Armenian Americans

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Armenian Americans

Harold Takooshian


Armenian Americans are immigrants or descendants of people from the Republic of Armenia, a country located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. Armenia is bordered on the north and east by Georgia and Azerbaijan, and on the south and west by Iran and Turkey. Located on the northeastern portion of the Armenian Plateau, Armenia is a mountainous country with nearly half of its area at 6,562 feet above sea level and containing small forests, rivers, and volcanoes. Armenia's total land area is 11,484 square miles (29,743 square kilometers), which is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland.

At the time of the 2011 census conducted by the National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia, Armenia had a population of 2,871,509 people. The vast majority of Armenians practice Christianity, with over 90 percent of the population belonging to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Armenian economy ranks 134th in the world, owing largely to the lingering effects of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and its dependence on other countries for oil and gas. However, since the late 1990s Armenia's economy has gradually stabilized as the growth of the telecommunications industry and the privatization of energy-distribution industries and other enterprises throughout the country have secured outside investment in the economy. Even so, the Armenian economy still relies heavily upon remittances received from Armenians living abroad.

The first significant wave of Armenians came to the United States in the mid-1890s when Sultan Abdülhamid II began large-scale persecution of the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire. From 1895 to 1900 approximately 2,500 Armenians came to the United States each year, many from what is present-day Armenia but significant numbers from Turkey, Russia, and Syria, as well, because Abdülhamid had displaced numerous Armenians throughout the empire and exiled many others to points in the Middle East. Most of these immigrants settled in New York City, Boston, and other industrial cities along the mid-Atlantic seaboard and took whatever factory work they could find. Between 1965 and 1991 large numbers of Armenians came to United States from the Armenian expatriate communities in Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt in reaction to recurring Arab-Israeli violence. Others came from Romania and Bulgaria to escape ethnic prejudice. Members of the latter waves of immigrants joined established communities in the East and in California. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, most Armenian immigrants to the United States have come from the Republic of Armenia.

The U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) estimates for 2006–2010 reported that 447,580 people of Armenian descent were living in the United States. Other organizations, such as the University of Michigan–Dearborn and the Armenian National Committee of America, offer estimates ranging between 800,000 and 1,500,000. According to the ACS, the largest number of Americans of Armenian descent were residing in California (241,323). States with smaller, but significant, populations of Armenian Americans included Massachusetts (28,471), New York (24,803), Michigan (17,345), New Jersey (15,816), and Florida (13,446).


Early History Over the course of the first millennium BCE, the Armenian people built a high civilization in Asia Minor, along trade routes connecting Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East. The Armenians were known for their business acumen and artistic achievement. However, due to their location and their relatively sparse numbers, the Armenians were vulnerable to waves of invading Assyrian, Greek, Roman, and Persian conquerors. The Romans and Persians fought over the state of Armenia and the neighboring territory throughout the first four centuries of the Common Era, and later the Byzantines took control of the area until Muslim invaders arrived in 651 CE.

Although the exact date is disputed, it is known that sometime early in the fourth century CE, the state of Armenia became the first to adopt Christianity as its national religion, some twenty years before the emperor Constantine declared it the state religion of the Roman Empire. A century later, however, Armenia came under Persian rule, and when the Persian ruler Yazdegerd II attempted to suppress Christianity, Armenia's small army defiantly stood Page 152  |  Top of Articlefirm to defend its faith. At the Battle of Avarair in 451, Persia's victory over the Armenian Christians proved so costly that it finally allowed Armenians to maintain their religious freedom.

The Armenians maintained their religious freedom in the following centuries as the surrounding area came under the influence of various Turkic Muslim leaders. When European Crusaders in the twelfth century entered the Near East, they found prosperous Armenian communities living among the Muslims while also maintaining the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and other Christian sites. Under 400 years of Ottoman Turkish rule (1512–1908), the Christian Armenian minority were an industrious, educated elite within the sultan's empire. They were known for their exceptionally high rate of literacy, success in business, and taste in art. Nevertheless, because they were Christians, Armenians were treated as second-class citizens by the Ottoman aristocracy. In 1894 this abiding prejudice transformed into open hostility, as Sultan Abdülhamid II initiated a series of purges against the Armenians, killing over 100,000 in a two-year period and sending countless others into exile in the Middle East and Russia. Those that remained lived in hiding throughout Turkey.

Modern Era After fighting with the Russians and the Persians steadily for three centuries, the Ottoman Empire fell in 1908, giving way to the Committee of Union and Progress, a secular nationalist group commonly known as the Young Turks, a group that deeply mistrusted the Armenians. In 1909 they slaughtered between 15,000 and 20,000 Armenians living in Adana, an agricultural city in southern Turkey. In 1915 the Turkish government attempted to eradicate the Armenians, killing well over a million Armenians and exiling others throughout World War I and into the 1920s. This mass slaughter has since been called the Armenian genocide and is also known among Armenians as “the Great Crime.” Although the Armenians had been suffering at the hands of the Young Turks for many years prior to 1915, it is widely acknowledged that the Great Crime began on April 24, 1915, when the Young Turks assassinated 250 Armenian intellectuals in Constantinople. The mass extermination of able-bodied men and forced migrations of women and children to Syria began shortly thereafter.

On May 28, 1918, after a failed attempt at aligning in a federation with neighboring Georgia and Azerbaijan, Armenian nationalists formed the Democratic Republic of Armenia, which lasted for two years until Turkey declared war on Armenia in 1920 and took back land that it had lost in World War I. In November 1920, the Soviet army occupied Armenia, forcing the Turkish army to withdraw and formally incorporating Armenia, along with Georgia and Azerbaijan, into the Soviet Union in 1922. The three states were known collectively as the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (S.F.S.R.), and for almost fifteen years they benefited from Soviet protection without having to subscribe completely to the mandates of Soviet communism. That changed in 1936 when Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dissolved the Transcaucasian S.F.S.R., making the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (Armenian S.S.R.) the smallest of the Soviet Union's fifteen republics.

