- Majority of material found within 1963-2010
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
2.63 linear feet ((4 file boxes, 1 folio box) plus 2 folio+ folders, 3 photograph folders, 1 oversize photograph folder, 1 archived web site)
18.37 Megabytes (16 files)
Pilibosian's website is being captured periodically as part of Schlesinger Library's web archiving program; it is represented in this finding aid as "E.1." Pilibosian's widower, Hagop Sarkissian, provided the library with digital scans of unpublished collections of Pilibosian's poetry, as well as of other documents; these are located in folders #E.2 and E.4-E.17. #E.3 contains a digital audio file of Pilibosian reading her poetry.
Books by Pilibosian and Sarkissian were transferred to the Schlesinger Library's Printed Materials division and periodicals including Pilibosian's poetry was offered to other Harvard Libraries. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.
Yeghsabet (1905-1997) was orphaned during the Genocide and sent to orphanages first in Kharpert, Armenia, and then Ghazir, Lebanon. She and other orphans worked at a rug weaving factory in Ghazir, where a rug made by the orphans was sent to the White House. In 1923, she began studying nursing at the American University of Beirut, and after graduation she relocated to Gardanne, France, where her sister lived. While in France, she began corresponding with Khachadoor, who was a close friend of her brother. In 1930, Khachadoor traveled to France and they were married, settling in Boston, Massachusetts, later on moving to Watertown, Massachusetts.
Pilibosian graduated from Watertown (Massachusetts) High School and Katharine Gibbs School. She attended Boston University briefly, before studying at Harvard University Extension where she received an Adjuncts in Arts (bachelor's equivalent) degree in 1960. During the mid-1950s, she suffered from depression and was briefly hospitalized at Boston State Hospital in Mattapan, Massachusetts, where she underwent electroshock therapy. According toMy Literary Profile: A Memoir, some of her behavior while a student at Harvard was deemed "questionable" in ways never fully made clear to her and the combination of her overall depression and the shock therapy treatment led to her not being able to remember a year of her life. In 1960, she married Hagop Sarkissian, who had immigrated to the United States from Lebanon in 1957. The couple traveled to Europe and then to the Middle East on their honeymoon, to visit Sarkissian's family. Sarkissian worked at the Harvard University Printing Office for the bulk of his career. The couple had two children, Robert Hovhannes and Sharon Anoush. In 1963, Pilibosian underwent gall bladder surgery at Mount Auburn Hospital and suffered a cardiac arrest on the operating table; she was resuscitated by emergency surgery including manipulation of her heart and was kept in a medically induced coma and on a respirator for four days.
From 1964 to 1966 she served as the first woman editor of the Armenian Mirror-Spectator, an Armenian Democratic Liberal Party paper originally based in Boston, then (since 1962) in Watertown; she later returned to the paper as an assistant editor (1975-1981). Pilibosian's editorials addressed a range of topics including "the teenage issue," Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, and issues in the Middle East. She also frequently profiled notable Armenian Americans and other public figures, such as Indira Gandhi. On April 24, 1965, during her editorship, the newspaper published an issue dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
In 1983 she founded Ohan Press, a family-run press that published several books of her poetry, prose, and a memoir. Titles include Carvings from An Heirloom: Oral History Poems (1983), At Quarter Past Reality: New and Selected Poems (1998), History's Twists: The Armenians: Poems (2007), My Literary Profile: A Memoir (2010), A New Orchid Myth (2014), Candor Candy: Global Poems (2016), and Planet Tome Reborn (2016). (The last two works were published posthumously.) Her poems appeared in a number of literary journals including The Seattle Review, Louisiana Literature, and The Cape Rock. She and her father Khachadoor Pilibosian also collaborated on his memoir, which described the Armenian Genocide, his experiences when enslaved, and his life in the United States. The memoir, They Called Me Mustafa: Memoir of an Immigrant (1992, 1999), was selected by Alexander Street Press to be part of the North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries, and Oral Histories database. Pilibosian died in 2015 following exploratory brain surgery.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers of Helene Pilibosian were given to the Schlesinger Library by her widower, Hagop Sarkissian, between June and October 2018.
