Johan Jakob Tengström
Humanist of the day

Johan Jakob Tengström

Contemporaries of Johan Jakob Tengström, Professor of philosophy, failed to appreciate his interdisciplinary approach to his subject. Instead, he was even heralded the best Finnish historian of his time. The mainstay of Tengström’s life’s work concerned the training of professional public officials and the education of influential figures in the Fennoman movement, who were soon to eclipse his fame.

Johan Jakob Tengström

Born October 22, 1787, Kokkola. Died April 11, 1858, Helsinki

Bachelor of arts 1809, Master of Arts and PhD (philosophy) 1810, Imperial Academy of Turku
Study trips to Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Italy and France 1817–19
Studies in Uppsala 1804–06

Professor of philosophy 1830–48, Imperial Alexander University
Acting professor of the history of science and learning 1822–25, professor of practical philosophy 1827–30, Imperial Academy of Turku/Imperial Alexander University.
Special assistant of philosophy 1813, Imperial Academy of Turku
Special library assistant 1811–16, deputy librarian 1816–26, assistant librarian 1826–27, Academy of Turku library
Docent in the history of literature 1811–13, Imperial Academy of Turku

Inspector of the Pohjalainen Student Nation 1845–48
Inspector of the Pohjoispohjalainen Student Nation 1837–44
Curator of the Pohjalainen Student Nation 1823–28

Honorary member of the Pohjalainen Student Nation

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Johan Erik Lindh
Written by Tomas Sjöblom
Translated by Matthew Billington

Johan Jakob Tengström, the son of a parson from a clerical family, enrolled at the Imperial Academy of Turku in 1803. After spending the years 1804-06 studying abroad in Uppsala, he graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy in 1809.

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In addition to his academic career, Johan Jakob Tengström was also a significant educator of the nationalistic intelligentsia. He was an early member of the Fennoman movement, and as early as 1817, while living abroad, he published a Fennoman manifesto in the magazine Aura.

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