PORTRAIT OF A LOVELY COUPLE IN ANDRINOPLE, TURKEY (POSSIBLY ARMENIAN ETHNIC ORIGIN)

This cabinet card features a lovely couple posing for their portrait at a studio in Andrinople, Turkey. The pair are attractive and well dressed. The gentleman has a handlebar mustache. Is this couple of Armenian origin? It would be so interesting to know more about this couple, but that is an impossibility. The name of the photographer who photographed this image is L. Nicolaou. Preliminary research revealed that the name “Nicolaou” is a surname that can be found in multiple cultures and languages (including Portuguese and Romanian). In addition, the name is also found in Cyprus. This information indicates that the photographer was probably from Bulgaria, Greece or Cyprus; but operating his studio in Turkey. The city of Andrinople is also known by other names, including Edirne (Greek). The city is located in northwestern Turkey, and close to Turkey’s borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne was once the capital city of the Ottoman Empire. In 1928, Edirne replaced Adrianople as the name of the city. Edirne has been the site of numerous battles through history. Some consider Edirne to be the most frequently contested location in the world. A battle that occurred near the time that this photograph was taken is “The Siege of Adrianople” (1912-1913) which was a battle fought during the First Balkan War. An article in Wikipedia states that in 1905, the city had 80,000 inhabitants comprised of 30,000 Turks, 22,000 Greeks, 12,000 Jews, 10,000 Bulgarians, 4,000 Armenians, and 2,000 people of unknown origin.

 

PORTRAIT OF AN ARMENIAN COUPLE IN WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS (PHOTOGRAPHED BY ARMENIAN PHOTOGRAPHER)

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One of the wonderful benefits of studying antique images is that they often are remnants of important and interesting history. This cabinet card image is a terrific example of a photographer capturing history with his/her camera. In this case, the photographer was just not cataloging history, but he was part of it. Lusadaran, the Armenian Photography Foundation, cites the photographer of this cabinet card. An article on their web site discloses that Hairabed was a photographer in Worcester, Massachusetts in the 1900’s through the 1920’s. During his photography career he had shortened his name from his given name of Hairabedian. There is no mention of his first name. The article reports that he had likely emigrated to America from the Ottoman Empire. Once here, he photographed the first waves of Armenian Genocide survivors and immigrants settling in the Worcester area. His specialty was taking studio portraits. After doing some preliminary research, I may have uncovered the photographer’s first name. The city directory of Providence (1909 and 1910) lists a photography studio operated by Bedros and Astoor Hairabedian. The 1910 directory notes that Astoor Hairabedian moved to Salem, Massachusetts during that year. This image was most likely taken before 1910 but it would not be unusual for a family photography business to have been operating at two or more different cities simultaneously. Perhaps Astoor had decided to move to Massachusetts to manage or work at that location to replace or join another relative already there. What do we know about the subjects of this cabinet card portrait? Not much. We can only surmise by their dress and appearance that they are Aremenian immigrants to the United States shortly after the turn of the century. The woman in the image is wearing traditional clothing including a scarf covering her head and much of her face.

Published in: on November 16, 2014 at 11:10 am  Comments (5)  
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Two Armenian Women in Georgia (1910)

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This Cabinet Portrait is an image of two Armenian women photographed in Georgia in 1910. Writing on the reverse of the card indicates that the women are named Mara and Jenia.

Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 2:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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