Hetum's Café, 15 September 1931, Bitias (Source: Vahram Shemmassian collection, Los Angeles).

Musa Dagh – Cultural Life

Author: Vahram L. Shemmassian, 19/02/20 (Last modified 19/02/20)

Socioeconomic woes that kept the Musa Daghians generally poor failed to suppress their cultural yearnings. Despite their limited means and formal education, they spared no effort in displaying their artistic and intellectual potentials in a variety of ways. They established libraries, read books, narrated stories, produced plays, published and subscribed to periodicals, gave and/or attended lectures, and organized all sorts of cultural programs. The Musa Daghians were rich in talents and aspirations and ingeniously developed these into a full range of cultural and community expressions. Voluntary associations played a major role in this overall drive. As a result of these developments, participants and audiences alike found cause to appreciate and enjoy some of the finer things in life amidst persistent existential challenges. Folk music, songs, and dances, while important from an ethnographic point of view, fall outside the scope of this article that covers the period between the two World Wars (1919-1939).

Libraries, Reading, Storytelling

The two Armenian political parties, namely, the Social Democrat Hnchagian Party (SDHP) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), spurred reading in Musa Dagh for the dual purpose of educating and indoctrinating their respective memberships and enlightening the public at large. On returning to his native Haji Habibli from Cilicia as a volunteer in the Légion d’Orient in early October 1920, SDHP activist Hapet Isgenderian tried in vain (due to memory lapse) to recover the party's library books that he and a comrade had hidden in a cave in 1915. Only after stumbling on some scattered loose leaflets was he able to discover the books, some of which had deteriorated beyond repair. Those found intact carried such titles as Young Turkey, Garibaldi, We and They, The Working Class, etc. [1] This meager collection constituted the SDHP library in Haji Habibli, dubbed Bantukhd (temporary migrant worker). For its enrichment, books, newspapers, and pictures were solicited through the official party mouthpiece in Aleppo. [2] A modest SDHP library likewise existed in Vakef. [3]

After the fading of Haji Habibli’s prominence in the SDHP caused by the assassination of leading members Setrag and Hapet Isgenderian in 1921-22, as well as the subsequent banishment of their three surviving brothers from the area, SDHP power gravitated to Yoghunoluk. This shift also necessitated the relocation there of Bantukhd as the party’s central library. Its management was entrusted to a board, which in 1925 consisted of nine members elected by the party’s Fourth Regional General Representative Assembly. [4] In the Sixth Assembly, held in September 1930, delegates pledged to donate their personal books to the collection. [5] These measures notwithstanding, for unspecified reasons the library failed to grow and even became defunct, at least for a while. Accordingly, the Seventh Assembly in December 1932 resolved to hasten the library’s reorganization. This could be achieved by charging two comrades with collecting books from individuals, sorting them, and placing them at the disposal of the party’s Representative Body. [6] A month later, in January 1933, that Body took upon itself to tour the various villages, gather books found among comrades, and ultimately shelve them in a depository that was not yet built. [7] Due to the lack of further evidence, it is hard to tell whether the Bantukhd became more functional thereafter.

The ARF, in turn, established a central library in Yoghunoluk. As early as 28 February 1920 the party resolved to inaugurate a library for the Musa Dagh district. Its “doors will be open for nationals from both genders, so that the entire book-loving public will benefit.” [8] In order to augment the existing core of fifty to sixty tomes, donations were solicited from affiliates abroad. The Egypt ARF obliged by sending about 400 books and the United States East Coast ARF an undetermined number, as a result of which the Yoghunoluk library boasted more than 500 volumes. A local Musa Dagh raffle also netted 5 Ottoman gold liras to be used for the same purpose. [9] Alongside this “gloriously decorated” library [10] there operated a “reading hall” named after Papken Siuni (Bedros Parian), [11] the young ARF leader who lost his life while attempting to occupy the Ottoman Bank in Constantinople in 1896 in order to draw the attention of the Great Powers to the plight of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. [12] The ARF leadership in Syria and Lebanon in its 1932-33 activities report listed the Yoghunoluk central library as one of the most important ones alongside those found in Aleppo, Beirut, Damascus, and Kesab. [13] In 1921, an ARF library of unspecified size also operated in Kheder Beg. [14]

