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The Armenian In America By Stepan Partamian

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ISBN- 978-0-9849863-2-3
2.50 LBS
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The Armenian in America, a groundbreaking book of photographs, to be released Monday October 15, 2012

The Armenian in America, an unprecedented volume of photographs documenting Armenian life across the United States, will be published this month.

Featuring close to 600 photographs with captions, The Armenian in America has been in the making for the past four years. The volume is the work of Stepan Partamian, who traveled throughout America in search of Armenian landmarks and establishments, as well as p

ublic signs containing Armenian references.

Starting in 2009, when the project was announced, Partamian meticulously researched the destinations he was to document, and embarked on successive road trips which encompassed most of the continental United States. In addition to his preliminary research, the author met with Armenian communities in various states, both to gain fresh insight into local histories and gather further information on Armenian landmarks worthy of inclusion in the book. 

Partamian ended up taking thousands of photographs of Armenian sites and signs, which were eventually distilled into The Armenian in America — a full-color, 184-page volume documenting Armenian life in every state with an Armenian community, from Arizona to Washington, DC.

“The main reason that this project came about is that I’m not interested in the mere preservation of Armenian culture, but rather believe in nurturing and celebrating its creative energies, its wonderful potential,” Partamian said. “While we Armenian-Americans claim to be proud of our long history in America, most of us don’t know the first thing about Armenian communities beyond the cities or counties in which we live, let alone communities in far-flung states. As I discovered in the past four years, there is a breathtaking diversity of Armenian life in the United States.”

“I sought to document the dazzling tapestry of Armenian-American culture not only given the fact that, amazingly, no one had yet attempted a project of this type, but because I wanted to share the multifaceted nature of our cultural footprint with fellow Armenians, the young generation in particular,” Partamian continued. “Collectively, Armenians suffer from either the superiority complex of a glorious past, or the inferiority complex of a victimized nation. My hope is that, through an initiative like The Armenian in America, our compatriots will form a clearer idea of the extent of our presence and accomplishments in this land, and rightfully feel a sense of shared achievement.”

The Armenian in America comprises photographs of Armenian institutions and establishments such as churches, schools, community centers, and businesses; landmarks such as statues, khachkars (stone crosses), Genocide monuments, war-veteran memorials, and various memorial plaques; and public signs such as Armenian street and highway names; and even Armenian flags placed in front of public buildings.

Partamian’s photographs reveal a wealth of factoids about Armenian-American history. In Ocala, Florida, for instance, the author came across two Armenian churches facing each other, one affiliated with the See of Antelias and one with the See of Echmiadzin. Although the two churches remain Armenian-community-owned, both are rented to non-Armenian congregations, indicating that Armenian church services are no longer held in these houses of worship. 

In California, Partamian came across the town of Yettem, the only one in the United States with an Armenian name. In Connecticut, he photographed a sign of the Antranig Ozanian Memorial Highway, as well as the memorial stone of Haroutune Daghlian, a physicist with the Manhattan Project who had accidentally irradiated himself in 1945. While in Virginia, Partamian searched for the grave or a memorial of Martin the Armenian, one of the first settlers of the Jamestown Colony. As the author’s search turned up nothing, he looked for and found an extraordinary-looking tree and dedicated it to Martin the Armenian, commenting that, just like the Armenian people, the tree would grow and wither, but certainly give rise to new shoots. 

The publication of The Armenian in America comes on the heels of a series of books by Partamian documenting the contributions of Armenians to American Civilization. In Yes, We Have and its sequel, Yes, We Have Too as well as an Armenian version, titled Ayo, Menk enk, Partamian has documented the contributions of hundreds of Armenian-Americans to their adopted homeland, in fields ranging from science, technology, and literature to politics, journalism, and sports. 

Partamian said that just as proceeds from the sale of the Yes, We Have series have helped fund the publication of The Armenian in America, proceeds from the sale of the latter volume will benefit his next major project, the making and publication of The Armenian in the World. 

A sweeping photographic survey of Armenian institutions, landmarks, and signs across the entire globe, The Armenian in the World will be published just before April 2015, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Medz Yeghern.

The Armenian in America, priced at $40, will be available for purchase at Armenian bookstores and online at TheArmenian.com

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