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Eino Jutikkala

Eino Kaarlo Ilmari Jutikkala (until 1931 Rinne)
Born October 24, 1907, Sääksmäki. Died  December 22, 2006, Helsinki.

Master of Arts, 1928, Licentiate and Doctor of Philosophy (History) 1932, University of Helsinki

Professor of Finnish History, 1954–1974, University of Helsinki
Vice-Dean, 1960–66 and Dean 1966–1969, Division of History and Philology, University of Helsinki
Chairman, Local History Office, 1949–1954
Station Head, State Communication Office, 1941–1944

Chairman, Historical Association, 1934–1946
Chairman, International Committee for historiography, Finnish branch

Board Member, Swedish-Finnish Cultural Fund, 1960–1971
Associate Member, 1938, Member 1946, President, 1968–1970 and Honorary Member, 1996, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters

Academician, 1972
Honorary Member, Finnish Cultural Fund, 1973
Honorary Doctor, Faculty of Political Science, University of Helsinki, 1956
Honorary Doctor, Helsinki School of Economics, 1966
Honorary Doctor, University of Stockholm, 1966

Honorary Doctor, University of Tampere, 1985
Riemukunniatohtori (Honorary title awarded 50 years after gaining a doctoral degree), University of Helsinki, 2006

Photo: Antti Taskiainen 1955. SKS, Kirjallisuusarkisto
Written by Tero Juutilainen
Translated by John Calton

From Rus to Urbs

Eino Jutikkala graduated from a Finnish lyceum school in Turku in 1926 and went on to continue his studies at the University of Helsinki. His main interest at that time was not history, but rather a career in statistics. He spent the first years studying economics and his aim appears to have been settled at a young age; Jutikkala was said to have a natural gift for numbers and statistics. Under examination conditions he could easily recall names of places on maps, as well as statistical information related to those places, such as their area and population. He retained this facility throughout his life and made adroit use of it in his historical research.

His change in the main subject of economics can partly be ascribed to the unavailability of the professor of economics, a cause for displeasure for Jutikkala with his education. While he was a history student, he met and was inspired by Professor Gunnar Suolahti. Suolahti’s lessons, with their new social and cultural scope, interested Jutikkala. Under Suolahti’s influence, Jutikkala ended up researching the countryside and workers in the rural economy, instead of concentrating on the history of great men and politics, the more traditional topics of research.

Jutikkala received his PhD in 1932 with his work on the history of Finnish manor houses. Owing to the scale of the work it was published in two parts, the first of which was the actual dissertation. This event was followed by productive years when Jutikkala had time to focus on local history as well as the history of the post office. His major work, Suomen talonpojan historia (‘The History of the Finnish Peasantry’), was published in 1942. This book has become a classic in the field of Finnish history. It has also been reprinted in revised editions.

Photo: Eero Roine, University of Helsinki.​
Photo: Eero Roine, University of Helsinki.​

Thanks to his hard work and good research, after the war Jutikkala was rewarded with a newly established chair in history. The focus of the post was to be on the history of Finland, but it also made room for economic history. The invitation to become the permanent Professor of Finnish History came in 1954. In addition to his professorship, Jutikkala managed to make time for new research and to act in leadership positions at the faculty as both the Vice Dean and the Dean. In his research he never abandoned the agrarian population, but rather went on to investigate the peasantry in the Nordic context. His main research topics after the Second World War, however, shifted more to urban history. He wrote histories of Turku and Tampere and involved himself in historical projects in the city of Helsinki.

Eino Jutikkala retired from his professorship in 1974 but he continued to work with history until his death either writing articles on his own, reading the latest research or participating in seminars. He remained a bachelor his whole life. Jutikkala also lived to see the publication of his biography of Keijo K. Kulha, which came out while he was still giving lectures in 2006. Eino Jutikkala died on December 22 of that year.


Sources (in Finnish):

  • Wikipedia, ‘Eino Jutikkala’. Accessed May 4, 2015.
  • Päiviö Tommila, ‘Jutikkala, Eino’. National Biography of Finland online. Accessed May 5, 2015.
  • Päiviö Tommila, ”Vuosisadan akateemikko ja akateemikon vuosisata” ‘The scholar of the century and the century of the scholar’. Finnish Academy of Science and Letters online. Accessed May 5, 2015.
  • Pertti Haapala, ”Eino Jutikkala (1907-2006). Talonpojan historian kirjoittaja” (‘Eino Jutikkala (1907–2006). Author of the history of the peasantry’). In Suomalaisia tieteen huipulla (‘The Best of Finnish Science’), eds. Tapio Markkanen, Allan Tiitta and Paula Havaste. Gaudeamus: Tallinn 2014.
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