Salama Hirvonen
Humanist of the day

Salama Hirvonen

Salama Simonen (from 1954 Hirvonen) forged a long and illustrious career in the Finnish press. She was a journalist at the newspaper Uusi Suomi for almost 40 years, trained aspiring journalists at the School of Social Sciences, the forerunner of the University of Tampere, and held positions of responsibility within the Finnish press until her retirement.

Salama Hirvonen

Salama Hirvonen (nee Simonen)
Born August 1, 1910 Mikkeli. Died January 4, 2007, Helsinki

Master of Arts 1934, University of Helsinki

Journalist, Uusi Suomi, 1938–75
Instructor in newspaper journalism 1949–53 and acting lecturer 1955–56, School of Social Sciences (now University of Tampere)
Journalist, Aamulehti, 1935–37

Board member, Union of Journalists in Finland, 1946–56
Secretary, Finnish Association of Journalists, 1943–74

Edited publications:
Puntila, L.A. & Waris, Paavo G. & Simonen, Salama (ed.). Suomen kulttuurirahasto 1939–1949 (‘The Finnish Cultural Foundation 1939–49,’ 1949).
Suomalainen sanomalehtimiesliitto 75 vuotias.(‘The Finnish Association of Journalists at 75,’ 1982).
Aitovieri, Hilma. Lotta Kuosmasen sota (‘Lotta Kuomanen’s war,1988’).

Stockley, Cynthia. Siniset turkoosit 1944 (Blue Aloes: Stories of South Africa, 1918)
Vulpius, Christian August. Rinaldo Rinaldini: kuuluisa rosvoromaani, 1949 (Rinaldo Rinaldini, the Robber Captain, 1797)
Ahlström, Alarik & Westman, Ivar. Oy. Yleinen insinööritoimisto, Hki, 1912-1952 (YIT Helsinki, 1921–52,’ 1951)
Geissler, Horst Wolfram. Rakas Augustin (‘Beloved Augustin,’ 1958).

Photo: Iltalehti
Written by Tiia Niemelä
Translated by Matthew Billington

In the case of Salama Hirvonen, journalism ran in the family. Her father, Vihtori Simonen (1882–1951), forged a significant career at the beginning of the 20th century as a journalist, author and influential social figure, among others as editor-in-chief of the newspapers Mikkelin Sanomat and Kouvolan Sanomat. Salama Hirvonen’s brother Seppo Simonen (1912–81) was a journalist at such papers as Maaseudun Tulevaisuus, Uusi Suomi and Yhteishyvä. In addition, he was a historian who published works on agricultural, local and entrepreneurial history. Seppo Simonen’s daughters Katri and Elina also became journalists. Elina Simonen (born 1944) is well-known particularly as the long-term editor-in-chief of the women’s magazine Kotiliesi.

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Salama Simonen and her brother Seppo were active participants in the founding of the Kymenlaakso student nation at the beginning of the1930s. Salama Simonen was nominated to the student nation’s regulations committee – established at its inaugural meeting on September 18, 1933 – and tasked with formulating the regulations for the nascent organisation. The regulations were approved and adopted in 1934.

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The forerunner of the University of Tampere, the School of Social Sciences, was originally founded in Helsinki in 1925 as the Civic College. The school was transferred to Tampere in 1960. The purpose of the institution was to educate professionals for various roles in society that were not catered for by the degrees offered by universities or other higher education institutions and for which completion of upper-secondary school was not an absolute requirement. One such field was journalism. No wonder then that among the signatories of the petition to establish the School of Social Sciences were such renowned press figures as Tekla Hultin, Juhani Aho, and Santeri Alkio.

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