Author, activist, and entrepreneur Bedros Arakel Keljik (1874–1959) belonged to the founding generation of Armenian-American authors, yet his “sketches” of early immigrant life are only now emerging. In Armenian-American Sketches, he brings to life this period in Armenian-American history. With keen observation, he provides the reader with an often-humorous insight into that life, with its sadness and joy, with the sense of community, and with the hard work and challenges faced by the immigrants.
Edited by Christopher Atamian, Lou Ann Matossian, and Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Armenian-American Sketches includes 29 short stories written originally in Armenian by Bedros Keljik. Twenty of the short stories, published in the original book that appeared in 1944, were translated by Aris Sevag, the prolific late translator, one by Lou Ann Matossian, and eight stories originally published in Baikar, were translated by Vartan Matiossian. The volume also includes an enlightening biography of Keljik, “An Armenian Odyssey: From the Euphrates to the Mississippi,” written by his grandchildren, Mark and Thomas Keljik. Roupen Zartarian’s short story “How Death Came to the Earth,” translated by Bedros Keljik, is also part of the volume.