HAGOP BOGIGIAN: Armenian American Pioneer & Philanthropist
by Dr. Hagop Martin Deranian
Hagop Bogigian was born in the middle of the 19th century in the village of Hussenig, Kharpert province, in the Ottoman Empire. In 1876, Bogigian, then barely 20 years old, arrived in the United States penniless. In a short time, however, he had established a flourishing oriental rug business in Boston, which brought him financial success as well as contact with Boston’s literary and social elite. Called “the first Armenian-American millionaire,” upon retirement Bogigian embarked on his true passions: correction of injustices, advancing the rights of American labor, and various philanthropic causes. Loyal to his roots, he raised American awareness of and sympathies to the “Armenian Question” in Ottoman Turkey.Bogigian also earmarked funds to help educational institutions, establishing full scholarships for worthy, young Armenian women at Wilson College in Pennsylvania; Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts; and Pomona College in California. Bogigian lived a remarkable life, providing a model for generations to remember their roots and serve mankind.