Book Collections

Dansk psalmbok, tryckt 1887 i Köpenhamn. Ingår i Jarl Pousars samling. Dekoren, ciselerade snitt, åstadkoms genom att man hamrade ut mönstret med en smal mejsel på det förgyllda snittet. Foto: SLS/Janne Rentola

The SLS Library contains book collections of great cultural and historical value which document the Finland-Swedish literary culture throughout different periods. They have been put together by knowledgeable persons or as part of an institution’s activities.

The Arne Jörgensen Collection

The Arne Jörgensen Collection of about 6,000 books contains mainly Finland-Swedish literature, works on the history of Finland, biographies and genealogy, academic and political pamphlets, and periodicals. This collection covers the period from the 1600s to the 1940s. PhD Arne Jörgensen (1883–1941) was a librarian at the Helsinki University Library. His interests were book and library history and book plates (ex libris). The collection was donated in 1942 to SLS by his wife Märta.

The Jarl Pousar Collection

Librarian Jarl Pousar (1941–2004) created a collection of books that is unique from a book history point of view, and which documents the development of bookbinding, particularly in the nineteenth century. The collection consists of about 2,500 books, three of which are incunables, and also a number of handwritten manuscripts. Two thirds are publishers’ bindings while the rest are private bindings. The collection includes books from various countries and periods: fiction, humanities, travelogues, children’s books, hymn books and maps. Jarl Pousar donated the book collection to SLS in 1998. Anna Perälä’s book Vackert, vittert, lärt. Jarl Pousars boksamling was published by SLS in 2011. This book describes the content of the Jarl Pousar Book Collection based on the themes “beautiful, literary and learned”. Information about the editions and the bookbindings is also available in the Jarl Pousar database.

The Karin and Edmund Westman Collection

The Karin and Edmund Westman Collection contains approximately 3,800 books, mainly French, German and Swedish fiction from the 1900s. The non-fiction part of this collection consists of books on the history of literature, linguistics, history, philosophy, politics, religion and tourist guides. Karin (1897–1972) and Edmund (1900–1994) Westman were teachers at Heurlinska School in Turku. SLS acquired the collection as a donation in 1994.

The Runeberg Library

The Runeberg Library contains works by Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804–1877), the national poet of Finland, in various editions and translations. This library also contains research literature, biographies, essays and journal articles about Runeberg and his works. The collection also includes works by the author’s wife Fredrika Runeberg and other members of the Runeberg family. The Runeberg Library has been added to continuously since 1900.

The Svenska landsmålsföreningen Collection

In the spring of 1874, philologist and ideologist Axel Olof Freudenthal brought together a group of students to gather information about Swedish dialects in Finland. In subsequent decades, Svenska landsmålsföreningen (the Swedish Student Cultural Body) collected material that is currently preserved in the SLS  Archives’ Tradition and Language collection. An ambitious library was also started consisting of national and international Scandinavian research. The collection comprises approximately 400 titles and provides an insight into the activities of the Swedish Student Cultural Body and its contacts abroad.

The Söderström & Co (publishing house) Collection

The Söderström Collection includes all national fiction published by Söderström & Co from 1891–2011, as well as a selection of the publishing house’s non-fiction works and textbooks. This collection provides an interesting overview of the literary activities associated with the publishing house. It is also a valuable source in book history, because all the books have been preserved in the original bindings. Söderström & Co donated its publishing archives to SLS in 2005. The donation also included the books published by the company.

The Topelius Collection

Zacharias Topelius (1818–1898) was a writer, historian and journalist who had a key role in the development of the Finnish national identity in the nineteenth century. The Topelius Collection in the SLS Library comprises of almost 1,300 works. This includes books by Topelius in various languages as well as literature on the subject of Topelius and his works. The backbone of the collection consists of Paul Nyberg’s collection of Topelius literature, which industrial counsellor Henrik Nyberg donated to SLS in 2003. Professor Paul Nyberg (1889–1968) was a grandson of Zacharias Topelius who systematically collected his maternal grandfather’s output. The collection, which was the source for the bibliography of Topelius’ works published by Birgit Lunelund-Grönroos in 1954, is still valuable today for current research on Topelius, in particular the Works of Zacharias Topelius Project. The Topelius Collection is added to continuously.