Learn about Flora Zabelle Mangasarian (1880-1968)

Flora Zabelle Mangasarian (1880-1968) was the first Armenian Broadway actress and one of the first stars of early American silent movie. Born in Constantinople in the Ottoman Empire, her family left for the United States at the time of the Hamidian massacres and settled in Chicago. She was the daughter of Dr Mangasar Mangasarian, a prominent pastor and scholar, specialized in theology, philosophy as well as Armenian and Turkish history. Flora studied at Wellesley College, a private university for women located near Boston and aimed at providing excellent human sciences education to women meant to become prominent. At the age of 19, Flora moved to New York to start a career at the theatrical stage, which was particularly ambitious and brave for a woman so young and especially at that time. After a few rejections due to her lack of experience, she finally got in a chorus as a soprano for the Castle Square Grand Opera Company, and progressively grew and gained recognition in Broadway. In total, she played in 14 musicals and 5 silent movies. Continue reading “Learn about Flora Zabelle Mangasarian (1880-1968)”