Protected from its neighbors and forced to manufacture goods for the U.S.S.R., Armenia benefited economically from Soviet rule to some extent. However, strong currents of nationalism persisted as the Soviets deprived Armenians of basic freedoms, such as speech and assembly, and as tension with Azerbaijan escalated over the mistreatment of the numerous ethnic Armenians living in that country. Nationalist sentiment became more fervent in the mid-1960s, when Armenians began to call the nations of the world to hold Turkey accountable for the Great Crime of 1915. By the late 1980s, Armenian nationalist were demanding statehood, primarily because of two events. First, in February 1988 hostility between Azerbaijanis and Armenians in Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region erupted into armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan that would displace thousands of Armenians over the course of six years. Second, in December of that year an earthquake struck northern Armenia, killing over 25,000 people, leaving another 500,000 homeless, and destroying the infrastructure of three industrial Armenian cities. In the aftermath, the international community recognized that the severity of the damage was due more to lax Soviet building and maintenance codes than to the force of the quake.

Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union on September 21, 1991—three months before Soviet Russia's collapse—and faced numerous challenges in its first two decades as a sovereign state. Initially the transition to a free-market economy was fraught with setbacks and corruption, but over the course of the 1990s, as more of the leading industries were privatized, Armenia secured foreign aid and benefited from the assistance of wealthy investors in the Armenian diaspora. Even so, economic progress has been tempered by internal and external political challenges. In the mid-1990s, after a tense ceasefire agreement ended the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994, Turkey and Azerbaijan imposed a blockade on Armenia that halted the flow of vital resources into the country. With its economy threatened by the blockade, Armenian politics turned hostile and eventually devolved into violence. On October 29, 1999, seven members of the opposition party, including the prime minister and the speaker of Parliament, were assassinated by a terrorist organization widely believed to be linked to then-president Robert Korcharyan. Korcharyan remained president until 2008, when he was succeeded by prime minister and political ally Serzh Sargsyan in what is widely recognized as a fraudulent election. In the spring of 2011, when a Page 153  |  Top of Articlerevolutionary wave known as the Arab Spring swept through the Middle East, Armenians followed suit. They openly protested the Sargsyan government and demanded democratic reforms, the release of political prisoners, and a public investigation into the government-sponsored violence that had occurred in 2008.


The first documented case of Armenian immigration to North America is the arrival of “Martin the Armenian,” who was brought as a farmer to the Virginia Colony by governor George Yeardley in 1618, two years before the pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock. It is believed that a few fellow Armenians may have followed this early settler, but in total the Armenian population in the colonies was negligible. Armenians began coming to the United States in small but steady numbers in the nineteenth century, when Protestant missionaries in the Ottoman Empire encouraged them to attend American colleges and return to Armenia to work as teachers and doctors (and thereby help them win more converts). About 70 of these students stayed in the United States. They were joined by a handful of Armenian businessmen who had left the Ottoman Empire with the hope of making a fortune in the United States. In the 1870s and 1880s about 1,500 Armenian artisans came to the United States from Kharpert, an overcrowded city in present-day Turkey, in search of a better market for their goods. Most of these immigrants settled in New York and Massachusetts.

For three decades, beginning in the mid-1890s and continuing through the mid-1920s, large numbers of Armenians came to the United States from points throughout the Ottoman Empire to escape persecution from the Turks. Tension between the Armenians and Turks began to escalate in the early 1890s when Armenians in Merzifon, Tokat, and Sason (all in present-day Turkey) began asking for social reforms that had recently been implemented among the Romanians, Bulgarians, Serbians, and others living in the western region of the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Abdülhamid II responded violently to Armenian protests, killing 10,000 demonstrators in Sason in 1894 and another 100,000 throughout the empire the following year. Armenians left the empire in massive numbers, fleeing to Russia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, northern Africa, the United States, and Canada. By 1900, when the Ottomans implemented restrictions making it difficult for Armenians to escape, well over 10,000 had immigrated to the United States, settling primarily in the East and working in steel factories, textile mills, and rubber-manufacturing plants.

Armenian immigration to the United States waned at the turn of the century, except for a small group of Armenian Protestants who came from Russia to escape religious persecution. Most of these immigrants ended up in Fresno, California, where they worked in agriculture. By 1914, when migration ceased due to the start of World War I, approximately 2,500 Armenians were living in the Fresno settlement. They sought to improve their circumstances as quickly as possible, many saving to buy a small plot of land to farm, others buying small vineyards and selling wine. Upon receiving word that prospects were good in California, some of those who had settled in the eastern United States also moved west and tried their hand at winemaking. They tended to stay in the Fresno area until the Great Depression, when falling prices forced them to move to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Armenian immigration to the eastern United States spiked again in 1910, when more than 5,000 Armenians came to the United States to escape persecution at the hands of the Young Turks, the nationalist government that had replaced the deposed caliphate in 1908. In 1913 more than 9,000 Armenians came to the United States as the Young Turks continued their anti-Armenian policies, which at the time included squeezing tax dollars out of Armenian businesspeople. During World War I (1914–1918), Armenian migration to the eastern United States came to a halt.

Unlike most immigrants to the United States at the turn of the century, the incoming Armenians were primarily literate urban dwellers who had a background in skilled labor or who had run their own businesses while they lived in the Ottoman Empire. When they came to the United States, they accepted unskilled work but sought to move up the socioeconomic ladder as quickly as possible. Many saved their money until they could open their own shops or moved to the Midwest to earn more money as wage laborers in the auto industry. Many of those who stayed in the East and opened their own shops ran grocery stores or meat markets, which were likely to turn a profit for anyone who had the money to start the business. Others started businesses in the trades they knew. There were many Armenian tailors, shoemakers, and rug sellers in the eastern United States.

Immediately after World War I, Armenians—mostly women and children who had spent the war years in camps in Syria, Greece, and Egypt—began coming to the United States in large numbers again, with over 10,000 arriving in 1920 alone and approximately 24,000 coming between 1920 and 1924. Migration halted again in 1924 with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, which many historians believe discriminated against migrants from Eastern Europe and Asia.

Armenians did not begin migrating to the United States again until 1948, when the passage of the Displaced Persons Act temporarily suspended quotas for peoples displaced by World War II and allowed 4,500 Armenian refugees to enter the country.

