Letters from Abroad

August 23, 2013

Until recently paper letters were the only possibility to stay in touch with family members or friends, who were forced to leave their homeland.

Letters are important research sources since, in addition to autobiographical information, they also give information about the surrounding society and social circumstances. But in letters written mainly from a personal collection, one can get information also about collective attitudes and values through them. In difficult times written letter correspondence provides an idea about topics which required silence and which topics needed to be written with select words.

The Estonian National Museum in Tartu wishes to supplement its collections with letters that were exchanged between Estonians who remained in their country and those who escaped in the heated environment of the Second World War. Also of interest are objects exchanged among displaced persons. If there are letters in someone’s possession that made it to the West before the Second World War and in the Soviet Era, they are also of interest to the museum.

Especially valuable are letter correspondances that have lasted through many decades, out of which both sent and unsent letters have been preserved. If a two-sided letter correspondance has not survived, then one side of the letter exchange is also a valuable source for researchers.

Supplemental information can be received from the director of museum collections (Riina Reinvelt, tel: +372 7350406, e-mail: riina@erm.ee) or writing to the address: Estonian National Museum, Veski 32, Tartu 51014, Estonia.