Elias Lönnrot

ELIAS LÖNNROT 1802–1884

Elias Lönnrot was one of the great men of his time. He compiled the Kalevala and the Kanteletar, and was also an

– explorer,
– linguistic reformer and standardiser,
– lexicographer,
– folk educator,
– pioneer in Finnish botany,
– hymn-writer,
– association active,
– journalist,
– publisher,
– physician,
– scientist ans
– professor of Finnish language and literature.

1802
Elias Lönnrot was born in Sammatti on 9 April.
Reverend Gabriel Procopaeus baptised him at Karjalohja on 11 April.

1814
Went to school at the Tammisaari Pedagogio.

1815
Continued school at Tammisaari during the spring and autumn.

1816
Signed up for the Turku cathedral school, first grade, on 5 April.

1818
Dropped out of cathedral school in the spring.
Then travelled for a few years in Sammatti and neighbouring villages, as a tailor and teen singer.

1820
Entered into the register of the Porvoo Gymnasium on 20 March.
Resigned from the Gymnasium on 9 April, enrolled as an apothecary student at Hämeenlinna, living there for two years.

1822
Spent the summer at Sammatti preparing for the high school examination. Entered into the register of the University of Turku on 11 October.

1823
Finished a stipend examination and worked for the summer as a home teacher at Eurajoki, for the family of Chief of Police T. M. Hockert.

1824
Åbo Underrättelser on 14 February published Lönnrot’s first work, a translation into Swedish of a poem. Worked for the spring and the next four summers as a home teacher for the family of Professor J. A. Törngren at Vesilahti in Laukko.

1826
On 10 June defended the stipendiate thesis drafted by Professor H. Fattenborg.

1827
Master’s thesis, De Väinämöine priscorum fennorum numine, finished on 14 February. Received certificate for Bachelor of Arts degree on 11 June.

1828
Set out on first poetry collection trip from Sammatti on 29 April.
Met poetry singer Juhana Kainulainen at Kesälahti, 8–13 June.
Returned from trip to Laukko, 4 September.
Started studies in medicine at University of Helsinki in late October.

1830
Graduated as Bachelor of Medicine on 14 December.

1831
Acted as secretary at the founding meeting of the Finnish Literature Society on 16 February.
Carried out second collection trip on 28 May–6 August.
Returned to Helsinki on 22 August to work as cholera doctor, and in September took on position as travelling cholera inspector.
Made notes on whitsun hymns at Huittula in Sääksmäki while on cholera inspection trip.

1832
Finished Licentiate in Medicine on 4 May.
Defended doctoral dissertation Om Finnarnes magiska medicin on 15 June.
Promoted to Doctor of Medicine on 20 June.
Carried out third poetry collection trip between 13 July and 17 September.
Appointed assistant doctor in Oulu.

1833
Moved to Kajaani on 21 January as pro-temp district doctor.
Fell seriously ill on 20 February with typhus. In early March, rumours spread in South Finland that Lönnrot was dead.
In early April, after recovering, Lönnrot engaged in his duties.
Appointed on 24 July as tenured district doctor for Kajaani.
Wrote to K. N. Keckman for the first time concerning the compiling of different folk poems into a mini-epic.
Carried out fourth collection trip between 9 and 28 September, met Ontrei Malinen and Vaassila Kieleväinen at Vuonninen.
Wrote to Henrik Cajander for the first time on 3 December concerning the idea of combining narrative poems into one whole.

1834
Bought his first house in mid-March: Hövelö at Paltamo.
Carried out fifth collection trip between 13 and 30 April.
Arhippa Pertttunen, the best narrator of the old poems, sang for Lönnrot at Latvajärvi between 25 and 27 April.
Carried out trip to Helsinki, Sammatti and Laukko during two month sabbatical on 8 May to 23 July.
The material for the last third of the Old Kalevala came together during a vaccination inspection trip to Repola between 22 October and 14 November.