In 1965 the Nationality Act eliminated the quota system altogether and ushered in another wave of Armenian immigrants, most of them from expatriate

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CENGAGE LEARNING, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED U.S. Census Bureau, 2006–2010 American Community Survey

communities in the Middle East who were trying to escape the violence there. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Armenians left the Middle East in the 1960s and early 1970s looking for new homes in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Like the Armenians who came at the turn of the century, the members of this wave of Armenian immigrants were skilled laborers and businessmen who took what work they could find and tried immediately to improve their lot in the United States. While large numbers of these Armenians moved to New York City, they tended to avoid the other Armenian communities in New England and chose instead to move to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Since the 1975 Lebanese civil war, Los Angeles has replaced war-torn Beirut as the “first city” of the Armenian diaspora—the largest Armenian community outside of Armenia. The majority of Armenian immigrants to the United States since the 1970s has settled in greater Los Angeles, bringing the Armenian community's size there to around 200,000, according to American Community Survey estimates for 2006–2010. This includes some 30,000 Armenians who left Soviet Armenia between 1960 and 1984. In addition to New York and California, according to the American Community Survey, other states with large numbers of Armenian Americans include Massachusetts, Florida, New Jersey, and Michigan.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Armenian immigration to the United States increased again due to the Spitak earthquake in 1988, the Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988–1994), and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The 1990 U.S. Census counted 308,096 Americans who cited their ancestry as “Armenian,” up from 212,621 in 1980. Between 1992 and 1997, nearly 23,000 Armenians immigrated to the United States, according to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. According to the 2010 Census, 483,366 people identified as Armenian American, up from 385,488 in 2000.

Armenians possess one of the highest literacy rates of any immigrant group and have found success in nearly every field, from manufacturing and agriculture to technological and professional fields. Although many first- and second-generation Armenian Americans encountered financial hardships upon first immigrating to the United States, their children and grandchildren have experienced relative economic stability, with a poverty rate of close to 10 percent. Armenians continue to leave their country due to the unstable political and economic conditions, but as Armenia steadily adopts democratic reforms, members of the diaspora have been returning there, bringing their knowledge, skills, and money to the developing country.


The Armenian language is an independent branch of the Indo-European group of languages. Because it separated from its Indo-European origins thousands Page 155  |  Top of Articleof years ago, it is not closely related to any other existing language. Its syntactical rules make it a concise language, expressing much meaning in few words. One unique aspect of Armenian is its alphabet. When Armenians converted to Christianity in the early part of the fourth century, they had their own language but, with no alphabet, they relied on Greek and Assyrian for writing. In the first decade of the fifth century, Mesrob Mashtots (353–439), a scholarly monk, invented a 36-character alphabet and transcribed the Bible into Armenian. His efforts ushered in a golden age of literature in Armenia, and the nearby Georgians soon commissioned Mesrob to invent an alphabet for their language. Armenians today continue to use Mesrob's original 36 characters (now 38), and they regard him as a national hero.

The spoken Armenian of Mesrob's era has evolved over the centuries. This classical Armenian, called Krapar, is used now only in religious services. Modern spoken Armenian has two dialects. The slightly more guttural “Eastern” Armenian is used by Armenians still living in Armenia as well as those in Iran and in the post-Soviet nations. “Western” Armenian is common among Armenians in every other nation throughout the diaspora—in the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. With effort, speakers of the two dialects can understand each other's pronunciation, much the way Portuguese can comprehend Spanish.

First-generation Armenian Americans have tended to pick up English quickly, and second- and third-generation Armenian Americans have typically abandoned Armenian. In the early twentieth century, Armenian American parents spoke a hybrid of Armenian and English with their children that they called “kitchen Armenian.” The children tended to speak Armenian outside the home. Third-generation Armenians spoke almost no Armenian at all. Armenians in the diaspora community have begun to worry about the survival of their language and have made efforts to encourage their children to learn Armenian. Armenian is taught at several American colleges and universities, including Stanford University, Boston College, Harvard University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania. Library collections in the Armenian language may be found wherever there is a large Armenian American population. Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York, Detroit, and Cleveland public libraries all have good Armenian-language holdings.

Greetings and Popular Expressions Some common greetings and expressions in Armenian include the following: Parev—Hello; Inch bes es?—How are you? Pari louys—Good morning; Ksher pari—Good night; Pari janabar!—A good trip!; Hachoghootiun—Good luck; Pari ygak—Welcome; Ayo—Yes; Voch—No; Shnor hagalem—Thank you; Paree yegak—You're welcome; Abris!—Well done!; Oorish or ge desnevink—See you again; Shnor nor dari—Happy New Year; Shnor soorp dznoort—Merry Christmas; “Kristos har-yav ee merelots”—“Christ is risen!” (an Easter greeting); “Ortnial eh harutiun Kristosi!”—“Blessed is Christ risen!” (said in reply); Asvadz ortne kezi—God bless you; Ge sihrem kezi—I like you/it; Hye es?—Are you Armenian?


The Armenian Apostolic Church, an Oriental Orthodox Christian church, was founded in the first decade of the fourth century, when Gregory the Illuminator began converting large numbers of Armenians to Christianity. Despite these widespread conversions, members of the church consider Thaddeus and Bartholomew, two of Jesus's apostles believed to have proselytized in Armenia in the first century, to be the true founders of the church. Some historians, however, regard the apostles' visit to Armenia as myth or legend. Soon after his own conversion, King Tiridates III appointed Gregory as the first Catholicos, or head of the Armenian Church, and commissioned the building of a cathedral in Echmiadzin, Armenia, which remains the seat of the supreme Catholicos of the worldwide Armenian Apostolic Church.

With the exception of a small minority of Jews in Armenia, there is no other known group of non-Christian Armenians, making Christianity practically a defining feature of Armenian identity.

Practicing Christian Armenians fall into one of three church bodies—Orthodox, Protestant, or Roman Catholic. By far the largest congregation among Armenian Americans is the Armenian Apostolic Church. In the United States, Armenian Apostolic Church priests are elected by laymen and ordained by bishops, but confirmed by the Patriarch, who resides in Armenia. There are lower priests (called kahanas) who are allowed to marry. The Armenian Apostolic Church also has higher servants of God (called vart-abeds) who remain celibate so that they may become bishops. The liturgy (called the Badarak in Armenian) is conducted in classical Armenian (Krapar) and lasts three hours, but the sermons can be delivered in both English and Armenian. The Apostolic Church typically does not portend to influence its members on social issues of the day—like premarital sex, birth control, homosexuality—and it does not proselytize among non-Armenians. In the United States, the church has been the locus of social and communal life. Many churches offer Armenian classes, help the new immigrants settle in their new homes, and organize activities to educate and entertain their parishioners.

