The Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center is a resource and research facility housed at the Diocesan Center in New York. The center is open during regular business hours. Scholars, researchers, and the general public are encouraged to write, phone, e-mail, or visit the center for information and material related to Armenia, its history, current events, and people. The center’s catalog can be accessed online at www.zohrabcentercatalog.com. The center also has a blog, which can be found at www.zohrabcenter.org.
The holdings of the center include extensive information on the Armenian Church, Armenian history, and Armenian politics and culture. The collection includes thousands of books, videos, maps, pictures, and other resources to help researchers, academics, teachers, and the society-at-large learn about the Armenian community and its rich history.
The Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center was established through the generosity of the late Dolores Zohrab Liebmann, a dedicated Armenian philanthropist, in memory of her beloved parents.
As the first Armenian information center of its kind, the Zohrab Center was dedicated on November 8, 1987, in the presence of His Holiness Vasken I, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, of blessed memory, and Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, then-Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).
“It is with great love for my parents, Krikor and Clara Zohrab, and pride in our Armenian background, that I see this fine center come into being. As the focal point for the information of our culture and history, it is my fervent wish that it will be fully utilized by all who are interested in Armenia and Armenians. In particular, I hope that it will become a vital center of learning for our young people—for they are the future guarantors of our great Armenian heritage.” (Dolores Zohrab Liebmann)
For information on the Zohrab Center, contact its director, Dr. Jesse Arlen, at JArlen@armeniandiocese.org, or (212) 686-0710, ext. 126.
Armenian Patriot, Political Leader, and Parliamentarian
Born in Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1861, Krikor Zohrab (pictured above) was one of the most prominent Armenians of the Ottoman Empire. An accomplished lawyer, Zohrab was also a strong community leader who was elected to the Ottoman Parliament in 1908. As a champion of Armenian rights and an advocate for Armenian unity and freedom, he faced considerable adversity from the Ottoman authorities.
Krikor Zohrab married Clara Yazidjian in 1888, and together they had four children: Dolores, Herminé, Leon, and Aram. One of the outstanding Armenian political leaders of his era, Zohrab was murdered by the Ottoman Turkish government in 1915, at the outset of the Armenian Genocide, which culminated in the massacre of 1.5 million of Zohrab’s fellow Armenians.
Writings and Influence: Throughout his lifetime, Krikor Zohrab was an influential writer, whose voice was well-known in journalism and literature. He wrote many articles in newspapers and journals but was best known for his short stories. Indeed, the prolific Zohrab was called the “prince of short stories” by his contemporaries.
Most of these works are collected in three volumes: Voices of Conscience (Armenian title: Khghjmdanki Tzayner, 1909); Life As It Is (Kyanke Inchpes Vor Eh, 1911); and Silent Griefs (Lur Tsaver, 1911).
His first major novel, Lost Generation, deals with the psychological conflicts and aspirations of the young. Other works include literary sketches, travel notes, and memoirs. Familiar Faces consists of 17 articles on the prominent personalities of his time.
According to Zohrab, his Diary of a Traveler expresses his entire philosophy of life. This book, based on his time living in Europe from 1895 to 1908, was published posthumously in 1922.
Despite Krikor Zohrab’s acknowledged leadership in the male-dominated culture of his day, he had significant influence through his writings as a champion of the rights and liberation of women.
To this day, Krikor Zohrab remains one of the most important figures in Armenian literature.
Dolores Zohrab Liebmann
The daughter of the prominent Armenian writer and parliamentarian Krikor Zohrab and his wife Clara, Dolores Zohrab Liebmann was born on January 13, 1896, in Constantinople (Istanbul). She was raised in an environment which emphasized the importance of education, travel, and the preservation of the Armenian heritage and culture.
Dolores Zohrab Liebmann witnessed the arrest and removal of her father from her family’s home in Constantinople in 1915—an experience which profoundly marked her. With her two brothers Leon and Aram already attending school in Europe, Dolores, her sister Herminé and their mother fled through Austria to Paris. She remained in the French capital until the death of her mother, after which she moved to Romania, where one of her brothers was living.
In 1932, Dolores married Henry Liebmann, an American brewing heir from Brooklyn. Mrs. Liebmann settled in New York with her new husband and became an America citizen in 1934.
Philanthropy: After the death of her husband in 1950, Mrs. Liebmann began dedicating herself to benevolent causes. She supported the Armenian Church and its programs, as well as the Armenian General Benevolent Union, in an effort to keep the Armenian identity alive in the diaspora.
As a proponent of education, she generously endowed an academic program in Armenian Studies and the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Fellowship at Columbia University. Her charitable efforts also extended to non-Armenian causes, such as the American Red Cross, to which she not only contributed her resources but also her time as a volunteer. Additionally, she supported research at Rockefeller University and the New York Public Library.
Her philanthropic legacy is kept alive today through the posthumous establishment of the Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund, a prestigious grant given to graduate students in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, regardless of ethnic background.
The creation of the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center—the first Armenian information center of its kind—was Mrs. Liebmann’s last major benevolent project before her death on September 15, 1991. She was present, with His Holiness Vasken I, the Catholicos of All Armenians, and Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, the Diocesan Primate, at the Zohrab Center’s opening dedication ceremony on November 8, 1987.