Accession number: 2018-M105
Processed by: Susan Earle
The following item was transferred to the Schlesinger Library Books and Printed Materials Division:
- Korone: Women's Voices, Volume VIII, 1994
- The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, assorted issues, 1964-1998
- Author & Journalist, February 1959
- Byline, May 2000
- Hawaii Review 46: Linoleum, Volume 20.1, 1996
- The North American Mentor Magazine, Volume XXIII, Number 4, Winter 1985
- Panhandler: A Journal of Poetry and Prose, Issue 33, Spring 1997
- The Seattle Review, Volume XXIX Number 1, 2006
- Soviet Literature, 12, 1975
- Space and Time: The Magazine of Fantasy, Horror, and Science-Fiction, #100, Spring 2007
- Arveste II, 1962
- Bibliophilos Poetry, Volume V, Number 1, 2001
- Black Buzzard Review, #4,
- Blue Unicorn, February 2012
- Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Fall/Winter 2005, Fall/Winter 2007
- The Broad River Review, Volume 46 Spring 2014
- The Cape Rock, Spring 1990, Spring 1994, Spring 1996, Spring 1998
- Cold Mountain Review, Spring 2000
- Crucible, Fall 2011, Fall 2014
- Ekphrasis: A Poetry Journal, Volume 4 Number 6, Fall/Winter 2008
- Ellipsis...Literature and Art, Volume 44 (2008), Volume 45
- The G.W. Review, Volume XX Number 1, Fall 1999
- Half Tones to Jubilee, Fall 1992, Fall 1995, Fall 1998
- Icon, Spring 1999, Spring 2003, Fall 2004
- Into the Teeth of the Wind, Volume III Issue 1, 2001
- The Licking River Review, Volume 29 Winter/Spring, 1997-1998
- Louisiana Literature, Volume 6 Number 1 (Spring 1989), Volume 21 Number 1 (Spring/Summer 2004), Volume 28 Number 1, Volume 31 Number 2
- Miller's Pond, Volume 3, Issue 1, 2003
- The Monocacy Valley Review, Number 12, 1995
- Nebo Literary Journal, Spring 2006
- New Athenaeum, Winter 1964
- Northwest Florida Review,Spring 2003
- Pacific Review: Poetry & Fiction, Interviews & Reviews, Fall/Winter 1992
- Phase and Cycle, Spring-Summer 1996, Spring-Summer 1997
- The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Volume 2 Number 3, Summer 1992
- Plainsongs, Fall 1992, Spring 2008, Winter 2010, Winter 2011
- Pleiades, Spring 1994, Fall 1995
- Poetry Salzburg Review, Spring 2008, Autumn 2010
- Potpourri: A Magazine of the Literary Arts, Volume 9, Number 2, 1997
- Rhino: A Review of Literature, 1993
- River Oak Review, Volume 2 Issue 3, Summer 2006
- Sahara: A Journal of New England Poetry, Winter 2002, Summer 2003
- Shorelines: Poetic Thoughts & Stories (The Third of a Series), 1988
- Talking River, Issue Number 20, 2006
- Third Wednesday, Winter 2012
- Tributary, Volume 2 Issue 3 Winter 1993
- Voices, 1958
- Widener Review 9: Poetry/Fiction/Essays, 1992
- Wild Edges: Manzanita: Poetry & Prose of the Mother Lode & Sierra, Volume 6 2010
- Willow Review, Volume XXIX, Spring 2002
By: Susan Earle, with assistance from Henry Shull and Ashley Thomas.
The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit. Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
- Armenian American women--Massachusetts
- Armenian Americans--Periodicals
- Armenian massacres, 1915-1923
- Business records
- Children of immigrants
- Electronic records
- Immigrants--United States
- Watertown (Mass.)--20th century--Social life and customs
- Web archives
- Women editors--Massachusetts
- Women poets--Massachusetts
- Women publishers--Massachusetts
- Women-owned business enterprises
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Processing of this collection was made possible by the Ware Acquisitions Fund at the Schlesinger Library and the Archival Processing Fund, and by a gift from Hagob Sarkissian.
- EAD ID
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