In 1933 the Armenian Apostolic Church in the United States split into two factions over a disagreement on Soviet Russia that erupted into violence. While some argued that Soviet rule over Armenia was necessary, even as native Armenians were losing individual freedom under Stalin, the nationalists among the church members rejected Soviet rule. When nine known nationalists,

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Armenian Americans dance at a wedding party in Newton, Massachusetts, in 2009.

Armenian Americans dance at a wedding party in Newton, Massachusetts, in 2009. KENNETH MARTIN / LANDOV

or Tashnags as they are called, were convicted of the December 24, 1933, assassination of Archbishop Levon Tourian in New York City, the disagreement became irreparable. Over three decades later, in 1968, with the conflict unresolved, the Tashnags formally created their own prelacy aligning themselves with the Catholicos based in Antelias, Lebanon, rather than the Catholicos based in Echmiadzin. The Armenian Apostolic Church has some 120 parishes in North America, with about 40 churches under the Prelacy.

Protestantism among Armenians dates back to American missionary activity in Anatolia, which began in the early nineteenth century. They were supposed to preach to the Muslims, but the Ottomans did not allow it, so they proselytized to the Armenians. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of Armenian Americans belong to Protestant congregations, most of them in the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America. These Armenians have a reputation as an unusually educated and financially prosperous segment within the Armenian American community. For many decades, Protestant Armenian Americans were known for their relatively quick assimilation into American culture, as they were far less likely than members of the Armenian Apostolic Church to maintain Armenian cultural traditions. However, this trend shifted in the 1970s, when Armenian Protestant churches in the United States held formal meetings with Armenian Apostolic Church leaders and began to incorporate some aspects of the Apostolic service, namely hymns and wine at the Eucharist, into the their service. A small group of Armenians practice Roman Catholicism, with parishes in New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Detroit.


Throughout the diaspora, Armenians have developed a pattern of quick acculturation and slow assimilation. Armenians quickly acculturate to their society, learning the language, attending school, and adapting to economic and political life. Meanwhile, they are resistant to assimilation, maintaining their own schools, churches, associations, and networks of intra-marriage and friendship. For the Armenians who arrived at the turn of the twentieth century, it was especially important that their children marry an Armenian. Because a high percentage of Armenian immigrants were successful in business, Armenians tended to adapt easily to the American business climate. Many of these immigrants became successful entrepreneurs and artisans within years after arriving in the United States, even though they may have initially taken unskilled jobs.

Cuisine The Armenian diet is rich in dairy, oils, and red meats. It emphasizes subtlety of flavors and textures, with many herbs and spices. It also includes nonmeat dishes to accommodate Lent each spring. Because so much time and effort is needed—for marinating, stuffing, and stewing—Armenian restaurants in the United States lean toward expensive multicourse evening fare, not fast food or takeout. Traditional Armenian foods fall into two categories, the shared and the distinctive.

The shared part of the Armenian diet consists of the Mediterranean foods widely familiar among Arabs,

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  • We learn more from a clever rival than a stupid ally.
  • It burns only where the fire falls.
  • Wherever there are two Armenians there are at least three opinions.
  • Mouth to mouth, the splinter becomes a log.
  • The older we get, the more our parents know.
  • Jealousy first hurts the jealous.
  • Money brings wisdom to some, and makes others act foolish.
  • In marriage, as in death, you go either to heaven or to hell.
  • I'm boss, you're boss. So who grinds the flour?
  • Lock your door well: don't make a thief of your neighbor.
  • The evil tongue is sharper than a razor, with no remedy for what it cuts.
  • The fish begins to smell from its head.
  • Fear the man who doesn't fear God.
  • A narrow mind has a broad tongue; a sweet tongue will bring the snake from its hole.
  • See the mother, marry the girl.

Turks, and Greeks. This includes appetizers such as humus (chickpea dip), baba ganoush (eggplant dip), tabouleh (bulgur wheat salad), madzoon (yogurt); main courses like pilaf (rice), imam bayildi (eggplant casserole), foule (beans), falafel (chickpea fritters), meat cut into cubes called kebabs for barbecue (shish kebab) or boiling (tass kebab), or ground into kufta (meatballs); bakery and desserts like pita bread, baklawa, bourma, halawi, halvah, mamoul, and lokhoom; and beverages like Armenian coffee (also Turkish coffee) and oghi (an anise-flavored alcoholic drink, the equivalent of ouzo in Greece and arak in Lebanon).

The distinctive part of the Armenian diet is unlikely to be found outside an Armenian home or restaurant. This includes appetizers like Armenian string cheese, manti (dumplings), tourshou (pickled vegetables), tahnabour (yogurt soup), jajik (spicy yogurt), basterma (spicy dried beef), lahmajun (ground meat pizza), midia (mussels); main courses like harisse (lamb pottage), boeregs (flaky pastry stuffed with meat, cheese, or vegetables), soujuk (sausage), tourlu (vegetable stew), sarma (grape leaves stuffed with meat or onion and spices), dolma (stuffed zuchini, tomato, eggplant, and other vegetables), khash (boiled hooves); bakery and desserts like lavash (thin flat bread), katah (butter/egg pastry), choereg (egg/anise pastry), katayif (pancakes stuffed with walnut or cheese and baked), gatnabour (rice pudding), kourabia (sugar cookies), kaymak (thick cream); and beverages like tahn (a tart yogurt drink).

Traditional recipes go back centuries. Their preparation, which is typically demanding, has become almost a symbol of survival for Armenians. A vivid example of this occurs each September for the feast of the Cross in Musa Dagh or Musa Ler (Moses's Mountain), the only Armenian village left in the Republic of Turkey today (near Antakya along the Mediterranean). Armenians gather by the thousands at the village of Musa Dagh to share harrise porridge for two days and participate in dancing and merriment. This celebrates the survival of a village (as described in Franz Werfel's 1933 novel Forty Days of Musa Dagh).

