The Rabaul and Vunapope Mission Press in New Britian

You never know what you will find in a box of old books. Most of the items were ready to go to Goodwill on the off chance that the old books would find a good home rather than be shredded. Picking up one small volume with a cloth cover that was almost detached I looked at the title. I found it strange that while it looked like I could read it, it was just not right.

A find from the bottom of the box

Prompted by the unexpected, I dove further into the mass of discarded, damp books, many lacked their covers, their signatures falling apart. Soon at the bottom of another box I came up with a second volume.

The second nugget

On looking closer at the title pages, I was surprised to find that these small books, lost amongst the rest, had an interesting story. They were printed at a small mission press on the island of New Britain in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.

The mission press survived different colonial occupations and two world wars. How these two small volumes made it to eastern Washington is a mystery but they open a window to another place and time.

Read more about the Mission.

Read more about the press.

Worldcat: Neither book is listed in the Worldcat catalog.

  • Title: A buk ai ra umana kateket ta ra Vikariat Rabaul
  • Publisher: Vunapope [Rabaul] : Catholic Mission, 1928
  • Language: Pigin
  • Setting: Pre WWII East New Britian
  • DLWA Call Number: BX 1966 .T6 K38 1928
  • Title: A buk na Niararingi : Bitokara Vikariat Apostolik Rabaul
  • Publisher: Vunapope [Rabaul] : Catholic Mission, 1932
  • Language: Pigin
  • Setting: Pre WWII East New Britian
  • DLWA Call Number: BX 1966 .T6 K38 1932


Hamaynapatker Viennakan Mkhitʻarean Hayreru krtʻakan gortsunēutʻean

Today’s featured books are two volumes from the set “Hamaynapatker Viennakan Mkhitʻarean Hayreru krtʻakan gortsunēutʻean”.

Our library has volumes 2 and 3 of the three volume set that provides an Overview of the educational activities of the Mekhitarists of Vienna by Epʻrem LinkPōghosean. This is an interesting find from a WSU surplus sale.

Tom Vartabedian provides more information on the subject of this series:

    The Mekhitarist monastery is located in the heart of Vienna, Austria, on a street named after it.

    It is here where a cadre of Armenian Catholic Fathers has gathered since the late 18th century to preserve Armenian culture and literature, preach to the faithful, heighten the spiritual and intellectual development of the Armenian people, and educate its youth.

    It is here that a prominent religious order has contributed greatly toward bringing Armenians to the forefront of European thought through publications in Latin, French, German, Italian, and English.

Tom was able to “lend a hand in the library, which contained over 170,000 books.”

Mekhitarist Monastery Library

The Mekhitarist library in Vienna, with Father Nerses Akinian at study

The Armenian culture deserves to be remembered and preserved. These volumes provide a history of the Mekhitarist Vienna Mission that is the center of much of that preservation.

Hamaynapatker Viennakan

DLWA Call Number: LC443.T8 P645 2008 Link

  • Title: Hamaynapatker Viennakan Mkhitʻarean Hayreru krtʻakan gortsunēutʻean
  • Language: Armenian
  • Setting: Armenian Vienna.