Archive Materials on Literature and Cultural History

Kirjallisuuden ja kulttuurihistorian tekstiaineistoja makasiinitilassa. SKS KIA. Kuvaaja: Milla Eräsaari
Literary and cultural history resources. SKS. Photo: Milla Eräsaari.
Our collections include manuscripts and sketches, diaries, letters, answers to collectors’ surveys, newspaper clippings, documents describing personal lives and community activities, pictures and sound recordings. We take an active approach to developing our collections.

The literature and cultural history collections consist of private archives received as donated by writers, cultural figures, researchers in the field, self-taught writers, and literary societies. In addition to growing our collection through donations, we also add surveys, interviews and documentation of literary events. Also, the documents associated with the founding of SKS are a part of  the literature and cultural history collection.

The materials gathered since the founding of SKS in 1831 shed light on Finnish literary and cultural life in many ways. The earliest texts are from the fourteenth century, but the bulk of the material dates from the 19th century to the present day.

The materials in the literature and cultural history collections serve as a significant source for research on literature, art and many other fields of study.

Information retrieval

Information about authors and other cultural figures may be obtained from our online databases, in addition to the card catalogues and card indexes found in the reading room. In the online databases you will find some basic data, while more detailed information is available in the reading room.

Online Data Lists (in Finnish)

General catalogue

The national register of private archives (Yarek)

Letter collection 

Picture collection

Biographical database

Author interviews

Newspaper clipping collection catalogue

Materials on 'self -taught writers' (from 1780s to the First World War)

In the general catalogue you will find basic information about the materials. The database allows you to find out which archives and collections are in the Literary Archives, what they contain, what search tools are available in the reading room, and whether there are any restrictions on using the materials. The general catalogue is based on the Vakka archive database.

Basic data on the materials up to 2008 can also be found in the Finnish National Archive’s Finland-wide registry of private archives (Yarek).

In the letter collection database, you can find information about the collection by searching for the names of the recipients of letters. The catalogue is indexed according to the letter recipients.

In the picture collection database you can find information about the content of the picture collections.

The Biographical Database maintained by SKS's Biography Centre contains information on the personal portraits and photographs  in the various archives. The  database also includes image files that you can browse online and order as digital copies.

In the author interview database you will find information on the interviews with authors and researchers in the Literary Archives.

In the newspaper clipping catalogue, you can get information on the newspapers in the collection.

The 'self -taught writers' materials catalogue allows you to search for information on the  'self -taught writers' and their archives.


Manual search resources in the reading room

The main card index

Entries are listed by name of the subject in alphabetical order, with a file card on each archival unit. Each card  contains basic information or a reference to the catalogue where you can get more detailed information.

Each index card contains:

• name or subject

• basic information, such as title, content, size, time and identification

• availability of the material


General catalogue

Basic information on most of the entries can be found in the literature archive general catalogue.

The main card index provides mainly textual material. Details of  images and sound recordings can usually be found in other lists and databases.


The archive lists

The archive lists contain more detailed information, with descriptions of the entire archive or its parts.

The archive lists are arranged in alphabetically ordered folders. They are available in the Archives research room. Since the early 2000s, the archive lists have been entered into a database which we can access for you.


The letter card indexes

The letters are listed in alphabetical order by author and recipient until the beginning of the 1990s. Thereafter the information is available in the archive lists. We retrieve information from the database as a service.