Helen Anahid Sahagian


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Helen Sahagian died on March 28. Born in Boston, in 1920, Helen Anahid was the youngest child of Nevart Artemis Zartarian and Sahag Krikor Sahagian of Sebastia, Historic Armenia.

After graduating from Arlington High School, she worked as a secretary while attending evening classes at Harvard University Extension School to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in modern languages. In 1976, she was awarded a Master of Arts Degree in Armenian Studies from Columbia University, under the professorship of Dr. Nina Garsoian.

She wrote many scholarly articles on ancient and modern Armenian History and recorded the oral histories of survivors (some of whom were close family members) of the Hamidian Massacres in 1894-1896 and the Armenian Genocide of 1915. She was especially interested in the work of American missionaries in the Sebastia region of central Anatolia, in particular Mary Graffam and Ernest Partridge.

Her articles have been published in the Journal of Armenian Studies, Ararat and the Armenian Mirror-Spectator and in the book Armenian Sebastia/Sivas and Lesser Armenia. She also participated in the work of the Sepastatsi Compatriotic Union and the Historical Commission of Arlington, Mass.

Reflecting her long-standing interest in Armenian studies, she was a founder and incorporator in 1955 of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) in Cambridge, Mass.

After 83 years of being a proud Bostonian, Sahagian moved to Albuquerque to be with family; however, her memories held fast of Colonial New England history — the people, places and literature — and of the area’s art museums, concert halls, beaches, Cape Cod, boiled lobster and fried clams, the Boston Public Garden Swan Boats, Filene’s Basement, and most of all, her favorite hangouts in Harvard Square.

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She is survived by her niece Artemis Chakerian, her nephews Armen and Gerald Chakerian, many loving members of the extended family, and her beloved cat Sean (a red-haired Irish boy from Boston). She was preceded in death by her brother Edward Sahagian, and her sister Florence Chakerian. Her ashes will be interred next to her brother in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge.

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