [33] Ibid., Ը. Italics and parentheses in the original.
  34. [34] Ibid., Թ-Ժ.
  35. [35] Ibid., ԺԱ.
  36. [36] Sebouh Aslanian discusses the understudied area of nineteenth-century Armenian confessionalism in chapter nine of his forthcoming book, Early Modernity and Mobility: Port Cities and Printers Across the Armenian Diaspora, 1512-1800.
  37. [37] Նուպարեան, “Կենսագրական. Տիգրան Յարութիւն Տէտէեան,” part 3, 149-150.
  38. [38] Մատթէոս Մամուրեան (Վրոյր), “Իմ յուշագրերս,” in Երկեր (Antelias: Տպարան Կիլիկիոյ Կաթողիկոսութեան, 1990), 362-363; Մեսրոպ Նուպարեան, “Իմ մանկական յիշատակներէս,” Արեւելեան մամուլ 24, no. 13 (1894): 405-406.
  39. [39] The only known copy of this book is housed at the British Library, which has an impressive collection of publications by the Dedeyan Publishing House. Notably, its collection includes a handful of publications that have been left out of bibliographies of Armenian print and that are not listed in the catalog of the National Library of Armenia.
  40. [40] Տիգրան Յարութիւն Տէտէեան, Նոր ընթերցարան (Smyrna: Տպագրութիւն Տէտէեան, 1868), 3.
  41. [41] Հրանտ Ասատուր, Դիմաստուերներ (Constantinople: Կ. Քէշիշեան որդի, 1921), 132.
  42. [42] Մատթէոս Մամուրեան, Համառօտ ընդհանուր պատմութիւն դպրոցաց համար. հին պատմութիւն արեւելեան ժողովրդոց. մասն Ա (Smyrna: Տպագրութիւն Տէտէեան, 1875), 4.
  43. [43] Ibid., 3-4.
  44. [44] See, for example, Գրիգոր Չիլինկիրեան, “Էլիզա կամ վերջին արեւելեան պատերազմի ժամանակ տեղի ունեցած իրական դէպք մը,” Ծաղիկ 1, no. 12 (1861): 95.
  45. [45] Գարեգին Վարդապետ Սրուանձտեանց, introduction to Անուշաւան, by Ծերունին Գաբրիէլ Պատկանեան (Smyrna: Տպագրութիւն Տէտէեան, 1875), ԺԳ.
  46. [46] See Լիակատար գրացանկ Պ. Պալենց գրատան (Constantinople: Տպագրութիւն Յ. Ասատուրեան որդիք, 1922); and Ընդարձակ գրացանկ Պիմէն Զարդարեան գրատան (Constantinople: Առեւտրական տպարան Մ. Յովակիմեան, 1928).
  47. [47] Գրիգոր Չիլինկիրեան, translator’s introduction to the second edition of Դարուս մէկ զաւակին խոստովանանքը, vol. 1, by Alfred de Musset (Smyrna: Տպագրութիւն Տէտէեան, 1874), 3-4.
  48. [48] Մեսրոպ Նուպարեան, “Կենսագրական. Տիգրան Յարութիւն Տէտէեան,”part 2, Արեւելեան մամուլ 31, no. 3 (1901): 103.
  49. [49] Գրիգոր Չիլինկիրեան, translator’s introduction to Մաթիլտնորատի կնոջ մը յիշատակները, vol. 1, by Eugène Sue (Smyrna: Տպագրութիւն Տէտէեան, 1870), 6. Thank you to Marc Mamigonian and Ani Babaian at the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research for scanning this introduction for me.
  50. [50] Մեսրոպ Նուպարեան, “Կենսագրական. Տիգրան Յարութիւն Տէտէեան,” part 4, Արեւելեան մամուլ 31, no. 5 (1901): 192.
  51. [51] The death year 1909 comes from Christian Dédéyan, Les Dédéyan, 29-30. Because many of his dates have been proven to be inaccurate, I am treating this year as an approximation.
  52. [52] There is inconsistency in the secondary literature regarding Chilingirian’s year of death. However, his great-nephew, Denis Finning, has in his collection a letter signed by the American Protestant minister who performed Chilingirian’s funeral service certifying that he died at his home in the Smyrnan suburb of Göztepe on January 26, 1923. Chilingirian may have been one of the few Armenians to have remained in Smyrna and its environs after the fire in September 1922.
  53. [53] The cover of this book calls it the sixth edition, but I have not found any evidence that there was a printing between the fourth printing in 1922 and this one in 1927. I am considering it a mistake and calling the 1927-1929 printing the fifth edition.
  54. [54] This translation has been misattributed to Sahag Etmekjian in the catalog of the National Library of Armenia. Although Etmekjian was indeed a translator in the 1870s, he translated non-fiction, worked from English, published in Constantinople and does not appear to have had any connection to Smyrna. Sophie G. Ekizler was a native of Smyrna and was the sister-in-law of Stepan Dedeyan. Furthermore, at the time, a woman’s middle initial corresponded to the first letter of her father’s first name before marriage and of her husband’s first name after marriage; Sophie’s father was the notable Garabed Ekizler, which helps to explain her initial “G.” Also, the translation was dedicated to Hagop Spartali, her future father-in-law. Finally, Mesrob Noubarian wrote that Ekizler had published translations with the Dedeyan Publishing House and Christian Dédéyan has connected her to Graziella in particular. See Նուպարեան, “Կենսագրական. Տիգրան Յարութիւն Տէտէեան,” part 4, 192; and Dédéyan, Les Dédéyan, 107. Thank you to Sophie’s descendant Alexandre Vladesco for information about his family history.
  55. [55] Նուպարեան, “Կենսագրական. Տիգրան Յարութիւն Տէտէեան,” part 4, 193.
  56. [56] Mamourian announced the establishment of his publishing house in the May 1883 issue of Arevelian Mamoul.
  57. [57] Albert Kharatyan writes that the press continued operating until 1893, but I have no evidence of any publications beyond 1892. Ա. Ա. Խառատյան, Հասարակական միտքը Զմյուռնիայի հայ պարբերական մամուլում (1840-1900) (Yerevan: ՀՀ ԳԱԱ «Գիտություն» հրատարակչություն, 1995), 39.
  58. [58] Նուպարեան, “Կենսագրական. Տիգրան Յարութիւն Տէտէեան,” part 3, 150-151.
  59. [59] Ս. Տէտէեան, introduction to the second edition of Կոմս Մօնթէ-Քրիսթոյ, vol. 1, by Alexandre Dumas (Smyrna: Տպագրութիւն Տէտէեան, 1872), 1.