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Gurgen Grigor’evich Sevak (1904–1981) was a Georgian-born Soviet Armenian linguist and Esperantist. His enduring fascination with the constructed language began in 1921, when he was still based in Tbilisi and took a course with retired general A. P. Andreev. He embarked on giving lectures, teaching courses, translating from Armenian and Georgian into Esperanto, and publishing articles about the movement. In 1923, Sevak was elected secretary of the Tbilisi-based Caucasian Esperanto Society. In 1924, he settled in Yerevan, where he studied at the university and would organize and preside over the Armenian Union of Esperantists, later serving as secretary of the Soviet Republican Esperanto Union (SEU). In 1926, he attended the international Esperanto congress in Leningrad. By the late 1920s, he was elected to the Lingva komitato, the highest linguist body of the Esperanto movement, which later became the Akademio de Esperanto (Academy of Esperanto). In 1930, Sevak authored a textbook of Esperanto for Armenians and he translated regularly for a number of Esperanto journals, in addition to producing original literary works in Esperanto. Sevak witnessed the golden era of Esperanto in the Caucasus, prior to World War II, and also helped the movement rebuild its momentum in the post-war period. In 1958, Sevak started a monthly bulletin entitled “Armena Esperantisto” (an issue of which is included in the present group), but due to political circumstances he was unable to continue it. In addition to his long-standing engagement for Esperanto culture and international activism, Sevak was also a leading authority in the history of modern Armenian, as well as Georgian-Armenian cultural relations.
The books in this collection appear to be a significant portion of Sevak’s library of Esperanto textbooks, scholarly works, and literature in Esperanto, both translations and original work. They are especially strong in holdings pertaining to the Russian movement and Esperanto in the Caucasus, but also include a large number of publications from Paris, Leipzig, and other Western centers of Esperanto publishing, in addition to several examples from Asia. Also included are personal documents, photographs from Esperanto gatherings, and correspondence from Esperantists abroad addressed to Sevak. Most books feature Sevak’s owner inscription and the date the book was acquired or received, sometimes along with the place. Many titles are not, or only scarcely, held in North American institutional libraries.
Book ID: 52048