Elsa Enäjärvi-Haavio
Humanist of the day

Elsa Enäjärvi-Haavio

Elsa Enäjärvi-Haavio, who gained her doctorate in the subject of Finnish folklore, was a great organiser, and very influential from the Thirties to the Fifties. She played an active role in the public discourse of that period, both oral and written, cultural and societal. Enäjärvi-Haavio wrote non-fiction, and literary and theatre reviews. She was also a councillor on the Helsinki City Council and had a place on the presidential electoral college.

Elsa Enäjärvi-Haavio

Elsa Elina Enäjärvi-Haavio (before 1922 Eklund)
Born 14 October, 1901, Vihti. Died 24 January, 1951, Helsinki.

Master of Arts 1923, Licentiate and Doctor of Philosophy 1932, University of Helsinki

University magazine secretary, 1921
Kallio comprehensive school, Finnish-language teacher, 1923–24
Publishing assistant, Werner Söderström Ltd, 1930–33
Docent of Finnish and Comparative folklore Studies, 1947
Presidential elections, Elector for National Coalition Party and National Coalition Councillor on Helsinki City Council 1950
Member of the Federation Board and Council, National Coalition Party Women’s Federation, 1950

Treasurer and Archivist, Finnish Language Society 1921–25
Secretary (1921–22) and Chairwoman (1928–30), Estonian-Finnish Varsity Club (‘Akateeminen Heimoklubi’)
Federation Board member (1930–31) and Chairwoman (1928–51), Association of Academic Women
Deputy-Chairwoman, Family Federation of Finland 1941–51 and Chairwoman, Home Help Committee, 1941–51
Advisory Board member, Kotiliesi (‘Home hearth’magazine) 1942–44 and 1946–48
Delegate, Taxpayers’ Association of Finland, 1945–51
Chairwoman, Kalevala Women’s Federation 1947–48
Member, Advisory Board of Finnish Cultural Fund, 1947–51
Membership of numerous academic societies and organisations.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Written by Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta
Translated by John Calton

Elsa Eklund (Enäjärvi from 1922) was born into a family of merchants and farmers in 1901. She began her studies at the University of Helsinki in 1919. Initially she studied mathematics, physics and chemistry, but soon transferred to the department of history and linguistics. There she studied a combination of Finnish literature, Finnish language and literature, Finnish and Scandinavian history, and Finnish and comparative folklore studies. Eklund's interest in folklore was sparked when she met Martti Haavio at the beginning of her studies.

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