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Posts Tagged ‘Armenia’

As a cataloging librarian, one of the questions I’m often asked about my job is “do you have to read a lot of the book (thesis, script, video…) when you catalog it?” The answer is usually “no” because most published materials have helpful indexes, tables of contents, blurbs, or external reviews to help sort out the subject matter. (Most librarians will tell you that a very long “to read someday” list is an occupational hazard, because we don’t have time to read all the cool things we see every day.) Cataloging unpublished manuscripts is a little different, requiring more skimming and historical detective work (of the type I discussed in a blog post from last year). Last week I cataloged an unpublished manuscript that was entirely hand-written. Deciphering that much handwriting was a first for me, and fascinating!

Rev. Royal Merriman Cole graduated from Amherst College in 1866 at the age of 27.¹ In the summer of 1868 he graduated from Bangor Theological Seminary, married Eliza Cobleigh (who had attended Mt. Holyoke Seminary), was ordained by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and set sail from New York on August 15. They arrived in Erzroom (Erzurum), Turkey, on Sept. 30, 1868. Cole wrote in an 1873 letter to an Amherst professor: “I was able to take hold of the language with great earnestness, and have, I feel, succeeded beyond my best expectations. In six months I preached my first regular sermon…written in full, in the Armenian character. From that time on I have used simple notes and have now come to speak with about as much freedom, I think, as I should in English. Of course I have not so wide a range of words.”

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