Outside the political realm, the Bitias Protestants developed their own library thanks in part to a number of books donated by the Krisdoneagan Chanits Engeragtsutiun (Christian Endeavor Society) of Aleppo to “the Library of the Christian Youth CHANITS Society of Bitias.” [15] On the other hand, although the AGBU chapters did not have their separate libraries or central library, the Union’s headquarters in Cairo regularly sent official publications to Musa Dagh. Among them wall calendars, as “an illustrated symbolic portrayal of AGBU life and activity,” were to be used as “a propaganda tool.” [16] Similarly, Cairo in 1925 dispatched twenty copies of an explanatory booklet regarding donations and bequests. The booklet was to be distributed free of charge to AGBU members at Haji Habibli. [17] Last but not least, the Vakef and Haji Habibli chapters each received five copies of Vahan Kiurkjian’s H.P.E. Miutian Ksanamiage (1906-1926) (AGB Union’s Twentieth Anniversary [1906-1926]), to be donated to members and sympathizers. [18]

Besides the organizational libraries and AGBU publications, certain individuals owned private collections. Fr. Vartan Varteresian of Haji Habibli was the most active bibliophile in all of Musa Dagh. On the eve of the 1915 resistance to the Genocide, he hid five boxes of books as “noble treasure” in a secure location hoping to retrieve them once the cataclysm ended. At the time of his repatriation from the Port Said refugee camp on 24 October 1919, he carried along twenty boxes of personal belongings; ten of them contained books. [19] Similarly, Yoghunoluk native Mihran Dmianian took pride in his “rich library” that consisted of many books in Armenian, English, French, and Arabic (or Ottoman Turkish in Arabic script) that rested on wall-mounted shelves. [20] Marta Sherbetjian Shemmassian of Bitias, on the other hand, whose formal education did not go beyond second grade, used to place book orders from Aleppo. They included Armenian translations of La Porteuse de pain, Les Misérables, Lady Isabel, Treasure Island, etc., in addition to novels depicting the late nineteenth-early twentieth century Armenian revolutionary episode. [21] Others must also have kept books, albeit in modest quantities.

Some individuals shared their books with small groups of relatives, neighbors, and friends, who gathered at homes late on winter afternoons to listen to stories read to them chapter by chapter in serial form. Such reading sessions offered a rare exposure to Armenian and world literature for many a curious listener, thereby serving as informal schools. In the Maghzanian quarter of Bitias, for instance, two or three homes regularly took turns to welcome listeners around the fire pits in their living rooms, and to offer homemade sweets such as zilibig and khavez, roasted corn, garbanzo, pumpkin seeds, Aleppo pistachios, and pivig (terebinth fruit). The following popular books from French literature were read out loud in Armenian translation: Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables and Ruy Blas; Alexandre Dumas père’s The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers; Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, Around the World in Eighty Days, and so on. Hovhannes Tumanian’s folktales and the historical novels of Raffi and Dzerents (Dr. Hovsep Shishmanian) numbered among the Armenian books enjoyed. [22]

Alberta Magzanian reminisced about one particular women’s “book club”:

Late afternoons, especially during the winter months, life in the village slowed down. Mom’s ‘book club’ met during those quiet afternoons. Since we did not have a public library and since most people did not have books with the exception of the Bible, Mom’s club was limited to a single copy of the selected book. The books often came from Pop’s small collection [that he had brought with him from the United States].

The women passed the single copy around the circle and each person read a paragraph aloud, followed by a discussion. Because of the Great War, Mom’s education stopped with the second grade so she hadn’t learned to read well, but somehow she was still able to take part. After returning home from school, [my sister] Anna and I would sit in a corner and listen attentively. We spent one winter listening to Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. With the rarity of books, such stories became precious. For us, as the women talked about poor Cosette, Jean Valjean and Javert, the characters took on real personalities”. [23]

On occasion the book owners recounted, rather than read, the stories to their entourage. A case in point: Anania Chanchanian, a comb maker in Yoghunoluk, acquired his books from Antioch in autumn and narrated them, especially Raffi’s voluminous novels, in great detail to his eager male friends in winter. Due to conservatism in Yoghunoluk, females did not participate, at least in this particular case. The listening guests contributed fruit, acorns, tobacco, and homemade spirits. These wonderful evenings often lasted until dawn. “Life was very simple, pleasant and care free, there was no radio or television…” The people drew their entertainment and education directly from each other. [24]

