Kurkjian family collection - Beirut, Lebanon

This collection was put at our disposal by Annie Kurkdjian. All the items of the collection are family heirlooms and are currently kept in Lebanon. Annie’s maternal grandmother Lousentag Tozkonmazian’s family originated from the city of Talas, which is located in the southeast of Gesaria/Kayseri. Members of the family who had survived the Genocide, including Lousentag, would later settle in Damascus. Family members took all the materials presented on this page with them to Damascus. The Kurkjian family later moved to and settled in Beirut.

Talas, the editors of the weekly newspaper “Tigris”. The newspaper was published in the American college of the city, most probably starting 1908.

The first from the right is Harbig Tozkonmazian, he is Lousentag’s brother. He was a graduate from the American college in Talas, where he later worked as a teacher. Harbig was a talented calligrapher and violin player, he also wrote poetry. We only have a few notebooks from him, where he wrote down poetry in Armenian or in Turkish but written using the Armenian alphabet… He was about 21 years old when he died during the Genocide.

The teaching staff and administration of the American College in Talas. In the last row, standing second from the left is Manoug Tozkonmazian. He is Lousentag’s and Harbig’s father. He was a teacher of Mathematics at the College in Talas. In 1915, when the perpetration of the Genocide had begun, prominent Armenians from Talas were arrested; Manoug and his son were among those who got detained and were later killed like all the others.

1) A page from the handwritten notebook by Harbig Tozkonmazian where he copied poetry. Here we read the poem “What they Say” by the renowned poet Bedros Tourian.

2) Harbig Tozkonmazian’s address card.

Gesaria/Kayseri, the St Garabed monastery and school.

Lousentag (Lousin, born Tozkonmazian) and her husband Artin Kayayian (seated) with their two children, in the 1920’s in Damascus.

1) Talas, the American missionary college and hospital.

2) A card congratulating the 1912 Christmas prepared by Harbig Tozkonmazian.

The Kayayian family, Beirut. Artin Kayayian is seated in the middle. Standing to the far right is Lousentag Kayayian (born Tozkonmazian). The others in the photo are their five children.