Scope and Content of Collection
Title: John Amar Shishmanian papers
Collection Number: 41003
Creator: Shishmanian, John Amar
1 manuscript box, 1 oversize box, 4 envelopes
1.2 linear feet)
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: The papers are comprised of correspondence, documents, printed matter and photographs related to Shismanian's service in the
French Army during World War I, the Armenian-Turkish conflict at the end of World War I, and the Armenian question at the
Paris Peace Conference.
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Collection is open for research.
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copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives
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For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
[Identification of item], John Amar Shishmanian papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1941.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number
of boxes listed in this finding aid.
John Shishmanian was born in 1882 in Lexington, Kentucky, to George N. and Lucy McClelland Shishmanian. Shishmanian grew up
in Constantinople where his father worked as a missionary. He graduated from Robert College and returned to the United States
to attend university. Shishmanian graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1903, then studied law at the University of
Virginia from 1903 to 1906 and registered at Stanford University in the fall of 1910.
Preceding the entrance of the United States into World War I, Shismanian went to France as a member of the American ambulance
field service. He then enlisted in the French Army and rose to the rank of second lieutenant, the highest rank possible for
a non-citizen. Following action at the Battle of Verdun, Shishmanian and other French officers were sent to Cyprus to prepare
Armenian volunteers for the French Armenian Legion, later known as the Légion Arménienne.
The Légion Arménienne served along the Eastern front in Palestine, Syria, and Cilicia in southeastern Anatolia. For his actions
in the Palestine campaign, Shishmanian was awarded the Croix de Guerre medal. In June of 1920, with his term of service completed
and the disbandment of the Légion Arménienne, Shishmanian was asked by the French to remain in Adana, Turkey, for three months,
from June 10 to September 10, 1920. Shishmanian's task was to organize local Armenian volunteers to defend Adana from attacks
by Kemalist rebels.
Despite his success in Adana, Shishmanian was placed under arrest by the French on September 22, 1920, and expelled from Cilicia.
It is unclear whether this was due to Shishmanian's refusal to follow an order or the changing policies of the French in the
region. Shishmanian's freedom was eventually secured through the interventions of his parents and Jouett Shouse, then undersecretary
of the U.S. Treasury. Shishmanian returned to the United States and lived the remainder of his life in Fresno, California.
In recognition of these Armenian volunteers, the French government gave certain assurances to the Délégation Nationale Arménienne
based on an Allied victory. In particular, the Cilicia region would become an autonomous Armenian republic under French protection.
At the conclusion of the war, the peace treaty terms defined at the Paris Peace Conference did not create an autonomous Armenian
republic and control of the region was ceded to the new Republic of Turkey.
Scope and Content of Collection
The papers are comprised of correspondence, documents, printed matter, and photographs related to Shishmanian's service in
the French Army during World War I, the Armenian-Turkish conflict, and the Armenian question at the Paris Peace Conference.
The correspondence focuses on Shishmanian's service in the French army, including a handwritten letter from Viscount Allenby,
the commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, and a letter of thanks from Boghus Nubar, chairman of the Armenian
National Assembly. In addition there is the correspondence of Georgia Cutler, sister of Leland W. Cutler a trustee of Stanford
University and President of the Board.
Translations of the original documents are sometimes available.
The majority of the 130 photographs document Shishmanian's time as an officer in the Légion Arménienne during World War I.
There are also photographs of his time in France prior to enlisting in the French army, notable Armenians, and photos obtained
from the Kaloustian family depicting Armenians living along the Euphrates river. Additionally there is a photograph of Lucy
McClelland Shishmanian in 1879 and one of John Shishmanian in 1944.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920)
Armenian massacres, 1915-1923
World War, 1914-1918
World War, 1914-1918 -- Peace
Armenia (Republic) -- History