While the bulk of books read in Musa Dagh were written by Armenians from outside Musa Dagh and foreigners, two local individuals were represented. A. Leylani (pen name of Movses Der Kalusdian) published two short oeuvres: Yerazanki Tashkhuran (Clay Plate of Dreams, prose) and Siro Sgih (Chalice of Love). Yerazanki Tashkhuran begins with a prose poem entitled “The Boat of the Ideal” that the author had actually composed on 8 September 1915, that is, during the Musa Dagh resistance to the Genocide, while working to draw the attention of an Allied battleship to save them. [25] Siro Sgih is his collection of prose poetry, with two Musa Dagh tales, “Holy Friday’s Spring” and “The Weeping Rock.” [26]

The second native author was the Protestant Pastor Dikran Antreasian, who had served as the Chairman of the Central Administrative Council during the 1915 resistance. In October, shortly after the Musa Daghians landed in Egypt, Rev. Antreasian delivered a public lecture at the American Mission in Cairo about their saga. He subsequently published his talk as a booklet in English, French, and German translations. The original Armenian version is entitled Zeytuni Antznadvutiune yev Svedio Inknabashdbanutiune (The Surrender of Zeytun and the Self-Defense of Svedia). [27] In 1935 a revised, expanded edition appeared in Aleppo entitled Zeytuni Darakrutiune yev Svedio Absdamputiune (The Deportation of Zeytun and the Uprising of Svedia). [28] It remains one of the most reliable primary sources about the factual events of the Musa Dagh resistance. Other writers born in Musa Dagh, including Yetvart Boyajian and Boghos Snabian, would publish monographs of various genres in later decades. [29]

Books certainly satisfied and gave further impetus to intellectual and literary curiosity within some segments of society. But storytelling appears to have been more pervasive. Folktales, spiced up by master narrators in each village, carried listeners off into wonderful worlds of the imagination. Even shepherds and charcoal and gunpowder makers, who stayed away from home for long periods at a time, retreated to certain sites in order to carry on this most enchanting pastime. Local storytellers likewise competed with itinerant counterparts. As a rule, the narrators “began their sessions by reciting verses of fallacies and comic inconsistencies to the merriment of the audience. This comic relief was called takarlama and was often rendered in Turkish.” The heroes, around which the stories revolved, included “kings, princes, princesses, traders, caravan owners, migrant workers, or peasant men and women,” whose character mattered more than their status or occupation. Morality, integrity, pride, honor, daring, resistance to pressure, wit, wisdom, virtue, ingenuity, etc., all characterized the heroes and heroines. The articulation of these values, virtues, and/or desired attributes often transformed the folktales into a forum of social commentary on real-life situations such as the 1915 resistance to the Genocide and the survivors’ subsequent encampment near Port Said, Egypt. [30]

To summarize, libraries, private book collections, reading, and storytelling provided general knowledge, cultural and artistic feats, nationalistic sentiments, moral and ethical values, cherished personal traits, and so on. By doing so, they simultaneously refined the cognitive skills, enhanced the critical thinking ability, and strengthened the imaginations and resolve of significant numbers of Musa Daghians. The people of the villages were also exposed to the outside world, thereby engaging in a discourse with others beyond their environment.


The Armenians of Musa Dagh manifested a particular fondness for the dramatic arts. Plays and skits constituted a part of many school functions, holiday celebrations and/or important anniversaries. They were also staged separately by various groups and organizations. The dramas commenced in 1922, when some normalcy returned after a period of tribulations. That year, the Haji Habibli Tbrotsasirats Miutiun (School-Loving Union) staged a most popular play in the Surp Asdvadzadzin (Holy Mother of God) Apostolic Church—the Battle of Avarayr (also known as the “Eagle of Avarayr”), a religious-political clash that pitted Armenian forces, led by Commander-in-Chief Vartan Mamigonian, against the Persians in 451 AD. At the invitation of AGBU school Principal Krikor Aroyan, Movses Der Kalusdian gave a speech on the occasion. [31] Fr. Varteresian objected when the play was repeated in the same venue two years later. He wrote:

“Did I err by saying that the “The Eagle of Avarayr” drama to be presented in the consecrated church on the occasion of Vartan’s holiday was improper? They labeled me with cross-stealer, informant and still other adjectives, whose mention is shameful… They presented the drama, but did they enjoy, I wonder, their desecrating of the Holy Cathedral? Is it not that even the foundation of the columns is dedicated…to this or that apostle? What about the [holy] table, the Stage [i.e., altar], where the crowd [is] huddled with various and miscellaneous improprieties [to] watch [the play] and be amused?