Dances and Songs First-generation Armenian Americans who came to the United States at the turn of the century attempted to preserve Armenian musical culture. Often at dinner parties and picnics Armenian children would be asked to sing traditional songs as an adult played the oud (lute) or the doumbeg (hand drum). Armenian Americans were known to play the recordings of Armenian composers and singers. The most famous of the Armenian composers was Gomidas Vartabed (1869–1935), who suffered a breakdown during the Armenian genocide and never recovered his sanity, and the most popular singer from the old country was Armen Shah Mouradian (1878–1939). In the 1920s Armenian operas were popular in the United States, and in the 1950s Armenian choir groups were popular in New York and Boston. Dance troupes from Soviet Armenia have drawn capacity crowds when they have toured the United States, and Armenian Americans are known to be especially proud of this aspect of their heritage.

Holidays Traditional holidays celebrated by Armenian Americans include January 6, Armenian Christmas (Epiphany in most other Christian churches, marking the three Magi's visit to Christ); February 10, St. Vartan's Day, commemorating martyr Vartan Mamigonian's battle for religious freedom against the Persians in 451 CE; religious springtime holidays such as Lent, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter; April 24, Genocide Victims Memorial Day, a day of speeches and marches remembering the date in 1915 when the notables and intellectuals of the Armenian community in Constantinople were rounded up and taken away, never to be seen again; May 28, Independence Day, celebrating the short-lived freedom of the Republic of Armenia from 1918 to 1920, after 500 years of

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Armenians often have distinctive surnames, which their familiar -ian endings make easily recognizable. In about the eighteenth century most Armenians in Anatolia took surnames ending with -ian, meaning “of,” such as Tashjian (the tailor's family) or Artounian (Artoun's family). In the United States most traditional Armenian surnames today end in -ian (like Artounian), which is sometimes spelled -yan (as in Artounyan), -ians (Artounians), or the more ancient -ooni (Artooni). In other cases, Armenians can often detect surnames just by their Armenian root, despite some other suffix adjusted to fit a diaspora Armenian into a local host nation—such as Artounoff (Russia), Artounoglu (Turkey), or Artounescu (Romania). In the United States in the early twentieth century, some Armenians shed their distinctive surnames, typically for briefer ones, but today Armenian Americans take greater pride in their heritage, so name changes are uncommon.

Turkish suzerainty; September 21, the declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991; and December 7, the Day of Remembrance of Victims of the 1988 Earthquake. Armenian Americans celebrate the traditional holidays of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and of the national holidays, they observe the Victims Memorial Day most closely.


First-generation Armenian American families that arrived at the turn of the century remained very close-knit and conservative. Parents were known to forbid dancing, cosmetics, and unchaperoned dating. Women typically spent weekends cooking in the event that another family stopped by for dinner unannounced. These semi-spontaneous Sunday dinners were a mainstay of the first Armenian American communities on the East Coast, as were large picnics in the spring and summer. These events were known to include as many as 5,000 people and often featured speeches, athletic contests, and concerts.

In the 1960s and 1970s, when later waves of first-generation immigrants arrived in well-established Armenian communities in New York City and Los Angeles, there was some tension between the newcomers and the second- and third-generation Armenian Americans who had assimilated into American culture. New arrivals often wanted to join established groups but tended to be frustrated because they were typically denied leadership positions in these organizations. Some of the new arrivals attempted to revive the Sunday dinners and picnics in their communities, but these were not often well attended by those who had long abandoned these traditions. The wealthier Armenian families that came from the Middle East tended to be conservative nationalists; they funded programs to revive the Armenian language and sponsored schools that taught the Armenian curriculum.

Gender Roles Armenian Americans have a history of encouraging women to work. As far back as 1910, 25 percent of Armenian American homes reported income from a woman. This remained constant among Armenian immigrants who arrived after World War I, because many of these arrivals were single women with children. Despite earning wages, however, first-generation Armenian American women still bore the burden of most domestic responsibilities. They were expected to take pride in their kitchens and pass cooking skills on to their daughters as well as to instill in their children a sense of their heritage by teaching them Armenian history. Subsequent generations of Armenian American women have been encouraged to work outside the home, and as Armenian Americans have continued to assimilate into the larger culture, women have enjoyed greater socioeconomic freedoms. Consequently, Armenian American social organizations have seen a decline in female membership. With so many women entering the labor force and raising families, they have little time to head up organizations like the Armenian Women's Guild, which experienced a 30 percent drop in membership between 1978 and 2002.

Education Education has been a high priority in Armenians' ancestral culture. A 1986 survey of 584 Armenian Americans found that 41 percent of immigrants, 43 percent of first-generation, and 69 percent of second-generation Armenians had completed a college degree. Another survey of Armenian American adolescents in 1990 found 83 percent plan to attend college. The 1990 U.S. Census similarly found that 41 percent of all Armenian American adults reported some college education—with a baccalaureate completed by 23 percent of men and 19 percent of women. Though these data vary, they all confirm a picture of a people seeking higher education. This trend continued into the early twenty-first century. The American Community Survey estimated in 2011 that 88 percent of Armenian Americans (87 percent of men and 88 percent of women) had graduated from high school, while approximately 40 percent (41 percent of men and 39 percent of women) had earned a bachelor's degree or higher.

There are more than thirty Armenian day schools in North America, educating over 5,500 pupils. Founded by Armenians migrating from the Middle East between 1960 and 1990, these institutions primarily aim to foster ethnic identity, but evidence also documents their effectiveness in preparing students for academic success, in at least two ways. These schools achieve unusually high averages on standardized national tests like the California Achievement Tests, even though the majority of their pupils are foreign-born ESL (English as a Second Language) students. Page 159  |  Top of ArticleGraduates of these schools typically go on to scholarships and other successes in their higher education.

In the early twentieth century about twenty U.S. universities offered some program in Armenian studies. By 2005 endowed chairs in Armenian studies existed at University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; California State University, Fresno; Columbia University; Harvard University; the University of Michigan; and the University of Pennsylvania.


The majority of early Armenian immigrants took unskilled jobs in wire mills, garment factories, silk mills, or vineyards in California. Second-generation Armenian Americans were more professional and often obtained managerial positions. Third-generation Armenian Americans, as well as Armenian immigrants who came after World War II, were well educated and largely attracted to careers in business; they also had a penchant toward engineering, medicine, the sciences, and technology. These immigrants have tended to do well economically, with a large fraction achieving affluence within their first generation in the United States, primarily by working long hours in their own family businesses.

