Collection of 19th century Finnish reader’s letters available in Digi

Date published -service has opened a digital collection of reader’s letters called Translocalis. The collection includes letters from different parts of the country published by 1885 in Finnish newspapers. The collection can be accessed at the National library digital collection website.

Kansan lehti -tinidningens omslagsfoto 1895 /

Translocalis -database has 72 000 reader’s letters form municipalities and towns around the country as well as abroad. Letters represent a period when Finnish language press was evolving. In the beginning the development was national and began to regionalize in the late 19th century. As the letters printed in local papers broadened the knowledge base of the people living in these communities, they made societal matters local and vice versa. The letters were sent from all the echelons of the society.

In the web service of the national library the letters can be sorted e.g. by community or writer. Textual search into the content of the letters is also available. As a new collection of cultural heritage in the national library, the reader’s letters collection serves historians and researchers of local communities and well as the broad audience interested in the past.

”Translocalis data is a sample of early part of the formation of Finnish civil society. In a way it is the social media of its time. It is internationally unique source of data and especially Finnish phenomenon”, says Minna Kaukonen who has been directing the project in the national library.

”You can do word searches on the text content of the letters in the collection. The search can also be narrowed by descriptive information related to the clips (place, author, etc.) using the keywords presented on the front page of the Translocalis -collection. The material includes, for example, letters identified as written by women and letters written by farm owners or workers. Searches can be targeted at specific magazines and narrowed by time”, says Kaukonen.

Look for searchtips and instructions for reference at the website.

Translocalis -database will be published in the Cupola hall of the National Library of Finland on Thursday 9th February at 18.30. Join the publication event via stream at the National library’s Youtube-channel.

Translocalis is funded by Alfred Kordelin foundation as part of Suuri kulttuurihanke 2021-2023. Translocalis is a cooperative work of Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences (HEX) located in the Tampere university and the National Library of Finland.