…Why would not the throng crowded during the drama, at least on Sundays, huddle together in half, let me say quarter, amount, and instead of watching the play, read to God from the depths of the heart? Would it not be better, I wonder”? [32]

The next performance, Setrag Shahen’s Danchvadznere (The Tortured), took place on Sunday, 27 July 1924. [33] Because the play required a more suitable facility, the Tbrotsasirats cleaned up the interior of the unfinished local school, removed rocks and thorns, flattened the ground, and built the roof with wood from the nearby forest. It also sold tickets to vacationers in the neighboring resort of Bitias. The women of the community prepared dinners and sold them for 1 mejidye. Scene One opened with the refugees, adults and minors alike, filing by a well to quench their thirst and protesting their fate. The audience followed the plot with deep understanding. [34] A press report covering this particular production stated that Haji Habibli was the only village in Musa Dagh where the female sex participated in such dramatic productions. [35] In fact women also took part in such productions in Bitias, as stated below.

In September 1925, an operetta called Arshin Mal Alan (The Cloth Peddler) was introduced to the Haji Habibli public. [36] Composed in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1913 by an Azeri (Tatar) named Uzeyir Hajibeyov, this four-act musical about a bachelor seeking a wife in Shushi, Mountainous Karabagh, had gained immense popularity among various ethnic groups in many countries around the globe. [37] In Armenia alone it was put on 965 times over eight years and in the United States forty-eight times within eight-and-a-half months. [38] Zeytun native Fr. Khachadur Kermanigian, one of the two active priests in Haji Habibli and a consummate musician, directed the Tbrotsasirats production. Speaking disapprovingly of the songs' popularity, Fr. Varteresian wrote that they “are so widespread among the populace today that they are sung on every occasion! And that operetta has left a bad influence; I am afraid sad incidents may occur.” He added: the “operetta has roles inappropriate for our milieu, and… a clergyman should not have done it.” As a result, according to Fr. Varteresian, even Fr. Kermanigian’s parishioners admonished him, especially when he included actresses in the production. Actually, Fr. Varteresian’s criticism arose from two concerns: the presence of two priests in Haji Habibli who had split the already meager church revenues, thereby diminishing his income, and his zeal to direct the faithful to a “sacred play,” that is, “the Holy Mass,” instead of temporal acts. Fr. Kermanigian and the Tbrotsasirats received invitations to perform the Arshin Mal Alan in the other villages of Musa Dagh as well. [39] They also staged Hajibeyov’s Mashadi Ibad, also titled If Not That One, Then This One, [40] a four-act musical comedy written in 1910 reflecting “social and everyday relations in prerevolutionary Azerbaijan.” [41] Lastly, the Tbrotsasirats in 1929 rehearsed “The Twenty Gallows,” a work depicting the 1915 hanging of SDHP revolutionaries in Constantinople. [42]

Plays also constituted an important component of political party activity. By early March 1922 the Haji Habibli SDHP formed a “group of actors,” called Aso, the nickname of Dikran Odian, a leading SDHP activist who established party chapters in and around Van and ultimately lost his life in that city’s prison in 1915. The group’s repertoire included Jalaleddin by Raffi and Gargarun Gamar (Protruding Arch). [43] Similarly, “theater-loving” SDHP youth on Saturday, 5 July 1924 staged a play called Hagop-Hapet (Kalusd Antreasian-Hapet Tevekelian)—both close allies of and arms smugglers to a revolutionary called Taniel Chavush at Shabin Karahisar—in the Yoghunoluk Apostolic Church. Because local conservatism hindered the participation of women, males played the female roles as well. The proceeds from ticket sales were earmarked for the “enrichment” of the Bantukhd library. According to a press report, this was the first theatrical performance ever in Yoghunoluk. [44] The Vakef SDHP Teenagers or Students Association in the fall of 1924 rehearsed for the premiere of Bako (a name). [45] Lastly, in order to stimulate party vitality and combat backwardness in the general district, in the early 1930s the SDHP leadership decided to form a central theatrical troupe composed of the most talented persons available and to seek formal recognition from the government in Antioch. [46] Information is lacking as to whether this project materialized.

