Hovhannes Toumanian was very interested in various sciences, including geology. The writer's birthplace, Lori, is rich in natural minerals. Emphasizing their study, he often expressed the desire of one of his sons to become a geologist. "Lori has a great future - it is a country rich in minerals. Study geology to create something in our country, to make a profit, otherwise foreigners will use it. The French have become the owners of the Alaverdi copper mine," he used to say to his eldest son Mushegh.
In January 1914 Hovhannes Karapetyan, a geologist who graduated from the University of Liege, visited the poet. Toumanian had a very high opinion of him. Later, in 1937, with the initiative of Karapetyan, under his direct leadership, a Museum of Geology was to be established in Yerevan, which is today named after an honored figure of science.
During a long professional conversation, Toumanian showed the guest the samples brought from the mines of Lori Dzagh canyon. His enthusiasm was so great that he decided to apply to explore and use those mines.
Probably the result of this enthusiasm is the presence of mine collections, thematic albums, and relevant literature samples in his personal collection, which are kept in the Hovhannes Toumanian Museum in Yerevan.
One of the exhibits is the "Ural-Siberian Ore Collection" (Коллекция уральских и сибирских минералов).
This book type box contains 50 types of ore samples with appropriate numbering. The size of the box is 26x37x2.5. There are traces of Toumanian's personal library stamp on the box. On May 25, 1981 the collection was purchased from the Toumanian family for 500 rubles. It is registered in the main fund of the museum: TTGG 859 / WB 977.
The next exhibit is the "Collection of ores and rocks" ("Коллекция минералов и горных пород "). The box includes 50 types of ore samples with appropriate numbering. The size of the box is 26x37x2.5. A copy of the exclusive collection of postcards issued by the World Postal Union is attached to the cover. This collection of postcards was published in 1900-1917, where the Chusovaya River belonging to the Caspian Sea basin was presented. The aim of the series was to draw attention to the issue of the endangerment of the river as a result of careless and improper exploitation of nearby mines and factories. Years later, screenwriter Roman Tenzin was to address all of this in his documentary «Чусовая – забытая река великого будущего» (Chusovaya - the forgotten river of a glorious future).
The box of the collection of ores belonging to Tօumanian contains the 326th of a series of postcards, which depict the view of the village of Utkinski Zavod.
There is a guide-booklet attached, published in 1914, in Yekaterinburg, In the A. R. Weltz publishing house. The booklet is entitled: «Коллекция минералов, расположенная по систем ДЭНА, и горных пород» . J. D. Dana is an American geologist and zoologist who has developed a special system for classifying ores according to their chemical composition. And according to the order of the above division, the samples presented in the box are classified into nine groups. I. Natural elements - 1.Copper, 2.Graphite, II. Sulfur compounds - 3.Lead, 4.Pyrite, III.Chloride compound - 7.Halite, 8.Fluorescent etc.
The rocks are presented separately. They include samples of numbers 37-50 in the box: 37. Limestone, 38. Marble, 40. Alabaster, etc. It is marked with a pen on the booklet for grades 1-3. There is also the seal of Toumanian's personal library.
The collection is included in the main fund of the museum: TTGG 859 / WB 978.
The third such collection includes 150 samples of ores. The size of the box is 35x45x3. On May 25, 1981 the collection was purchased from the Toumanian family for 500 rubles. It is registered in the main fund of the museum: TTGG 859 / WB 976.
On the bamboo shelf of the writer's office we can also see the collection of Armenian marble, which is a gift from Hovhannes Karapetyan to Hovhannes Toumanian. The exhibit presents marbles of 10 different sizes, shapes and colors, found in Armenia: dark red, dark brown, yellow, green, etc., 7x8x14 cm. It is in the main fund of the museum: TTGG 81 / WB 217.
At the same place we also see a beautiful piece of white coral, 3.5x7x2 cm; TTGG 346 / WB 221:
The two wonderful exhibits are donations to the museum by the poet's widow Olga Toumanian.
Toumanian's interest in ores and stones was also expressed through the creation of a game. The person who is always concerned about the education of children considers the game to be the greatest methodological tool of upbringing. On that occasion, he said. "Science, art, literature – everything a child should learn from childhood, and most importantly, learn through play to be easy and fun. Everything in life is a game and fun and the most serious thing in life should be seen as a game. Then people will learn something, create something with pleasure." In 1915 a number of patriotic educational games were born, among which "Precious Stones".
Through the game the child and not only, gets acquainted with a large family of precious and semi-precious stones, garnets, corundum, sea stones. There is an attachment-booklet attached to the game, which was composed by Toumanian's son Artavazd. The booklet discusses the use of precious stones as a talisman since ancient times. One or two quotes: "According to the ancients, the precious stone had an effect on health, beauty, wealth, honor, luck and success, and was kept as a talisman." Or "It is said that Pushkin also believed a lot in emerald, he had an emerald ring on his finger, and considered a huge connection between emerald and his talent".
The booklet deals with the scientific approaches to the stones, their chemical and physical compositions, which contradict the opinions of miners. Of course it is in common language. For example, "several golden stones are called topaz, but they are different stones; on the contrary, blue sapphire and red ruby were considered completely different stones, while they are species of the same mine, corundum, which got different colors by chance."
At the end of the booklet is the Armenian and Russian dictionary of precious stones in the game.
A separate section in the poet's personal library is the books on natural sciences, which he collected in his 3rd cupboard. Sample literature on ores is available:
Бетанов М.С. О кавказском мраморном ониксе, - Тифлис, 1901, 48с. (3-194):
Гайек Г. Большой зоологический, ботанический и минералогический атлас, - Варшава, 1894 (3-351):
Гюрих Г. Минеральное царство: СПб., 1904 (3-5):
Шмидт Петр Юльевич, Царство растений и царство минералов: СПб., А. Ф. Девриен, 1896 (3-330):
Article by Ani Eghizaryan
Translated by Anahit Sringyan