From Local to Translocal

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

Making of the new digital cultural heritage from the forgotten 19th century historical material

The phenomenon of letters to newspapers developed into a nationwide and pervasive culture of local letters in the mid-1800s Finnish-language press. A characteristic feature of this culture was that the readers’ letters published in the press were written in the names of local communities. Thus, the writer of the letter claimed to represent the entire local community. This interaction between different locations via the press transformed local into societal and societal into local. The culture of local letters had decisive influence on the development of Finnish society, nationalism and civic society in the nineteenth century.However, as a cultural heritage this material had drifted into oblivion.

The Translocalis Project collects and researches this forgotten cultural heritage of 19th century Finland and creates a new digital cultural heritage from it. The project publishes the database containing all the readers’ letters written in the name of local communities and published in the Finnish-language press during the period of 1775–1885.

Funded by