In early March 1922 the ARF Vakef chapter held a requiem for party members killed in the 1915 resistance. After the religious ceremony, local and Kheder Beg teenagers staged “Nerses the Great,” a medieval pontiff and author of some of the best sharagans (spiritual chants) sung as part of the Armenian Apostolic Church Liturgy. For his excellent portrayal, Hovhannes Markarian became “an instant revelation” in his leading role. Despite the play’s weak construction and the actors’ overall inexperience, the audience was “greatly impressed.” [47] In 1925, during the celebration of May 28 Armenian Independence Day held at the Yoghunoluk Apostolic Church, the local ARF Teenagers Association staged Bedros Turian’s Sev Hoghere (The Black Lands). [48]

Year-end commencement exercises, called amaverchi hantes, and occasional cultural programs, called hantes, often included skits. During one such event at the Kabusiye Sisvan School, held on 10 July 1922, second and third graders presented a three-act drama about “national life,” with the overall acting deemed satisfactory. Three students, Minas Ghazekian, Movses Habeshian, and Zakaria Simonian, excelled in their performances. [49] Antranig Urfalian described the general theatrical scene in his native Kabusiye:

“Our church also played the role of auditorium on the occasion of scholastic or youth and artistic or theatrical activities, without disturbing the soul of our religiously-fanatical masses. Apparently the commotion about [the] “open and closed” [church altars to be used for other purposes] in Armenian communities in Constantinople and all of Turkey had not reached the boundaries of our native soil. How the youth’s staging of Vartanants, [Soghomon] Tehlirian’s judgment [for the 1921 assassination of Talat Pasha, the former Ottoman Interior Minister and one of the masterminds of the Armenian genocide], Jelaleddin, the Valley of Tear and other plays became a source of great excitement, under my [teacher] father’s direction! The décor, costumes, the entire staging, done through altogether primitive means, appeared unsurpassable, even superior to Hollywood productions unknown to us”. [50]

In the same vein, on 4 May 1929 children at the Protestant School in Bitias put on a segment of satirist Hagop Baronian’s Shoghokorte (The Flatterer) under the direction of non-native teacher Arusiag Semerjian to the amusement of the audience. [51] On Armenian Christmas 1937 or 1938, an all-girl cast performed Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in Armenian. [52] Similarly, on 24 February 1938 students and teenagers at Vakef staged the Danchvadznere in the presence of more than 500 viewers—certainly an overblown figure given Vakef’s small population size. The proceeds from ticket sales would be spent on the SDHP library and “for the spread of democratic [i.e., progressive] publications.” [53] There were other instances of artistic productions to fund community education.

The two church-affiliated associations in Bitias, the Apostolic Yegeghetsasirats Miutiun (Church-Loving Union) and the Protestant CHANITS, likewise seized every opportunity to go on stage. Raffi’s Gaydzer (Sparks) was the earliest performance put up by the Yegeghetsasirats. [54] Another, entitled Miutian Okude (The Benefit of Unity), took place on 13 April 1924; it depicted Kurdish exploitations of Armenians. [55] Subsequent productions included the following: Tzayn me Hnchets (A Voice Sounded); Antranig (an Armenian revolutionary hero); Vartanants (the Armenian vs. Persian Avarayr battle of 451 AD); Charshili Artin Agha (A Merchant Called Artin Agha); Arshin Mal Alan. [56] Both men and women from the Association’s Ladies’ Auxiliary and its choir participated. [57] They were directed by non-native teacher Hrant Chakrian [58] and Fr. Kermanigian, who had been transferred from Haji Habibli to Bitias in the second half of the 1920s. The performances took place at the local parochial school, converted to a theater for the occasion. [59] As a rule, the “highest authorities,” that is, the ARF leadership, occupied the front seats, followed by members of various committees, village notables, and so on. Native instrumentalists Yesayi Stambulian (oud) and Misak Filhannesian (violin) sat by the stage to play the “Mer Hayrenik” (Our Fatherland, the national anthem of present-day Armenia) as prelude, other patriotic songs between acts, and the “Pamp Vorodan” (They Boom Thunderously) as finale, with the audience joining in singing. [60]

