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Turku University Library

Special Collections

On the history of the archival materials

The manuscript collection includes both complete archives and occasional stand-alone documents. The latter have come to the library mostly as parts of donations received through book collections at the founding stage of the Library, and this collection was never deliberately intended to increase. Entire private archives have also been received more recently; however some have also been transferred to other archives, if they have been considered unrelated to the University of Turku in any way.

Manuscript Collection contents

Photo of two pages from an old manuscript.The collection of occasional manuscripts contains documents from all walks of life: letters, speeches, sermons, memorial albums, lecture notes, school notebooks, store receipts, account books, school certificates, notes made on a wide range of issues, etc.

The main part of the material dates from the late 18th century to the first decades of the 20th century, but there are also a few documents from earlier centuries.

At the time, the collection was not organized by topic, but the material was packed in numbered cases with apparent randomness. The catalogue compiled by Veikko Laakso in 1972 is an essential aid in locating the documents.

The catalogue is divided as follows: political history (7 pages), military history (2 pages), administrative history (7 pages), economic and social history (17 pages), church history (7 pages), cultural history including schools and university (38 pages), personal history (9 pages). The catalogue also includes a name index.

Example: Wasenius Bookstore Archive

The archive contains 28 large bindings with 10556 unnumbered sheets. The contents include invoices, receipts and announcements from 1823 to 1884. Wasenius Bookstore was the leading bookstore in Finland starting from the 1830s. It declared bankruptcy in 1914, and the Academic Bookstore bought the bankruptcy estate. Part of the archive of Wasenius Bookstore (4.5 shelf meters of materials) is in the National Library of Finland. The correspondence of the bookseller Gustaf Otto Wasenius, is kept at the National Library of Finland, whereas the Archives Collection of the University of Turku Library holds no correspondence.

Private archives

  • Koskenniemi, V. A.

Veikko Antero Koskenniemi (1885-1962). The archive contains manuscripts and ephemera from the period between the 1920s and 1960s. The poet-professor worked and made an impact at that time in Turku. The library also holds a book collection that he owned.