Helen Pilibosian, December 25, 2013

Helene Pilibosian Papers Available at Harvard

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The papers of Helene “Hosmig” Pilibosian (1906-2018), editor, publisher and poetry, are accessible now at the Schlesinger Library of Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. Pilibosian served as the first woman editor of the Armenian Mirror-Spectator from 1964 to 1966 and returned as assistant editor from 1975 to 1981. As founder of Ohan Press in 1983, she published several books of poetry, prose and a memoir.

Born in Boston in 1933 to survivors of the Armenian Genocide, she attended Boston University and then studied at Harvard University Extension to receive the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in 1960. She later collaborated with her father Khachadoor Pilibosian on his memoir, They Called Me Mustafa (1992, 1999), which she published through Ohan Press. Her own works 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), and the posthumously published Candor Candy (Global Poems (2016) and Planet Tome Reborn (2016).

Her poems appeared in a number of literary journals, including the Seattle Review, Louisiana Literature, the Cape Rock and Ararat.

She married Hagop Sarkissian, who had immigrated to the United States in 1957 from Lebanon, in 1960. After Pilibosian’s death following exploratory brain surgery, Sarkissian prepared her papers to be given to Harvard. His copyright on these papers will be transferred to Harvard upon his death.

The collection includes certificates, diplomas, correspondence (including concerning the Armenian Genocide commemoration at the Massachusetts State House), articles, speeches, published poems, articles, book reviews and editorials, scrapbooks of published writings, reviews and publicity for her books, photographs, and a digital audio file of her reading her poetry. The physical extent of the collection is 2.63 linear feet (4 file boxes, 1 folio box, plus 2 folio+ folders, 3 photograph folders, 1 oversize photograph folder, and 1 archived web site).

The physical materials in this collection must be requested for use 36 hours in advance, as they are kept offsite, but are being digital scanned and will eventually be available online. Pilibosian’s Ohan Press website has already been digitally preserved as part of this archive.In addition, Sarkissian provided the library with digital scans of unpublished collections of Pilibosian’s poetry, as well as of other documents.

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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.

The Schlesinger Library is a prominent research library specializing on the history of women in the United States. For the finding aid and further information on this collection, identified as MC972, see Harvard Library’s HOLLIS for Archival Discovery website.

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