The newly-formed CHANITS of Bitias in 1926 staged two dramas in the Protestant Church under the direction of non-native teacher Rahel Giurlekian: Genghis Khan (in Armenian) and Yenova (in Turkish). Pastor Hagop Giurlekian announced the events from the pulpit, asking worshippers to support them, while the mixed cast of boys and girls also sold handwritten tickets. [61] In the second half of the 1930s, the rejuvenated CHANITS performed William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Othello and Turian’s Sev Hoghere. [62] Dramas also conveyed moral messages. In 1937 or 1938, the CHANITS put on a play about gambling and its devastating consequences. Reminisced John Kerkezian: “I don’t know the name of the play. I know the following individuals were in the play: your [author’s] father, Levon Shemmassian, Apraham Balabanian, my brother Movses ([nicknamed] Babazin) Kerkezian. I was your father’s son in the play. The characters were sitting around a table and playing a card game, gambling. Your father lost everything. In frustration he took his son… and put him on the table as collateral. He put me on the table in a such [sic] force that it shook me up, and I still remember, feel it.” [63]

All these productions demonstrated that the Musa Daghians adored dramas. Political parties, associations, and schools produced their own shows. In the absence of theaters, school halls and places of worship served as the venues. These productions often also became fund raisers especially for libraries and newspapers. While young women performed female roles in Bitias and Haji Habibli, people in Yoghunoluk remained adamantly opposed to women’s participation alongside men. Information is lacking about the other three villages’ attitudes towards gender. Non-native clergymen and educators seemed to be the main moving force behind the presentations, but the native talents played virtually all the roles and eventually stood on their own feet. When speaking of the outsiders’ role in the promotion of the theater in Musa Dagh, one must also underscore the contribution of professional director-actors who visited the Armenian villages, especially Bitias, during the summer and produced shows of their own with the active involvement of local young men and women.  In any case, the plays selected in Musa Dagh carried mostly Armenian themes, but Azerbaijani operettas in translation were likewise enjoyed not only in Musa Dagh, but in Armenian communities worldwide. The Protestant community additionally adopted works from French and British literature. This could be explained by that denomination’s exposure to Western culture through a century of contacts with American Protestant missionaries. Unfortunately, in the numerous sources consulted no mention is made whatsoever of the Catholic community of Musa Dagh with respect to cultural activity, dramas included.

