Missakian, Baron Siroon
Baron (“Mister”) Siroon Missakian was born in 1891 or 1892 in Istanbul, Turkey, of Armenian parents. As a youth he apprenticed to the official photographer for the Ottoman Empire. A patron from Boston, impressed when he heard the boy’s voice in an Armenian church, brought him to this country in 1913. Missakian enlisted in the Army during World War I and spent most of his service time singing for Liberty Bond Campaigns. After the war, he managed a Chicago portrait studio, later moving to Kansas City in 1925. Known as a “creative photographer,” Missakian captured the images of Kansas City's resident and visiting performers during the Jazz Age, a time when Kansas City was one of the most dynamic arts centers in America. His camera not only documented the worlds of classical music and dance, but also the new popular entertainments, vaudeville and the movies. By 1926 he was well established and garnered awards for his studio portraits. Among those photographed were Missakian’s friend and neighbor Walt Disney, Milton Berle and Sir Carl Busch, founder of the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra. Baron Missakian died July 7, 1964 after a long illness.