Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran

Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran

Heripsima Abrahamian (Basil)

b. 1884 Hamadan
d. 18 April 1957

Heripsima Masihiya Abrahamian was born in 1884 in Hamadan. She married Sarkies Carapet Basil on 17 April 1915. From then on, Heripsimah's family name was changed to her husband's, Basil. Heripsima and Sarkies had four children: Vachik (1916-1974), Lili (1918-1953), a third child that died right after its birth, and Shahen (1924-1945). Heripsima died on 18 April 1957.

Heripsima Masihiya Abrahamian was born in 1884 to an affluent family in Hamadan. She moved to Tehran with her family during her childhood. She received her high school diploma from the American College for girls, which later changed its name to the Iran Bethel School. She then started teaching there. Heripsima was fluent in English and, like her sisters, she played piano very well. She was interested in weaving lace and collected her handmade lace in an album that is exhibited in the Shahin and Arsineh Basil Collection. On the cover of this album, which is more than one hundred years old, Heripsima embroidered the first letters of her name and her family name. Heripsima was a proponent of the Constitutional Revolution and, along with other women she nursed the injured during the siege of Tehran. Heripsima lost her father in adolescence and her brother when she was young, at which point she took charge of the household and its finances. At the age of thirty-one, she married Sarkies Carapet Basil who was 36 years old. Their marriage was held on 17 April 1915 in the Anglican Church. From then on, Heripsimah's family name was changed to her husband's, Basil. Heripsima and Sarkies had four children: Vachik (1916-1974), Lili (1918-1953), a third child who died right after its birth, and Shahen (1924-1945). Heripsima was active in business before and after her marriage. She used to buy and sell goodwills of business. She supervised the construction of a house in the ʻAziz Khan district. Documents recording the purchase of a house in ʻAziz Khan, land in Shimiran, and documents recording the renting goodwills of business for shops in ʻAziz Khan are all in Heripsima's name and exist in the Shahin and Arsineh Basil Collection. Heripsima was a powerful, independent, and literate woman. She was active in social and religious activities, charity, and business. Her husband died on February 9, 1955, two years after the death of their daughter, Lili. Heripsima died two years later on April 18, 1957 while leaning her head on the shoulder of her remaining son, Vachik, at his birthday party. Close

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