Bulgarian Primer: For Elementary Schools


Tadei Divichian (1810-78) was an Armenian publisher in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul). He was fluent in five languages, including Bulgarian. In 1844 he purchased a modern printing press from the American missionaries in Constantinople and set up his own business, which specialized in printing in a number of different alphabets, including both the Church Slavic and the civil script used by Bulgarians at the time, a form of Cyrillic adapted to Bulgarian that resulted from the influence of Russian printed books. Divichian published many important works during the Bulgarian National Revival era, including the first issues of the second Bulgarian newspaper ever published, Tsarigradski vestnik (Constantinople herald). Divichian was eventually arrested for his Bulgarian activities by the Ottoman authorities, who closed his publishing house in 1874. Presented here is an early Bulgarian primer that contains alphabets, syllables, several of Aesop's fables, and some religious pieces for reading practice. Only about a dozen other primers appeared in Bulgarian between 1824 and 1847, but by the end of the 1840s primers became a very popular genre of publication. Most were produced by Bulgarian educators. In 1859 Divichian wrote and printed his own primer for Bulgarian children. As the literary language and orthography were being hotly debated at the time, different primers used different representations of the alphabet. It is likely that this anonymously written primer was produced with the support of American Protestant missionaries, as Tadei Divichian published many titles for the American mission in Constantinople. One of the practice examples for words of four syllables is A-me-ri-ka. The copy presented here is from the library of Nikola Nachov (1859‒1940), an important Bulgarian literary figure.

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Typographers of Tadei Divichian, Tsarigrad


Title in Original Language

Букварь болгарскїй :За началны-те ѹчилища

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Physical Description

32 pages ; 16 centimeters

Last updated: September 29, 2017