  • [1] Yeridasart Hayasdan (Young Armenia) (Providence), 7 March 1921.
  • [2] Suriagan Mamul (Syrian Press) (Aleppo), 5 March 1922.
  • [3] Ibid., 26 November 1924.
  • [4] Armenian Mekhitarist Catholic Congregation Archives, Vienna, Austria, (hereafter AMCC), Hnchagian Gusagtsutiun 1920[-1938], Adenakrutian yev Artzanakrutian Dedrag ([Social Democrat] Hnchagian Party 1920[-1938], Minutes and Records Notebook) (hereafter Hnchagian Gusagtsutiun, Dedrag), minutes of the 1st Session, 26 October 1924, Yoghunoluk; Fourth Regional Delegates’ Meeting of Musa Dagh SDHP Chapters, 1 March 1925, Vakef. The library board members were Isgender Mardirian, Setrag Haygazyan, Khacher Kartunian, Kh. Boghosian, Sarkis Havadian, Tateos Babigian, H. Yeramian, Nshan Iprajian, and MisakYaralian.
  • [5] Ibid., minutes of the Sixth SDHP Musa Dagh Region Delegates’ Meeting, 11 September 1930, Yoghunoluk.
  • [6] Ibid., minutes of the Seventh SDHP Musa Dagh Region Delegates’ Meeting, 25 December 1932, Kheder Beg.
  • [7] Ibid., minutes of the 1st Session, 21 January 1933, Yoghunoluk.
  • [8] Armenian Revolutionary Federation Archives, Boston (now in Watertown), Massachusetts (hereafter ARF), File 963/26, H.H.T. Giligio gam Lernavayri G. Gomide, 1920 t. (ARF Cilicia or Lernavayr Central Committee, 1920), Second Consultative Meeting of Musa Dagh ARF, 28 February 1920, Kheder Beg.
  • [9] ARF, File 966/29, H.H.T. Giligio gam Lernavayri G. Gomide, 1921 t. (ARF Cilicia or Lernavayr Central Committee, 1921), Report of Activist M. Der Kalusdian; idem, S. Sherbetjian and Shant Diran, Six-Month Report of Svedia ARF to Lernavayr (Cilicia) ARF Central Committee, 9 September 1921; idem, File 969/32, ARF Red Mountain Committee of Svedia to ARF Central Committee of America in Boston, 16 March 1922; Husaper (Hope Bringer) (Cairo), 8 October 1921; Hayrenik (Fatherland) (Boston), 26 November 1921.
  • [10] Hayrenik, 12 February 1922.
  • [11] Husaper, 12 February 1924.
  • [12] For the Bank Ottoman incident, consult Armen Garo (Karekin Bastrmajian), Bank Ottoman: Memoirs of Armen Garo, Haig T. Partizian, trans., Simon Vratzian, ed. (Detroit, MI: Armen Topouzian, publisher, 1990).
  • [13] ARF, File 997/d/1, H.H.T. Lernavayri G. G. Shrchaperaganner yev Zanazan Tghtagtsutiunner, 1933/1934 t. (ARF Lernavayr Central Committee Circulars and Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1933-1934), Report of Lernavayr Central Committee (1932 September-1933 July) to the Fourteenth Regional Delegates Congress.
  • [14] Giligia (Cilicia) (Adana), 30 July 1921.
  • [15] This information is based on the fact that in the early 1970s in the CHANITS social hall in Anjar, Lebanon, I came across the following book with dual titles: Mdadzutiunk Kisagi (Contemplations by Kisag); Donag. Orer (Holidays) (Fr. [?]: Armenian Educational Foundation of New York, 1925), which contained a hand-written inscription about the donation.
  • [16] Armenian General Benevolent Union Archives, Saddle Brook, New jersey (now in New York, New York) (hereafter AGBU/SB), File 14 D, H.P.E. Miutian Sisvan Varzharanner (Svedia), Tghtagtsutiunner 1923-1927 (AGBU Sisvan Schools [Svedia]: Correspondence 1923-1927), AGBU Cairo to Krikor Aroyan, 19 November 1925.  In all, seventeen 1925 calendars were sent.
  • [17] Armenian General Benevolent Union Archives, Cairo, Egypt, (hereafter AGBU/Cairo), Binder  134, AGBU Cairo to AGBU Haji Habibli chapter Chair, 29 December 1925.
  • [18] Ibid., AGBU Cairo to AGBU Vakef chapter Chair, 17 September 1926; idem, AGBU Cairo to AGBU Haji Habibli chapter Chair, 17 September 1926.
  • [19] M. Salpi (Dr. Aram Sahagian), ed., Aliagner yev Khliagner. Hay Vranakaghakin Darekirke (Little Waves and Wrecks: The Yearbook of the Armenian Tent City) (Alexandria, Egypt: A. Kasbarian Press, 1920), p. 268.
  • [20] Boghos Armenag Lakisian, Musa Leran Voghchuyn (Greeting to Musa Dagh) (Yerevan: “Orenk yev Iraganutyun” Publishing House, 2005), p. 196.
  • [21] Telephone interview with Rosine Shemmassian Kundakjian, 17 November 2012, Granada Hills, California-Fresno, California.
  • [22] Levon Shemmassian, letter to the author, received 20 January 2013.
  • [23] Alberta Magzanian, Anna Magzanian, and Louisa Magzanian, The Recipes of Musa Dagh: An Armenian Cookbook in A Dialect of Its Own (N.p.: Lulu.com, 2008), p. 155.