1835
Sold Hövelö and bought the Polvila and Partala farms at Paltamo, which were communally farmed, as well as the city hall by the Kajaani market square.
Signed the preface of the Old Kalevala on 28 February.
Carried out fifth collection trip between 4 April and 16 May.
In late August, went on a medical trip to the distant village of Lapukka, on the other side of the border.
The first part of the Old Kalevala became available at bookshops on 20 December.

1836
In early March, the last part of the Old Kalevala came out.
Received a year’s sabbatical starting 1 September, in order to carry out a research trip. The trip was postponed for a few weeks due to an outbreak of dysentery in Kajaani.
The first phase of the grand trip, 16 September to 12 December.

1837
The second phase of the grand trip, 20 January to 10 May.
Lönnrot’s life was threatened at Jäketjärvi on 28–29 January.
The third phase of the grand trip, 6 June to 15 November.

1838
In September carried out eight collection trips to the regions of Ilomantsi and Pielinen.

1839
On 8 April elected as a member of the Finnish Science Society.
Church boat capsised on 19 May in the Sipinen river at Kajaani, drowning Lönnrot’s nephew Kaarle and his servant. Lönnrot barely escaped onto the shore.
Took a seven month sabbatical starting 21 December.

1840
Participated on 9 March in the anniversary celebration of the Savonian-Karelian Nation, where Lönnrot, Runeberg and Snellman were for the first time celebrated as great men.
Signed the preface of the Kanteletar on 9 April, first part came out during the same month.
Lönnrot participated in the 200th anniversary of the University of Helsinki on 14–21 July, as a guest of honour.
The Senate on 4 August granted Lönnrot a second sabbatical, lasting two years, for the purpose of making a dictionnary. The sabbatical started 15 October.
In a meeting of four district doctors at Nissilä in Iisalmi on 11–13 September, they decided to found the yearbook Suomi.

1841
The first phase of the second grand trip 16 January–30 May. The trip was interrupted due to a passport frackas at Petrozavodsk.
The tenth and longest trip to Lapland, Archangelsk and Lotinapelto began 31 October.

1842
The tenth trip ended on 20 October, at Kajaani.

1843
Thanks to an anonymous letter from F. J. Rabbe published in the Helsingfors Morgonblad, Lönnrot was granted a five year sabbatical on 13 November.

1844
The five year sabbatical started 1 January, but in practice only began on 26 March.
Set out on an expedition to Estonia.
Chosen on 2 August as an honourary member of the Estonian Learned Society.
Returned from Estonia to St. Petersburg on 10 December.

1845
Set out on 27 February from Helsinki to Kajaani, accompanied during the beginning of the trip to Siberia by M. A. Castrén and J. R. Bergstad.
Elected on 24 March as a correspondent of the Estonian Literature Society.

1847
From Christmas of 1846 to mid-April wrote at Laukko.
In early May started to edit the New Kalevala.
From Christmas to next February carried out official duties due to trip undertaken by substitute.

1848
From mid-August to the end of May 1849 stayed at Laukko finishing the New Kalevala.

1849
Signed preface of New Kalevala on 17 April.
On 13 July married Maria Piponius.
Once again undertook doctor’s office on 15 July.
Elected as a Member of the Artists’ Society on 31 December.

1850
Lönnrot’s first child was born on Elias’ Day on 14 April, and was christened Elias.
Elected as correspondent of the Prussian Science Academy on 25 April.

1851
Lönnrot’s father died on 18 October at Kajaani.

1852
Daughter Maria was born on 18 June.
Son Elias died on 16 September.

1853
Lönnrot defended his study Om det Nord-Tschudiska Språket on 14 May, prepared for the position of professor of Finnish language and literature.
Was elected as professor on 21 October.

1854
In January moved from Kajaani to Helsinki.
Held inaugural speech at University on 14 February.
Elected as leader of Finnish Literature Society on 16 March.
Travelled with family on 5 May to summer house at Mikkola in Sammatti, in order to escape Crimean War, stayed there until end of September.