Americans of Armenian descent have continued to find success in many fields of employment. According to the American Community Survey's estimates in 2011, 42 percent of the eligible population of Armenian Americans were employed in management, business, science, and arts professions, and close to 25 percent were employed in educational, health care, and social services. The ACS also estimated that Armenian American households had a median income of $55,420, slightly higher than the national average of $52,762. Individually, however, Armenian American men had a median income of approximately $53,000 a year, almost $10,000 higher than the median income for female Armenian Americans.


Armenian Americans have an influential ethnic lobby in the United States. Armenian American organizations and politicians have helped to normalize relations between the United States and Armenia, providing for economic, material, and diplomatic assistance to the country, including nearly two billion dollars annually for humanitarian aid and disaster relief. In spite of the lobbying groups' many successes, Armenian Americans have yet to realize their most important goal: formal recognition of the Armenian genocide by the United States government. Although President Reagan, President Clinton, both Bush administrations, and the Obama administration have recognized the event as a tragedy and a massacre, as of 2013 no U.S. administration had formally described it as “genocide.”

A group of Armenian immigrant women weave a rug on a loom.

A group of Armenian immigrant women weave a rug on a loom. CORBIS-BETTMANN. REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION.

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With regard to American politics, Armenian Americans have been active in almost every level of government in both political parties. Notable politicians include Steven Derounian (1918–2007), a U.S. congressman who represented New York from 1952 to 1964, and Walter Karabian (1938–), who was a California state senator for several years. Republican Harry Tutunjian served as mayor of Troy, New York, between 2003 and 2012. Democrat Joe Simitian (1953–) served as a California state senator between 2004 and 2012, and in 2010 Paul Krekorian (1960– ), a Democrat, was elected to the Los Angeles City Council for District 2. Anna Eshoo (1942–) represented California's 14th district in the U.S. House of Representatives between 1993 and 2013, until redistricting. In 2012 she was elected as the Representative for California's 18th district. Jacki Speier (1950–), also a Democrat, served in the California State Assembly from 1986 to 1996, the California State Senate from 1998 to 2006, and the U.S. House of Representatives beginning in 2008.

In the 1990s a few Armenian Americans returned to Armenia, securing influential political positions. Raffi Hovannisian (1959–) was appointed the foreign minister of Armenia in 1991. After resigning the following year, Hovannisian assumed a role as one of the major opposition leaders in Armenia. Sebouh “Steve” Tashjian served as the first minister of energy, and Gerard Libaridian (1945–) served as an advisor to President Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

Armenian Americans have an influential ethnic lobby in the United States. Armenian American organizations and politicians have helped to normalize relations between the United States and Armenia, providing for economic, material, and diplomatic assistance to the country, including nearly two billion dollars annually for humanitarian aid and disaster relief.


Academia James der Derian (1955–) is the director of the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney and a research professor at Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. His publications include Virtuous War: Mapping the Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment Network (2009) and Antidiplomacy: Spies, Terror, Speed and War (1992).

Kamer Daron Acemoğlu (1967–), the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at MIT, is widely recognized as one of the leading economists in the United States. In 2005 Acemoğlu was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, given to an accomplished economist under the age of forty who has made significant contributions to the field.

Paul Boghossian is the Silver Professor of Philosophy at New York University, where he also served as Chair of Philosophy from 1994 to 2004. He is director of the New York Institute of Philosophy. His publications include Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism (2006), which was recognized by Choice, a leading reviewer of academic publications, as an Outstanding Academic Book in 2006, and Content and Justification: Philosophical Papers (2008).

Vartan Gregorian (1934–) holds a PhD in history from Stanford University and has served as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania (1974–1978), president of the New York Public Library (1981–1988), and president of Brown University (1988–1997). In 1997 Gregorian became president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, one of the most prestigious educational foundations in the United States.

Art Arshile Gorky (1904–1948) was an Armenian American painter whose work, many believe, influenced the New York City painters who would later develop abstract expressionism. Born in Khorgom, a small town near the eastern border of present-day Turkey, Gorky fled his home with his mother and three sisters in 1915 to escape the Armenian genocide.

Harry Naltchayan (1925–1994), a photographer of Armenian descent born in Beirut, came to the United States when he was twenty-three and worked for the Washington Post for thirty-five years. He was a veteran of numerous dangerous assignments in the Middle East and won several awards for his work, including first place in the World Press Photo Contest in 1982 for a picture of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter that is known among photojournalists as “Modern Day Rushmore.”

Business Alex Manoogian (1901–1996), a Detroit-based entrepreneur, founded the Masco Corporation, which consists of over twenty companies that sell home-building and home-improvement products. As of 2013 the Masco Corporation had 32,500 employees and an estimated annual revenue of over $10 billion. In 1966 Manoogian donated his home to the city of Detroit, and it has served as the official mayor's mansion since that time.

Kirk Kerkorian (1917–), former owner of film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), participated in the building of several famous resorts in Las Vegas, including Caesar's Palace and the International Hotel.

David Shakarian (1914–1984) was the founder of General Nutrition Centers, Inc. (GNC), which sells nutritional products including vitamins, energy bars, and supplements to physical fitness enthusiasts. Shakarian opened his first store under the name Lackzoom in 1935 in Pittsburgh (he did not adopt the name General Nutrition Center until the 1960s).

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Literature Eric Bogosian (1953–) is an Armenian American playwright best known for the Pulitzer-Prize finalist Talk Radio (1987), a brash play about a late-night radio host who takes calls from a series of troubled callers as producers observe his work to determine whether or not they will give the DJ his big break and air his show on national radio. Bogosian himself played the lead in the play's original run. It was adapted into a successful movie by Oliver Stone in 1988. Bogosian has had a number of other plays produced and staged numerous one-man shows off-Broadway. He has also acted in several other films and television shows, including Law and Order: Criminal Intent, on which he played a regular character from 2006 to 2010.

Michael Arlen (1895–1956), born Dikran Kouyoumdijan to Armenian parents in Bulgaria, published nine novels, including a number of the psychological thrillers. Most notable is The Green Hat (1924), which was adapted into a play and, after a successful run on Broadway, a movie that was banned in the United States for references to homosexuality and venereal disease. Later in his career Arlen wrote science fiction and overtly political novels. The best known of these works is The Flying Dutchman (1939), which criticizes German politics in the years leading up to World War II.

Nancy Kricorian (1961–) is an Armenian American writer whose publications include the novel All the Light There Was (2013). Kricorian's poetry has appeared in numerous American literary magazines. She has held teaching posts at several leading institutions, including Yale and Columbia universities.

