Born in the city of Caesarea (now Kayseri), Ottoman Empire on December 1, 1882 or 1883, Cardashian studied in the local French lyceum and Talas American College. He emigrated to the United States in 1902. He got accepted at Yale University in 1904 and earned a Law degree in 1908. In the same year, he wrote a book entitled The Ottoman Empire of the Twentieth Century. Cardashian entered the New York State Bar Association in 1909 and began practicing law. In 1913, he was the Fiscal Agent of the Ottoman Empire in the United States. Prior to the Armenian Genocide of 1915, he served as a counselor and statistician to the Ottoman Chamber of Commerce in America. He was a counselor for the Ottoman Embassy in Washington, D.C. and then to the Ottoman Consulate General in New York from 1910 to 1915. He authored several books on the Armenian Question. Some authors claim otherwise, but in his 1934 obituary, it's stated that Cardashian was survived by his sister, mother and brother.
In early 1919, he founded the American Committee for the Independence of Armenia (ACIA), the predecessor of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). He continued his efforts until his death in 1934.
- ""Վահան Քարտաշեան" Մրցանակը՝ Արա Սիւտճեանին". Asbarez (in Armenian). 25 October 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
- Malkasian, Mark (August 1984). "The Disintegration of the Armenian Cause in the United States, 1918-1927". International Journal of Middle East Studies. Cambridge University Press, Middle East Studies Association of North America. 16 (3): 349–365.
- Cardashian, Vahan (1908). The Ottoman Empire of the Twentieth Century. Yale, Making of Modern Law s. ISBN 1287341675.
- Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Yale University in New Haven Connecticut. Yale University. 1910. p. 449.
- Staff writer(s) (1934-06-13). "Obituary". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, USA.
- Vahan Cardashian, Founder of first Armenian-American lobby
- Understanding Vahan Cardashian’s Legacy
- Vahan Cardashian