About Pravda

By Bohdan Horbal - as published in "Karpatska Rus'," Yonkers, NY March 4, 1994, Vol. LXVII, #5

On February 2, 1902 several Carpatho-Rusyn activists, led by Victor P. Hladyk (born 1888 in the village of Kun'kova, Lemkovyna, died 1946), met in New York City and decided to publish "a real Russian newspaper". Money was borrowed to purchase a printing press and the first issue appeared on March 24, 1902 (the old calendar). In the beginning it was difficult to acquire readership for the newspaper. The Second General Convention of the Russian Brotherhood Organization of the USA (R.B.O.) in September 1903 named Pravda its official publication and bought it from Hladyk for $400. In May of 1906 the newspaper was moved to Olyphant, Pennsylvania where the Rev. Feofan A. Obushkevych (born in 1841 in the village of Zhdynia, Lemkovyna - died 1924) became editor. The next editor was I. Lutsyk , who started publishing calendars of the RBO. The first calendar for the year 1909 appeared in 1908. M.P. Balandjuk briefly served as Pravda's editor; subsequently his post was offered to Ilja Hojnjak (born in the village of Ustja Ruske, Lemkovyna; died ??). At that time another Lemko - D. Salej became manager. From the 4th of February 1919 this post was assumed by Dymitrij Protsyk, who managed Pravda very well for over ten years. The 12th General Convention of the RBO, in June of 1921, placed the editorial post once again, in the hands of Hladyk. A recent immigrant from Lemkovyna - Symeon Pyzh (born 1894 in the village Vapenne - died 1957) was the next one to assume the post of editor. Except for the period of March 1925 to August 1926, when the editorial staff was led by Symeon Bendasluk, Pyzh remained in this post for over ten years.

Up to the early thirties Pravda consisted of four pages and was published twice weekly (Tuesday and Friday). There were plans to produce it daily but these plans were never realized. After World War II, Pravda became a weekly and soon thereafter, a monthly. In 1927 a single issue of Pravda cost 3 cents.

News was published on the front page, including the most important information concerning Carpatho-Rusyns, and the whole eastern Slavic region. The second page carried articles and two or three editorials dealing exclusively with Carpatho-Rusyn church, social and political life in America as well as in the "Old Country." Probably the most interesting of these was the regular feature "Letters from the Old Country." The third and fourth pages consisted of financial reports of the RBO and other organizational affairs. Advertisements included both ethnic Rusyn and non-Rusyn businesses.

The New York Public Library, thanks to the Carpatho-Ruthenian Microfilm Project has an almost complete run of Pravda (call number ZAN-Q1208). Unfortunately the first available issue dates from December 4, 1917. From this date the collection is almost complete, without gaps, until 1975.

Pravda published ethnic community "calendars" Illjustrovanyj Amerikansko-Russkij Kalendar, which ran 200-250 pages. It carried a wide variety of articles including religious material, social and political commentary and folk literature, as well as excerpts from 19th century Rusyn, Ukrainian and Russian literature.

Amerikansko- Russkij Kalendar is also available in the New York Public Library thanks to the Carpatho-Ruthenian Microfilm Project (call number ZAN-Q1171.) Unfortunately this collection is not as complete as the Pravda collection. The following volumes can be found on microfilm: 1925, 1928-1933, 1940, 1943, and 1950. Not on microfilm, but in their original form are the following issues: 1909, 1912, 1914, 1920-1922, and 1924 (call number QGAA). Taken together, these two sets give us a collection in which, between the years of 1909 and 1940, only the following are still missing: 1910,1913, 1915-1919, 1926-1927 and 1934-1939.

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