Karl Ferdinand Ignatius
Humanist of the day

Karl Ferdinand Ignatius

Karl Ferdinand Ignatius investigated Finnish history through numbers. As a representative at the Diet and subsequently as senator, he worked on behalf of the tenant farmers and brought about reforms in the state’s bookkeeping. His long career in the central office of statistics gave Ignatius the opportunity to put the country on a statistical footing fit for purpose.

Karl Ferdinand Ignatius

Karl Emil Ferdinand Ignatius
Born October 27, 1837, Pori. Died September 11, 1909, Helsinki.

Master of Arts (history), 1860, Licentiate of Philosophy, 1862, Doctor of Philosophy, 1864, Imperial Alexander

Assistant to the Head Statistician, 1865–68,  Head Statistician, 1868–75, Director 1875–1885, Central Office of Statistics (–1870 temporary bureau of statistics, –1884 Statistical Office)
Docent, Nordic History and Docent of Finnish Statistics, 1865, Imperial Alexander University

Senator, Head of the Cabinet Committee, 1885–1900, 1905–8
Representative of the Burghers at the Diet, 1877–8, 1882, 1885, 1904–5
Member, Helsinki City Council, 1875–8, 1903–5

Founder Member, Finnish Geographical Society, 1888, Chairman, 1888–9, Honorary Member, 1907
Member, Finnish Society of Science and Letters, 1879
Chairman, Finnish Antiquarian Society, 1877–85
Founder Member, Finnish Historical Society, 1875, Chairman, 1877–8, 1884–5, 1900–1

Italian Cavaliere, 1884
Knight of the Order of St.Vladimir, Fourth Class, 1883, Third Class, 1887
Knight of the Order of St. Anna, Second Class, 1880, First Class, 1897
Knight of the Order of St. Stanislas, Second Class, 1876, First Class, 1892

Photo: National Board of Antiquities / Daniel Nyblin
Written by Tomas Sjöblom
Translated by John Calton

In addition to his statistical and academic activities, Karl Ferdinand Ignatius, director general of the central office for statistics, was a pro-Finnish political figure of considerable influence. He participated in the Diet of Finland, worked as a senator and wrote articles for daily newspapers and periodicals.

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