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Perustamisasiakirja 1640_TA

Year of induction: 2021

Custodian: University of Helsinki

Archives of the Royal Academy of Turku and the Imperial Alexander University

The archived resources consist of documents and other archived materials of the Royal Academy of Turku and the Imperial Alexander University, predecessors of the University of Helsinki, from 1640 to 1924. The archived resources have been grouped into periods in accordance with the university’s rules and statutes so that the span of the archives ends with the first rules of procedure defined during Finland’s independence in 1924. This means that the resources mainly predate Finland’s independence, as a result of which the name of the university was changed to the University of Helsinki in 1919.

The archived resources are an integral part of the national documented cultural heritage, and also the history of Finland’s scientific, national and governmental development. Finnish science, scientific research, culture and education, the essence of being Finnish, including the idea of independence, were created and developed within the sphere of the university. The university’s documented resources have a lasting value for Finnish science, research and national culture, identity, self-understanding, and Finnishness, as well as the independent State of Finland. Until 1918, the Royal Academy of Turku/Imperial Alexander University was the only university in Finland. This means that everyone who had received a higher education in Finland since 1640 studied there. Until 1917, the matriculation examination was completed at the university and, in practice, acted as the university’s entrance examination. The archived resources have been divided into three archived sets based on the university’s historical phases and the establishment of archives, consisting of the following resources: 

  • Archives of the Royal Academy of Turku (1640–1828)
  • Archives I of the Office of the Chancellor (1726–1799)
  • Archives II of the Office of the Chancellor (1809–1924)
  • Archives of the Vice Chancellor (1829–1924)
  • Archives of the Consistory (1828–1924)

The university’s phases illustrate Finland’s governmental and political history and development. Established in 1640, the archives of the Royal Academy of Turku comprise all of the university’s survived documented materials throughout the academy’s operations in Turku from 26 March 1640 to 30 September 1828. After the Great Fire of Turku, the emperor of all the Russias moved the university to Helsinki, the nation’s new capital, where it was named the Imperial Alexander University in Finland. The university started operating in Helsinki on 1 October 1828. The archives of the Chancellor, the highest administrative official at the university, were located in the mother country during the period of Swedish rule, and often followed the Chancellor who acted as the Council of the Realm. The Chancellor’s archives were transferred to Finland and integrated into the academy’s archives in 1810 in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Fredrikshamn which ended the Finnish War of 1808–1809. For the most part of the Finnish autonomy during the period of Russian rule, the Russian Empire’s Prince Royal acted as the Chancellor, and the Office of the Chancellor was located in Saint Petersburg, the Empire’s capital, in conjunction with the Office of the Finnish Minister-Secretary of State. After the Russian Revolution in March 1917, the archives were transferred to the university in Helsinki.