The research project builds a digital database on the nationwide culture of letters to the press in the 19th century Finland. 

The project is implemented in collaboration with the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences (HEX) in Tampere University and the National Library of Finland. 

Goal and tasks

The phenomenon of letters to newspapers developed into a nationwide and pervasive culture of local letters in the mid-1800s Finnish-language press. The Translocalis Project collects and researches this forgotten cultural heritage of 19th century Finland and creates new digital cultural heritage from it. 

The objectives of the project are to: 

  1. Collect all the local letters to the Finnish-language press from the era of 1775-1885 

  1. Publish this database as a part of the digital collections of the National Library of Finland 

  1. Produce the first comprehensive historical research of the phenomenon of local letters. 

  1. Prepare a follow-up project that seeks to collect the letters from the turn-of-the-19th-century press digitally in collaboration with computational scientists. 

Currently, there are over 70,000 local letters that have been manually collected by HEX from the digitalized newspaper material with the tools provided by the National Library of Finland. During the collection work, the letters have been enriched with metadata, such as location and the named authors of the letters. 


The culture of local letters had a decisive influence on the development of Finnish society, nationalism, and civic society in the nineteenth century. Besides the history of Finland, the database will allow analysing the 19th-century global phenomena through case studies of the Finnish society. It will enable a wide range of research topics and open a path to various research approaches, especially to the study of human experiences. 

The Translocalis database will create new digital cultural heritage as it will be published as a part of the  Digital collections of the National Library of Finland . 

Project setters

National Library



Project status



Alfred Kordelin foundation


Tampere University, Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences