For more than three decades, James Mandalian was a dominant name in the Armenian American press as the founding editor of two longstanding publications, Hairenik Weekly and The Armenian Review.
He was born Hagop Mandalian in the village of Ovajuk, near Bardizag (Nicomedia, nowadays Ismit), in Asia Minor, on December 22, 1888. He moved to the United States at the turn of the twentieth century, when he was still a teenager. He obtained a B.A. in Education at Union College in Nebraska and then pursued advanced studies of history at the University of Nebraska. He taught at high schools in that state until he moved to Boston, where he earned a M.A. in History from the graduate school of Harvard University. He later studied Pharmacology and obtained his certification to practice, but soon joined Hairenik, which in early 1934 launched its English weekly, then called Hairenik Weekly, which would become The Armenian Weekly in 1969.
James Mandalian was the first editor of Hairenik Weekly, a position that he maintained for thirty-six years until his retirement in 1970. He also was was the first Executive Secretary of the Armenian Youth Federation (originally known as A.R.F. Tzeghagron until 1941) and authored its booklet Highlights of Armenian History (1938). He also wrote two other booklets, Who are the Dashnags? A Reply to the “Propaganda Battlefront” (1944) and What Do the Armenians Want? (1946), and translated Simon Vratzian’s Armenia and the Armenian Question (1943). In 1948, he became the first editor of another Hairenik publication, Armenian Review, until 1969. Besides his editorial work at the helm of both publications, he was also a prolific translator, with many works of Armenian literature translated into English on his account. He also produced a booklet, The Transcaucasian Armenia Irredenta (1961) and an abridged version of the seven-volume memoirs of Rouben Ter Minassian, entitled Armenian Freedom Fighters and published in 1963.
Mandalian was also a frequent contributor to the Armenian-language publication of Hairenik, the Hairenik daily (now weekly) and the Hairenik monthly, as well as various publications of the Diaspora. He published a book in Armenian on the Vartanantz war (1954).
After his retirement, James Mandalian became editor emeritus of the Hairenik publications from 1970 until his passing on October 13, 1973.