New rarities in the Library of the Labour Movement’s Collection of Socialism (Finland)

Information about archival material

The Library of the Labour Movement, Finland, has supplemented its Collection of Socialism, Marxism and Other Leftist Ideologies with relevant, and partly rare, foreign ephemera and booklets. The material has been catalogued into the library’s database and is now available for public use. The cataloguing project was funded by Yrjö Sirola Foundation.

The newly catalogued material consists mostly of Marxist or socialist pamphlets or textbooks but also includes works that stand critical towards Marxism and socialism. The majority are published during the Second International (1889-1916) in the Great Britain, France, Germany, The United States, and the Nordic countries. Among the writers we find well known politicians and social philosophers – such as Marx, Kautsky and Bernstein – but also some relatively forgotten ones – like Oscar Ameringer, Amédéé Hennequin and Julius Martov.

The material has come a long way, first to the Labour Archives, Finland, as acquisitions and donations from labour institutions or private donors, and from there to the Library of the Labour Movement. The bookplates and signatures reveal us that many of the ephemera and booklets have belonged to prominent figures in the Finnish labour history, such as N. R. af Ursin, Väinö Tanner, Edvard Valpas, and Väinö Voionmaa, and thus they can shed some light to the ideas and ideologies followed, and utilized, by the early Finnish labour movement.

Most of the material belong to the Lending Collection and can be borrowed home or studied at the library. The rare ones are located at the Rarities Collection in the library’s Reading Room and can be studied only in the library premises. All the material can be searched in the library database Helka, as well as in the national database Finna

The Library of the Labour Movement is one of the central Finnish libraries that collect publications on socialism, Marxism, and other leftist ideologies. The collection of socialism and related ideologies includes presently 2 150 items, and the library also has related material in other collections. In addition, the library still has many metres uncatalogued material on the subject matter, that only waits to be handled and added into the library database.

A part of the collection of socialism and related ideologies has been digitized and can be found in the digital repository Helda Presently, these include works only produced in Finland.


For further information: Alpo Väkevä, Information Specialist


Library of the Labour Movement

Sörnäisten rantatie 25 A

FI-00500 Helsinki