Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
William L. Babaian Collection, 1969-1976

Finding aid created by
Clements Staff, 2007, and Meg Hixon, November 2011

Summary Information
Title: William L. Babaian collection
Creator: Harms, George W., 1921-1993 and Harms, Marguerite
Inclusive dates: 1969-1976
Extent: 26 items
The William L. Babaian collection is made up of correspondence, photographs, greeting cards, and newspaper clippings related to Babaian's life, including his service with the United States Army during the Vietnam War.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated by Marguerite Harms, 2007. M-4617.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

William L. Babaian Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Photographs
  • Series III: Greeting cards
  • Series IV: Newspaper clippings

Each series is arranged chronologically.


William Levon Babaian was born in Mount Vernon, New York, to Iranian immigrant Abgar L. Babaian and his wife Loretta. William served in the United States Army Medical Corps from 1948-1952, during which time he completed a tour of duty in Korea during the Korean War. He received a bachelor's degree from Boston University in 1956, earned a master's degree in biology the following year, and graduated from the Tufts University School of Medicine in 1961. He opened a practice near Boston, Massachusetts, but re-entered the army in 1969 as a result of escalating hostilities in Vietnam. He served with the 23rd Artillery Group in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star in December 1969, and remained in the military until at least 1976. He and his wife, Helen Bouchakian, also the daughter of Iranian immigrants, had several children, including a sons Michael, William, and Haig Steven.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The William L. Babaian collection is made up of correspondence, photographs, greeting cards, and newspaper clippings related to Babaian's life and army service during the Vietnam War. The 16 items in the Correspondence series document his second term of military service. He wrote to his sister and brother-in-law, Marguerite and George Harms of Ann Arbor, Michigan, about his family. Several letters relate directly to his army experiences, including a lengthy letter in which he described his medical clinic in Vietnam (December 31, 1969) and a letter attaching two reports he composed on soldiers' health and obesity (February 10, 1970). He often attached photographs of his wife, children, and locations in Vietnam. A postcard depicts the Japanese "Aquapolis" from the 1975 World's Exposition.

Four additional Photographs show Babaian in uniform during each of his two terms of military service. The collection's Greeting cards are a humorous birthday card Babaian sent to Marguerite Harms, and a Christmas card he wrote from Korea (long after his military service), in which he described his impressions while revisiting the country. The Newspaper clippings series includes 4 clippings regarding Babaian's educational and military accomplishments.

Subject Terms

    • Mental illness.
    • Physicians--United States.
    • United States. Army--Medical personnel.
    • United States. Army--Military life.
    • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Medical care.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Babaian, William L.
    • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Medical care.
    • Babaian, William L.
    Genre Terms:
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Greeting cards.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Photographs.
    • Snapshots.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Correspondence [series]
    Box   42, Small Collections Folders   45-48
     May 1969-July 1976 (16 items)
    Photographs [series]
    Box   42, Small Collections Folder   49
     Undated (4 items)
    Greeting cards [series]
    Box   42, Small Collections Folder   50
     November 21, 1970-December 7, 1975 (2 items)
    Newspaper clippings [series]
    Box   42, Small Collections Folder   51
     September 13, 1957-December 24, 1969 (4 items)
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The George W. and Marguerite Harms papers pertain to William L. Babaian's sister and brother-in-law.

    The Bentley Historical Library has the following related collections:

    • The George W. Harms papers, 1915-1922, contain subject files relating to veterans' activities and his involvement in issues of concern to veterans; minutes of meetings of Ann Arbor, Michigan, post of the American Legion; a scrapbook of American Legion Post No. 46 containing letters from servicemen in Vietnam and photographs of post activities; and other photographs and videotapes.
    • The Marguerite Babaian Harms papers, 1935-1985, pertain to Harms, a professor of nursing at the University of Michigan. The collection contains files relating to her professional interests, especially work on undergraduate nursing curriculum committee; nursing course materials; professional correspondence; and Cobblestone Farm Association files, 1975-1994.