Leo and Mary Sarkisian Collection

Room of shelves full of tape boxes
Cataloging tapes in the VOA Sarkisian Library, 2014.

The Leo and Mary Sarkisian Collection is held in the Special Collections Research Center of the University of Michigan Library. The Sarkisian Collection is a “conceptual umbrella” under which an array of archival materials relating to the life and work of the Sarkisians are organized, described, preserved, and made available for teaching and research. The materials presently exist in analog and digital formats and are located in various places on the University of Michigan campus.

Leo Sarkisian’s relationship with the University of Michigan is personal and academic. On the personal level, Leo is an intellectual mentor and personal friend of University of Michigan Professors Lester Monts and Kelly Askew. The academic connections between the University of Michigan and the Voice of America date from 2000. Initial funding for the cataloging of the collection came from the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the Voice of America, and the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies (now DAAS). The African Heritage and Humanities Initiative (AHHI) and the University of Michigan Library provided funds (2008-12) to digitize 360 live field recordings that Leo Sarkisian made while employed with the VOA. AHHI funds (2015-16) have also supported the preparation of inventories and a summary finding aid, as well as supporting the preliminary processing of the collection, and the creation of a listening and digitization station for the recordings. A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2016-18) supports the digitization of and access to over 900 radio programs and scripts that are part of the Voice of America archives on loan to the University of Michigan.