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Oral History Collections

“As we work with our photo donors to document their photographs, the tape recorder is recording all the information and stories the donor provides about the people, places, and events depicted in each photograph….”

-Project Save founder Ruth Thomasian

Project Save’s Oral History Collection

From 1978 to 2022, Project Save founder Ruth Thomasian recorded an extensive collection of Oral Histories. Thomasian traveled the United States gathering the testimonies of +700 photo donors and their direct family members, many of whom were Armenian Genocide survivors. These touching interviews provide crucial information about the donors’ photographs, like specific dates, locations, subjects’ names, and other contextual information.

Project Save is actively working on digitizing and transcribing these interviews so they are accessible to the public. 

Transcribed & Digitized Interviews

Krikor DerDerian

Date: November 27th, 1983

Topics: Life and employment in Armenia before and during the Armenian Genocide, surviving the Genocide, immigrating to America, German orphanages (Bird’s Nest Orphanage)

Marian DerKazarian

Date: February 4-8th, 1984

Topics: Surviving the Genocide, death of family members during the Genocide, surviving the Death March, “relocation” caravans

CW: torture, violence

George & Mary Frankian

Date: March 9, 1984

Topics: Worcester and Whitinsville Armenians, local businesses, Eddie’s Fruit Stand, story of donor’s father working on the railroad

Avedis and Mary Kachichian

Date: May 24th, 1983

Topics: Emigration to Argentina, transportation and travel, Description of an Armenian dwelling and funeral practice, English/French army, trade, Jordan Marsh Company rugs


Satenig Kaprelian

Date: July 14th, 1984

Topics: Life in the Mezreh village, the start of the 1915 massacres, forced marriage to an Arab boy

CW: domestic violence, suicide attempt

Nevart Kinosian

Date: February 3rd, 1984

Topics: Family history, father’s plight during the Genocide, massacres and relocation, story of being “adopted” by a Turkish family,  an interesting song sung to her father by her brother to alert him of impending danger

Avedis and Rose Simonian

Date: July 6th, 1983

Topics: Deportation to Aleppo as a young man, life in California, working on a vineyard, learning trades

Kay Surabian

Date: October 22nd, 1988

Topics: Family history, emigration to the US, surviving the Genocide (because of their profession as photographers), growth of the family business, photographic process  

Elmas Kurkjian Deranian

Date: August 8, 1983

Topics: Silk production, family support, silk factory in an Armenian village in Kharpert, surviving the 1915 massacres and the fate of her father. 

CW: descriptions of torture