1855
Elected as chair of Finnish Science Society on 29 April.
Spent June and July at Kajaani on vacation, otherwise at Sammatti.
Daughter Ida was born at Sammatti on 8 August.

1856
Spent summer and Christmas vacations at Sammatti.

1857
Went to Kajaani on 5 May in order to protest against famine, returned at the end of August.

1858
Daughter Elina was born on 5 February in Helsinki.
Spent summer and Christmas vacations at Sammatti.

1859
Lönnrot’s mother died at Sammatti on 21 March.
In early March Lönnrot bought Niku’s house at Sammatti.
Was elected member of the Hungarian Science Academy on 16 December.

1860
Was promoted as Doctor Emeritus of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki on 31 May, and in the spring was nominated an honourary member of the Society of Oriental and American Ethnography.
Spent the summer and Christmas vacations at Sammatti.
Daughter Thekla was born in Helsinki on 23 September.

1862
Elected on 12 May as member of a committee tasked with giving a statement on the possible use of Finnish as an official language.
In June retires from professorship, and receives title of Counsellor.

1863
Served as opponent on 31 January of A. Ahlqvist for his doctoral defense of his dissertation, Finnish poetry from a linguistic point of view.
In February recommenced work on dictionary.
Elected as honourary leader of Finnish Literature Society on 16 March.
Elected as member of Finnish hymn committee on 20 April.
Serves as opponent of K. A. Gottlund in his defense of his professor’s dissertation on 25 April.
At Lönnrot’s initiative and expense, a public library was established at Sammatti on 10 May.

1864
Elected as member of Hungarian Society of Natural Sciences on 14 January.

1865
Elected as knight of Swedish Order of Polaris on 18 April.

1866
Second session of hymn committee in Turku between 10 September and 19 December.

1867
First instalment of Finnish-Swedish dictionary published in March.

1868
Third session of hymn committee between 17 January and 15 February.
Wife Maria Lönnrot died 21 July.
In September folk school founded by Lönnrot started teaching at Sammatti.

1869
Bought house at Lammi on 17 August.

1870
Recovered from broken leg at Loimaa between 22 January and 24 April.
Lönnrot wrote poem for inauguration of Student House 26–27 November.

1871
Fourth session of hymn committee between 15 January and 24 April.
German Kaiser elected Lönnrot knight of order of Pour le Mérite.

1872
General public festival to celebrate Lönnrot, Runeberg and Snellman on 30 October.

1874
Daughter Maria died on 6 January.

1875
Elected in January as honourary Member of Eesti Kirjameeste Seltsi.
Recovered from broken leg between November–December.

1876
Letter of Sale for sale of Niku house to U. Cygnaeus on 21 January.
Elected as honourary member of Paris linguistic society on 10 February.
Lönnrot participated as representative for Raseborg western church district in first Finnish church assembly on 1–30 January.
Daughter Elina died 3 December.
Elected as honourary member of St. Petersburg Science Academy.

1877
Given master’s honours on 31 May.

1879
Daughter Thekla died 22 March.

1880
Last instalment of Finnish-Swedish dictionary published in September.
Elected as honourary member of Finnish Science Society on 8 November.

1881
Carried out trip to North Finland between 7 June and 22 July.

1882
Elected honourary member of Artists’ Society on 5 February.
Went to Helsinki on 20 March–28 April for 80th anniversary celebrations.
Given honours as doctor of medicine and surgery on 1 June.

1883
Elected honourary member of Finnish Medical Society in September.

1884
Lönnrot died at the Lammi house in Sammatti on 19 March.
Buried at Sammatti on 3 April.

Source:
Pekka Laaksonen: Elias Lönnrot 1802–1884. In Sammatti. Elias Lönnrotin kotipitäjä, edited by Veikko Kallio. Otava 2002.