  • [24] Mardig Chanchanian, letter to the author, 2 December 2012. Mardig is Anania’s son.
  • [25] The poem was originally published in the 4 October 1915 issue of Arev (Sun) (Alexandria), with an editorial commentary.
  • [26] A. Leylani, Siro Sgih (Chalice of Love) (Beirut: Hraztan Printing, 1929), 52 pp.
  • [27] Dikran Antreasian, Zeytuni Antznadvutiune yev Svedio Inknabashdbanutiune (The Surrender of Zeytun and the Self-Defense of Svedia) (Cairo: Z. Berberian Printing, 1915). It was also translated into English (1916), French (1916), and German (1919).
  • [28] Ibid., Zeytuni Darakrutiune yev Svedio Absdamputiune (The Deportation of Zeytun and the Uprising of Svedia), 2nd edition (Aleppo: College Printing, 1935).
  • [29] For lists, brief biographies, and literary samples of Musa Daghian writers, see Mardiros Kushakjian and Boghos Madurian, eds, Hushamadian Musa Leran (Memorial Book of Musa Dagh) (Beirut: Atlas Press, 1970), pp. 717-840; Mousaler online/Anjar, “Prominent Musa Daghians” (formerly “Famous Anjarians”).
  • [30] Sona Zeitlian, “The Oral Tradition of Musa Dagh/Musaler,” unpublished paper delivered at a conference on “The Armenian Communities of the Northeastern Mediterranean (“Musa Dagh—Kessab—Dört-Yol”) as part of the UCLA International Conference Series on Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces, University of California, Los Angeles, 29 February-1 March 2008. For orally-transmitted Musa Dagh tales, see also Sona Zeitlian, compiler and cultivator, Musa Leran Zhoghovrtagan Hekiatner (Folk Tales of Musa Dagh) (Beirut: Hamazkayin “Wahe Sethian” Press, 1973); Verzhine Svazlyan, Musa Ler (Musa Dagh), (Yerevan: Armenian SSR Academy of Sciences, 1984); Tovmas Habeshian, Musa-Daghi Babenagan Artzakankner (Ancestral Echoes of Musa Dagh) (Beirut: Erepuni Press, 1986), pp. 160-62; idem, Hishadagaran Musa-Leran Parpari (Colophon of the Musa Dagh Dialect) (N.P.: n.p., 1993).
  • [31] Isgender Mardirian, letter to the author, 12 December 1977.
  • [32] Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia Archives, Antelias, Lebanon, (hereafter ACC), File 22/1, Jebel Musa-Svedia 1920-1940 (Musa Dagh-Svedia 1920-1940), Fr. Vartan Varteresian to Catholicos Sahag II, 8 May 1924.
  • [33] Suriagan Mamul, 5 August 1924.
  • [34] Mardirian, letter.
  • [35] SuriaganMamul, 5 August 1924.
  • [36] Mardirian, letter.
  • [37] “Arshin Mal Alan (operetta),” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, web, retrieved 23 December 2012.
  • [38] Arshin Mal Alan (The Cloth Peddler), (Boston, MA: Baykar Press, 1924), p. 4.
  • [39] ACC, File 22/1, Fr. Vartan Varteresian to Catholicos Sahag II, 8 October 1925.
  • [40] Interview with Kevork Kerekian, 15 August 1977, Anjar, Lebanon.
  • [41] “If Not That One, Then This One,” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, retrieved 23 December 2012.
  • [42] Mardirian, letter.
  • [43] Suriagan Mamul, 5 March 1922.
  • [44] Ibid., 13 July 1924.
  • [45] Ibid., 26 November 1924.
  • [46] AMCC, Hnchagian Gusagtsutiun, Dedrag, minutes of the Sixth Delegates’ Meeting of Musa Dagh SDHP, 11 September 1930, Yoghunoluk; minutes of the Seventh Delegates’ Meeting of Musa Dagh SDHP, 25 December 1932, Kheder Beg.
  • [47] Husaper, 25 March 1922.
  • [48] Ibid., 13 June 1925.
  • [49] Arev, 28 August 1922.
  • [50] Antranig Urfalian, Gianki me Hedkerov (On a Life’s Traces) (Palm Springs, CA: Haig’s Printing, 1990), p. 17.
  • [51] M. M. Keoroghluian, “Bitiastan Khaberler” (News from Bitias), Nor Avedaper (New Herald) (Aleppo) 2:10 (26 May 1929): 366-67.
  • [52] Telephone interview with Alberta Magzanian, 16 December 2012, Granada Hills, California-Olney, Maryland.
  • [53] Ararad (Beirut), 4 March 1938.
  • [54] Interview with Movses Makhulian, 10 August 1977, Anjar, Lebanon.
  • [55] Piunig (Phoenix) (Beirut), 7 May 1924.
  • [56] Interview with Makhulian.
  • [57] Interview with Azniv Makhulian, 10 August 1977, Anjar, Lebanon.
  • [58] Interview with Bedros Frankian, 8 July 1977, Anjar, Lebanon.
  • [59] Interview with Movses Makhulian.
  • [60] Sara Kendirjian Kerkezian, letter to the author, postmarked 19 November 1991.
  • [61] Interview with Anna Kendirjian, 19 July 1977, Anjar, Lebanon.
  • [62] Shemmassian, letter.
  • [63] John Kerkezian, email to the author, 20 April 2010.