Winston Sarafian

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Sarafian, noted historian

Winston L. Sarafian, a noted scholar of Russian-American history and Pasadena native, died Jan. 8 from a heart attack at his Los Angeles home. Sarafian was the eldest son of the late Armen Sarafian, who was a member of the state Board of Education and a president of Pasadena City College and the University of La Verne.

Sarafian received a master's degree in library science from Cal State Fullerton and a master's degree in history from Cal State L.A and earned his Ph.D. in Russian history from UCLA.

He taught at Cal Poly Pomona, UC Riverside and Riverside Community College and was one of the first employees at Oxnard College, where he worked for 30 years until his death.

He was a pre-eminent researcher of the employee policies and practices of the Russian American Trading Company, 1799-1867, in northern Alaska. He translated more than 10,000 handwritten Russian documents and wrote many journal articles revealing the fur trading company's effects on the environment and indigenous peoples.

Sarafian is credited with establishing and cataloging, over a three-year period starting in 1981, a collection of more than 12,500 Armenian books and periodicals for the then-newly founded American Armenian International College at the University of La Verne. Most of the books were acquired from Armenia.