Armenian Studies Program Coordinator Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian announced a gift of more than $97,000 from the estate of the late Anne Elizabeth Elbrecht of Davis, California, that will establish the Elbrecht Endowment in Armenian Studies.
Anne Elizabeth Elbrecht passed away on September 24, 2014. After completing a degree in library science at UC Berkeley, she joined the Peace Corps and worked in Ghana, West Africa. When she returned home at the end of her two-year volunteer time, she took a library job at the State Law Library, where she met the love of her life, Richard Elbrecht.
A 1987 vacation to Turkey was the beginning of a twenty-year odyssey that took Richard and Anne Elbrecht on what became a passion – photographing and documenting Armenian churches in the historic homeland of the Armenian people.
157 photographs from their collection are now part of the “Churches of Historic Armenia: A Legacy to the World,” page on the website of the Armenian Studies Program (fresnostate.edu/armenianstudies), where they are available to scholars and to the general public.
In an earlier interview, when asked why they had devoted so much of their lives to this project, the Elbrechts explained: “The photographs give meaning to historical accounts, and promote a deeper understanding of the elusive and plaintive history of an extraordinary people and their relationships with the people around them.”
The Armenian Studies Program expresses its appreciation for the lasting legacy of the Elbrecht Endowment that will support various activities of the Program.