This Week in Armenian History

Death of Yetvart Boyajian (October 13, 1966)

Yetvart Boyajian, poet and story writer from Lebanon, was a well-known name in the literature of the Armenian Diaspora in the 1940s-1960s.  

He was born on April 9, 1915, in the village of Khederbek in the region of Musa Dagh. He was three months old, when the Armenian population of the six villages surrounding the mountain refused the orders of deportation and climbed the mountain to resist the attacks of the Ottoman regular troops. 

After the French warships rescued the Musa Dagh population, they transported them to Port Said (Egypt), where the Boyajian family lived until the end of the war. They relocated to Khederbek, where the future writer received his elementary education in the school of the village and the nearby village of Oghun-Oluk. 

In 1930, Boyajian was sent to Beirut, to the recently opened Armenian Lyceum of Hamazkayin (Jemaran), where he received his secondary education. He was still a high school student when he started publishing his literary works in the Hairenik monthly of Boston and daily newspapers Haratch of Paris and Aztag of Beirut. 

In 1935, he started his career as a teacher, which he would continue until the end of his life. He taught in various places, from the village of Tel-Abyad in Siria, to Khederbek. After the evacuation of the Musa Dagh villages in 1939, he taught at the newly founded village of Anjar, and then in Aleppo, Kesab, and Beirut. Along with teaching, Boyajian continued his writing, contributing actively to the Armenian press in Lebanon and Syria. In 1962, he was part of the founding editorial board of the monthly Pakin in Beirut. 

His first volume of poetry, Love and Sadness, appeared in 1944. It was followed by several volumes of prose, among them The Soil (1948), Letter to My Children (1961), and The Exile’s Logbook (1963). His prose reflected the lost land and the people who had lived and been forged there, as well as their values and thoughts.  

Yetvart Boyajian passed away on October 13, 1966, at the age of 51, in Beirut. His volume Profiles, which gathered essays about medieval and modern Armenian writers, was posthumously published in the same year. Other books were published later: Works (1968), Lost Birthplace (1984), Anthology (1994), From the Shores of Life (1995), and You (2005). A public school of Yerevan bears his name, and it remains under the sponsorship of the Yetvart and Araxi Boyadjian Fund of the Eastern Prelacy.