AHEPA, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, the foremost Greek-American fraternal organization, has created a new website dedicated to the rich history of the group as part of its upcoming centennial commemorations in 2022.
The new site, called ahepahistory.org, showcases the historical events that shaped the Greek-American experience over the many decades of its existence. Digitizing its vast collections has now made it possible for anyone to access its records, including historical photographs, documents and artifacts.
Digitized historical holdings to be shared with universities
Digitized copies of AHEPA historical holdings will now be sent to a number of universities, which will enable scholars to search and discover the rich history of the organization and the history of the Greek-American experience as well.
AHEPA officials state that the overall goal of the AHEPA History Project is to digitize and make available as much as possible prior to the organization’s centennial next year.
“What Greek Americans confronted, experienced, and accomplished is simply astounding,” AHEPA Supreme President Horiates states. “We are proud to launch ahepahistory.org as a service to the community and to all who have a vested interest in the history of the Greek-American community.
“Woven into the history of America”
“AHEPA is woven into the fabric of America. Throughout the span of our nearly 100-year history, AHEPA has served as a vital vehicle for the progressive development and emergence of American citizens of Greek heritage in every facet of society. The website demonstrates this evolution and the contributions of Greek-Americans to society.
Many documents are already online, including the book titled “History of the Order of AHEPA 1922 – 1972” by George J. Leber.
The volume, commemorating AHEPA’s Golden Anniversary in 1972, “was published by the fraternity as a service to its membership, and in recognition of those early pioneers of AHEPA to whom we owe so much for their dedicated service and devotion to the mission and principles of the fraternity,” according to the organization.
Bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence in 2021
In addition, officials say, additional images and videos have been added to the web version of the original book, making the history come alive for a new generation.
Since 2021 marks the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence, and the AHEPA-published book titled “The 1821 Greek War of Independence and America’s Contributions to the Greek Cause” has now also been digitized, the project is especially timely.
This book, originally published in 1971, recounts America’s contributions to the Greek struggle for independence. George Leber, the book’s editor, compiled this historical account in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Greek War of Independence.
A modernized, downloadable PDF version of this book has also been published.
Biographies have added visual and audiovisual content
Using information from the book “History of the Order of AHEPA 1922 – 1972,” a series of biographies have been augmented with additional content (including images, videos, newspaper clippings and the link, according to the organization. Additional biographies will also be posted online as they become available.
AHEPA is currently raising funds for the additional digitization of documents and their transformation into e-books. AHEPA officers estimate that they will need to raise $150,000 to make its foundational historical record of the history of the order into such a book.
While it is already available as a PDF, the organization believes it should also be offered as an e-book as well.
The Greek-American fraternal organization also has as a goal the digitization of all its AHEPAN magazines going back to the year 1929.
Other magazines, newsletters and publications such as The AHEPA Voice and the AHEPA Herald are also in the works for digitization, according to the organization.