Carl Gustaf Estlander
Humanist of the day

Carl Gustaf Estlander

Professor of Aesthetics and Modern Literature, Carl Gustaf Estlander had done pioneering work in the area of Finnish art history even before it was established as an academic discipline. He was also a central figure behind the founding of the art museum Ateneum and the Swedish literature society in Finland. Estlander distanced himself from both radical Finnish- and Swedish-language campaigners, preferring to speak out on behalf of a bilingual nation.

Carl Gustaf Estlander

Carl Gustaf Estlander
Born January 31, 1834, Lapinväärtti. Died February 28, 1910, Helsinki.

Bachelor of Arts, 1856 (Aesthetics and Modern Literature), Master of Arts (priimus), 1857, Licentiate of Philosophy, 1859, Doctor of Philosophy, 1860, Imperial Alexander University

Dean, Division of History and Philology, Imperial Alexander University, 1884–98
Docent, Aesthetics and Modern Literature, Imperial Alexander University, 1860, Professor, 1868–1898
Founder, Editor-in-chief, Finsk tidskrift journal, 1876–1886
Board Member, Helsingfors Dagblad newspaper, 1862–1863

Representative of the Nobility at the Diet, 1899
Representative of the Clergy at the Diet, 1882
Member, Helsinki City Council, 1875–79, 1883–1885
Inspector, Uusimaa ‘nation’, 1870–1884
Secretary, Art Society, 1869–1878, and President, 1878–1896
Member, Finnish Society of Science and Letters, 1869, President, 1876–1877
Founder, Svenska litteratursällskapet (‘Swedish Literature Society in Finland’), 1885, President, 1885–1897, Honorary President, 1898

Riemutohtori, 1910
Ennobled, 1898
Counsellor of State, 1898
Riemumaisteri ( honorary master’s degree conferred fifty years after a first degree), 1897
Kanslianeuvos (honour bestowed upon public figure), 1891

Photo: WikimediaCommons
Written by Tomas Sjöblom
Translated by John Calton

In 1857, the president of the Ostrobothnian student ‘nation’ Carl Gustaf Estlander gave an emotional speech in support of the Fennicisation of university students and other intelligentsia. In the decades to come, however, he was to change his mind.

Like many of his fellow students, he had absorbed Finnish nationalistic…

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