In 1930, a teenaged boy named Archie Minasian wrote to his dear cousin in San Francisco that he had composed a poem in only fifteen minutes, modestly downplaying his work with a dismissive “It’s no good anyway. I liked it a little”. His cousin, a struggling young writer named William Saroyan, responded: “I’m damn glad you are writing … I’m very much interested in you”. Thus began fifty years of personal correspondence between these artists and best friends, chronicling their journey through the tumultuous cultural shifts of the 20th century—the Great Depression, the golden age of Hollywood, World War II, the youth movement of the 60s, and the cynical 70s. As Saroyan established himself as the most popular writer in America and Archie found his voice as a poet, their lives remained connected from Fresno to Hollywood to Paris and beyond through these letters. From artistic recognition to family squabbles, prosperity to poverty, their friendship endured a lifetime of creative and personal highs and setbacks with a deeply shared bond of Armenian character, equally hilarious and heartbreaking. Sourced from the personal collection of Saroyan’s cousin Charles Janigian and the William Saroyan papers at Stanford University, this collection of letters, fully annotated by archivist Mary Alexander, celebrates a friendship like no other.
Charles Janigian, Managing Director of Forever Saroyan, LLC, is pleased to announce the publication of a limited edition of 400 copies of William Saroyan & Archie Minasian: The Complete Correspondence, 1929–1981. The book has been handsomely designed by the renowned Arion Press in San Francisco which has an historic relationship with both Saroyan and Minasian reaching back over sixty years. This collector’s item is profusely illustrated with photographs, postcards, and charming sketches, and includes an Appendix of artworks from Saroyan’s own art journal. The book is fully indexed, 368 pages, and measures 12-1/2” x 9-3/4”. It is bound in two colors of cloth, green and tan, with titling foil stamped in gold on the cover and spine. A matching protective slipcase is included.