The library and archive of Dr. Basil J. Vlavianos constitutes one of the most important parts of the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection. Vlavianos originally donated his collection to the Vryonis Center in 1993. Following the donation of the Vryonis Center’s holdings to Sacramento State as the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection, Vlavianos’ daughter Zita Hosmer made several donations of books, archives, and artwork that have supplemented the Vlavianos collection even further.
Born in Athens, Greece in 1903, Vlavianos studied law at the University of Athens and later in Germany, where he received his Juris Doctor degree. He married Ekaterina Nicolaou in 1932 and had a daughter Zita in 1936. Following a career as a practicing attorney in Athens, he moved the family to Paris and then ultimately to New York City. From 1940-1947 he was the editor and publisher of the National Herald (Ethnikos Kēryx) newspaper. Also during the war he played a significant role in the Greek War Relief Association. After selling the National Herald he founded Arts Inc. publishing house, which specialized in European scholarly and artistic works. The Golden Griffin bookstore and Griffin Gallery in midtown Manhattan were extensions of Vlavianos’ publishing and personal interests in the contemporary American and European art scene. From 1947-1961 Vlavianos served as an adjunct professor of political affairs and regional studies at New York University. Throughout the remainder of his professional career he continued to be actively involved in political and international affairs, the arts, Greek and Greek-American life, Cyprus, and various other causes. He passed away on June 27, 1994.
The Vlavianos collection today comprises over 3,000 books, journals, and pamphlets, with subject strengths in modern Greek history and literature, Greek America, and Cyprus, among others. The manuscript collection comprises a virtually complete archive on Vlavianos’ personal and professional life spanning his legal career, his years leading the National Herald, his publishing company Arts, Inc., his other business dealings, his professorial career, and his deep involvement in political and community affairs. This archive is replete with subject files, correspondence, photographs, Vlavianos’ writings and more, all of which is outlined in the finding aid to this material, linked below.
Additionally, there are newspapers which Vlavianos had amassed and a small collection of art, including works by Theo Chios, George Constant, Giorgos Stathopoulos, Celeste Polychroniadou, and Phrosō Euthymiadē-Menegakē. The collection includes most of the original illustrations by Fritz Busse which Vlavianos and Arts, Inc. commissioned as part of “American Cities” books. Importantly, the historic piano of New York Philharmonic conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos, which Vlavianos purchased for Zita’s piano lessons as a girl, is also part of the collection and resides in the Department of Special Collections and University Archives.