William Saroyan (1908–1981), an Armenian American playwright, is perhaps best known for refusing the Pulitzer Prize for The Time of Your Life (1939), a play set in a shabby San Francisco bar where the main character, Joe, amuses himself by encouraging a collection of eccentrics to pursue their ambitions. A prolific writer, Saroyan published more than forty novels and plays as well as sixteen short stories.

Medicine Varaztad Kazanjian (1879–1974) was an Armenian American oral surgeon widely recognized as one of the leaders in the field of modern plastic surgery. Kazanjian was moved to pursue innovations in reconstructive surgery by his experiences volunteering for the Harvard Medical Corps in World War I.

Jack Kevorkian (1928–2011) was an Armenian American pathologist and a polarizing figure in the medical community, as well as in American popular culture, for claiming that terminally ill patients had a right to die. Kevorkian is said to have helped well over 100 terminal patients commit suicide. He was unsuccessfully tried for second-degree murder four times and was finally convicted in 1999 after 60 Minutes aired a videotape of Kevorkian administering a lethal injection to a terminal patient named Thomas Youk. After his release from prison in 2007, Kevorkian lectured at

An Armenian baker displays his wares.

An Armenian baker displays his wares. AP PHOTO / REED SAXON

universities throughout the United States and made numerous television appearances. In 2008 he ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Congress from Michigan's ninth congressional district.

Raymond Damadian (1936–), an Armenian American physician, gained fame for inventing the first Magnetic Resonance (MR) Scanning Machine. After over seven years of development, Damadian and his team performed the first MRI on a human being on July 3, 1977.

Music Alan Hovhaness (1911–2000), born Alan Vaness Chakmakjian, was an Armenian American composer who wrote more than 500 original works. Hovhaness did not become a full-time composer until 1951, when he left a teaching post at the Boston Conservatory and moved to New York. In the early part of his career, Hovhaness studied Armenian culture closely and attempted to incorporate aspects of Page 162  |  Top of Articleit into his work. In the late 1950s he embarked on a trip through Asia in order to draw from a wider range of influences. He spent the final twenty years of his prolific career in Seattle.

Cathy Berberian (1925–1983) was an Armenian American soprano known for interpreting works of avant-garde composers such as John Cage, Igor Stravinsky, and Sylvano Bussotti. In addition to her work in classical music, Berbian also released Beatles Arias, a 1967 album in which she covers twelve Beatles songs arranged as chamber music and sung in a baroque style.

Public Affairs Charles Garry (1909–1991) was an Armenian American attorney whose clients included the Black Panther Party, the Peoples Temple (a cult founded by Jim Jones and made infamous by a mass suicide in 1978 at their settlement in Guyana), and the Oakland Seven (San Francisco–based anti-Vietnam war protestors). Garry began representing the Peoples Temple in 1977 in several cases in which they asserted that the U.S. government had conspired to undermine their community in Guyana. Garry eventually came to believe that there was no such conspiracy. Although he continued to practice law after the mass suicide of 1978, his days as a high-profile civil rights attorney were over.

George Deukmejian (1928–), a Republican, was the governor of California from 1983 to 1991. Popular among California conservatives for his stance on crime, Deukmejian was nearly chosen in 1984 to be Ronald Reagan's running mate. George H. W. Bush also considered asking to Deukmejian to run with him on the Republican presidential ticket in 1988.

Raffi Hovannisian (1959–) is an Armenian American who was born in California to parents who had survived the Armenian genocide. He immigrated to Armenia in 1990 and served as the country's minister of foreign affairs from 1991 to 1992. Hovannisian founded the Armenian Center for National and International Studies in 1994. He ran for president of Armenia in 2013 but lost, earning 37 percent of the vote.

Sports Andre Agassi (1970–) is a former professional tennis player who won more than 60 titles including four Australian Open championships and the 1992 Wimbledon championship. His father was an Iranian-born ethnic Armenian. In 2010 Agassi published Open, a candid autobiography in which he discusses his struggles with celebrity and admits to drug use.

Ara Parseghian (1923–) is a professional football player and college head football coach. He won two national titles as head coach at the University of Notre Dame.

Stage and Screen Akim Tamiroff (1899–1972), an Armenian actor, was born in what is now the country of Georgia and moved to the United States in 1923. He appeared in more than sixty Hollywood movies between 1932 and 1972. In 1943 he won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Pablo in For Whom the Bell Tolls, an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's 1940 novel.

Arlene Francis (1907–2001) was an Armenian American actress who appeared in numerous Broadway plays, hosted a New York–based radio show for twenty-five years, and appeared on numerous game shows, including Match Game, Password, and most notably What's My Line?, for which she served as a panelist on numerous occasions throughout its twenty-five-year run from 1950 to 1975.

Cher (1946–) is an Armenian American singer and actress who first became famous performing folk songs in the mid-1960s with Sonny Bono, her husband at the time. After their musical careers sputtered at the end of the 1960s, the duo regained their popularity with a variety show, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, which aired for four seasons (1971–1974) on CBS. The couple divorced in 1977, at which point Cher launched a successful solo music and acting career, appearing in numerous critically acclaimed and popular films, including

Silkwood, The Witches of Eastwick, and Moonstruck. She won an Academy Award in 1988 for her performance in Moonstruck. Her most famous single is “If I Could Turn Back Time,” which was released in 1989 and hit number 3 on the Billboard singles chart. Cher is the only performer to have won an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, and an Academy Award.

Kim Kardashian (1980–) is an Armenian American reality television star who has appeared on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kourtney and Kim Take New York, and Kourtney and Kim Take Miami. A fixture on the tabloid covers in the early twenty-first century, Kardashian drew considerable scorn from the public when she filed for divorce after having been married to professional basketball player Kris Humphries for just seventy-two days.

Ross Bagdasarian Sr. (1919–1972) was a singer and actor who best known for creating Alvin and the Chipmunks. Working under the stage name David Seville, Bagdasarian appeared in the Broadway production of William Saroyan's The Time of Your Life and had small parts in numerous Hollywood films. In 1958 Badasarian's song “Witch Doctor” hit number one on American music charts, and the following year he won two Grammy Awards for a Chipmunks Christmas song.

