Well, what do we have here?

I haven’t shown you a cabinet card in awhile so I thought that is what I’d do today.


My first thought was 1890’s.  Those sleeves are definitely 1890’s. Second thought: her hair is pretty severe and conservative.  Third thought: any boy dressed like that now, would be beat up.  Fourth thought: darker skin tone suggests a non-European background.  I never thought I’d figure out where they were from.  But, it seems that at one point, they were in Boston.

Then I flipped the card over.


Lovely, picture on the back…but, I completely forgot about the hand writing.  It was the handwriting that originally caught my attention when I was shopping for cards.  I could not make out bottom line at all, but  I was successful in deciphering the last two words of the top line, “of Adrianople”.

A Google search pulled up this line,

Adrianople in Edirne, Turkey

So, it is possible that this family is originally from Turkey.  Click on the link above to see a map.

I tried to decipher the rest of the top line and got a hit. Krikor Hagop Basmajian wrote a book called “Social and Religious Life in the Orient”. If you click on the book featured at the above link, you can read it.  It is a tract intended for Christian readers who were interested in the Orient and the mission field of the Orient. If you click on the left hand page you can see this photo:


This could be the same family.  The man looks very much the same except in the last (and presumably earlier photo) he has more hair.  The boy could be the same boy just younger than the first photo.  The girl is missing but she may have died since my photo was taken.  When comparing the photos, the woman is a bit harder to say “they look the same”.  But, I’m wondering if the very different hairstyle is what is throwing me off.

With a little computer magic…


The nose is the same.  We can’t see the lips well in the one photo but the smile seems the same.  Chin seems to be the same as well.  I think I have a later photo of the family.  I doubt that this was a particularly rare family photo.  I suspect that Mr. Basmajian, as a published author, would have done speaking engagements to churches and other supporters of his mission so he may have had hundreds of these made out to give away.  I wouldn’t hold my breath that this was his writing either.  The recipient of the card wrote his name down so he’d remember who it was.

I dearly wish I could make out the bottom line.  May be you can.

6 thoughts on “Well, what do we have here?

  1. Charlie Beeman says:

    These pictures are of Kriekor Basmajian, my great grandfather, the boy is my grandfather (Edward Basmajian, my mother’s father). He lived in Constantinople Turkey, a Christian Armenian, he then joined the Congregationalist Church in Constantinople due to missionaries in Turkey at that time. He came to the US I believe right after the Civil War ended. After arriving he schooled at Crozier Institute and became a Congregationalist Minister. (ML King attended Crozier, which has since closed).
    Kriekor played the violin and preached throughout New England and the south before settling in Atlanta Georgia. I am actively trying to put his life’s story together and would like to purchase these photos. By the way, the little girl’s name is Mazey (I think the spelling is correct). I do know he spent time in the Boston and Rhode Island Region.

    Can you help me? The book you mention had four printings.

    • Thanks for the information on your family member. I would be happy to send you the photograph, no charge. I have always felt that these photos belong with family who will appreciate them as family. Send me your email address and I will contact you for your mailing address.

  2. Carlton Basmajian says:

    My name is Carlton Basmajian, great grandson of the gentleman in the photo’s. Mr Beeman is my first cousin. The little boy is my grandfather, Edward. He had two children, my dad Edward Jr and Christine, Mr Beeman’s mother. My grandfather died when I was very small but Kreikor lived to 98. I well remember him as a child. These are priceless photos to my family as we have very few. Thanks for the offer to send them to us.

    • I’d be happy to send it to your family. I believe that is truly where these photos belong. If you can leave your email address in the comments, I will contact you about your address. I check this blog twice a day so I will get the message. I can also then make sure your email address does not remain here on my blog.

  3. Daniel Adler says:

    Hello Everyone,
    Many thanks for posting these images and helping me solve a mystery. I have two additional photos of Mr Basmajian and family that I am researching in preparation for an exhibit I am helping to organize at the University of Connecticut, http://armenia.uconn.edu/events/norian-armenian-oral-history-project-and-community-exhibition-project/.

    I would love to communicate further with Charlie and Carlton. Of course I am very happy to return these photos to your family once the exhibit is finished. the local Armenian-American community with definitely connect with these images and the story they tell about the Armenian experience in America.

    please contact me as soon as is convenient.

    All the best,

    • I mailed the photo
      I had to the family and I haven’t heard from them. I have no idea if they got it! I have long since disposed of the address so I would not be able to get in contact with them for you. They found me by chance on the internet as did you. Perhaps they will stumble on you and your research as well. Good luck and I am glad I could be of help!

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