Former Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC) director Jim Kurtti traveled to New England in the fall of 2019 and met with multiple donors who made gracious contributions of Finnish American archives to be preserved and shared with the Archive and Center’s visitors. Until now, the archives were stored in New England before they were able to be transported safely by none other than Frank Eld and his famed ‘Finnebego’. On a journey that started in New England, Eld transported the collection of archival donations all the way to the front door of the FAHC, Copper Country, MI.
“It’s a wonderful testament to the Finns around the country – and, around the world – who see the FAHC as the place to preserve the Finnish voice in the American story. They are so happy that the Archive and the Center are here in a community where Finnish identity is still strong and visible,” Kurtti said.
The items included iron shotputs from a Finnish Labor Hall in New Hampshire from Kate Kokko, photos and book files from the Finnish community of Norwood, Mass. from Donalisa Johnson, art by Gerald Immonen from Deer Island, Maine which were donated by his wife Delight Lewis Immonen, along with a large collection of societal and family photos from the late Sirkka (Tuomi) and Taisto Holm of Francetown, New Hampshire.
Growing up in a Finnish community in Idaho’s Long Valley, Eld was fascinated with antiques and heritage from a young age. Founder of the Long Valley Preservation Society, one of the best ways to describe Eld is a life-long volunteer. His dedication to service is resolute.
“When the Finns arrived in America, first to the New Sweden Colony in 1638, and again in the Great Migration of the 1880s that included my Father and maternal Grandparents, they introduced to this country their culture of sauna and log construction. This is our uniquely Finnish Heritage, one that I passionately work to preserve and document wherever I find it. Both are disappearing from our landscape, much like the Finns themselves. Some of these unique log buildings and other cultural artifacts are preserved by local Finnish groups, although many are struggling to survive. Finns need a repository at which we can preserve our Heritage without concerns that it too will fade away. The Finnish American Heritage Center and archives is the closest thing we have to a national institution. That is why I support it and its efforts and encourage other Finns to do the same. I sincerely hope the Center can be expanded into a National Finnish Museum in the future.”
Article originally shared in the Bridge Magazine 2021, Volume 74, Number 1.
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RELATED ARTICLES AND LINKS
Jan. 2022 – Finlandia appoints new FAHC director
Oct. 2021 – Finnish American Reporter receives Award of Excellence 2021
Oct. 2021 – Archive to temporarily close to complete reorganization
April 2017 – Frank Eld and Greg Isola to present at Juhannus ‘17