Rouben Mamoulian (1897–1987) was an Armenian American director born in present-day Georgia. He came to the United States in 1922, when he accepted a teaching position at the Eastman School of Music. After directing several successful talkies in the 1930s, including what is widely considered to be the best adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mamoulian emerged as on one of Hollywood's leading directors with the success of The Mark of Zorro (1940). He also directed the original Broadway production of Page 163  |  Top of ArticleOklahoma!, for which he earned widespread critical and popular acclaim.

Steven Zaillian (1953–) has written screenplays for critically acclaimed films such as Schindler's List (1993), Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993), Gangs of New York (2002), All the King's Men (2006), Moneyball (2011), and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).


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Armenian MirrorSpectator

Weekly community newspaper founded in 1932 and published in Armenian and English.

Alin K. Gregorian, Editor
Baikar Association, Inc.
755 Mount Auburn Street
Watertown, Massachusetts 02472-1509
Phone: (617) 924-4420
Fax: (617) 924-2887

Armenian Observer

A weekly, English-only Armenian newspaper based in Hollywood, California, that has been in circulation since 1969. The paper covers issues local, national, and international issues concerning Armenia and the diaspora.

Osheen Keshishian, Editor
6646 Hollywood Boulevard No. 210
Los Angeles, California 90028
Phone: (323) 467-6767

Armenian Reporter International

An independent, English-language Armenian news weekly that since 1967 has covered Armenian American community news; U.S. and international politics as they relate to Armenians; Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh; and Armenians in arts, culture, and entertainment.

Vincent Lima, Managing Editor
2727 West Alameda Boulevard
Burbank, California 91505
Phone: (718) 380-3636
Fax: (718) 380-8057

Armenian Review

A quarterly academic journal on Armenian issues, published since 1948 by the largest Armenian political party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

Asbed Kotchikian
80 Bigelow Avenue
Watertown, Massachusetts 02172
Phone: (617) 926-4037

Armenian Weekly

A periodical covering Armenian interests in English.

Vahe Habeshian, Editor
Hairenik Association, Inc.
80 Bigelow Avenue
Watertown, Massachusetts 02472
Phone: (617) 926-3974
Fax: (617) 926-1750

California Courier

English-language ethnic newspaper covering news and commentary for Armenian Americans.

Harut Sassounian, Editor
P.O. Box 5390
Glendale, California 91221
Phone: (818) 409-0949


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Armenian Radio Hour of New Jersey

Broadcasts Armenian music and information of interest to Armenian Americans living in New Jersey and New York City on 89.5 FM every Sunday from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

15 Hart Drive South
South Orange, New Jersey 07079


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Armenian Assembly of America (AAA)

Founded in 1972, AAA is a nonprofit public affairs office that tries to communicate the Armenian voice to government, increase the involvement of Armenians in public affairs, and sponsor activities fostering unity among Armenian groups.

Bryan Ardouny, Executive Director
1334 G Street NW
Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: (202) 393-3434
Fax: (202) 638-4904

Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU)

Founded in 1906 in Egypt by statesman Boghos Nubar, this wealthy service group operates internationally, with some sixty chapters in North America. AGBU resources are focused on specific projects chosen by its Honorary Life President and Central Committee—sponsoring its own schools, scholarships, relief efforts, cultural and youth groups, and, since 1991, a free English-language news magazine. More than any major diaspora group, AGBU has had close ties with Armenia, in both the Soviet and post-Soviet eras.

Berge Setrakian, President
55 East 59th Street
New York, New York 10022-1112
Phone: (212) 319-6383

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Fax: (212) 319-6507

Armenian National Committee (ANC)

Founded in 1958, the ANC is a political lobby group for Armenian Americans.

Aram S. Hamparian, Executive Director
1711 N Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone: (202) 775-1918
Fax: (202) 775-5648

Armenian Network of America (ANA)

A nonpolitical social organization founded in 1983. With chapters in several U.S. cities, ANA appeals to young professionals.

Meganoosh Avakian, President
P.O. Box 100865
Arlington, Virginia 22210-3865

Society for Armenian Studies (SAS)

Promotes the study of Armenia and related geographic areas, as well as issues related to the history and culture of Armenia.

Barlow Der Mugrdechian, SAS Secretariat
Armenian Studies Program
California State University, Fresno
5245 North Backer Avenue PB4
Fresno, California 93740-8001
Phone: (559) 278-2669
Fax: (559) 278-2129


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Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA)

ALMA houses a library of over 10,000 volumes and audiovisual materials as well as several permanent and visiting collections of Armenian artifacts dating as far back as 3000 BCE.

65 Main Street
Watertown, Massachusetts 02472
Phone: (617) 926-2562
Fax: (617) 926-0175

National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR)

NAASR fosters the study of Armenian history, culture, and language on an active, scholarly, and continuous basis in American institutions of higher education. The association publishes a newsletter, the Journal of Armenian Studies. Its building houses its large mail-order bookshop and a library of more than 12,000 volumes, 100 periodicals, and diverse audiovisual materials.

Raffi P. Yeghiayan, Board Chairman
395 Concord Avenue
Belmont, Massachusetts 02478-3049
Phone: (617) 489-1610
Fax: (617) 484-1759


Alexander, Benjamin F. “Contested Memories, Divided Diaspora: Armenian Americans, the Thousand-Day Republic, and the Polarized Response to an Archbishop's Murder.” Journal of American Ethnic History 27, no. 1 (2007): 32–59.

Aslanian, Sebouh David. From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants in New Julfa. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011.

Bagdikian, Ben H. Double Vision: Reflections on My Heritage, Life, and Profession. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995.

Bakalian, Anny P. Armenian-Americans: From Being to Feeling Armenian. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1993.

“A Century of Armenians in America: New Social Science Research.” Special Issue, Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies 17–18 (2008).

Douglas, Daniel, and Anny Bakalian. “Sub-Ethnic Diversity: Armenians in the United States.” Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies 18, no. 2 (2009): 37–51.

Hovannisian, Richard G., ed. The Armenian Genocide: Cultural and Ethical Legacies. New Brunswick: Transaction, 2008.

Jendian, Matthew A. Becoming American, Remaining Ethnic: The Case of Armenian-Americans in Central California. New York: LFB Scholarly Publishing LLC, 2008.

Mirak, Robert. Torn between Two Lands. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983.

Panossian, Razmik. The Armenians: From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|CX3273300022