The Estonian Cultural History Archives

The Estonian Cultural History Archives (ECHA, established in 1929) is the central Estonian archives collecting documents of cultural-historical value. It contains archival materials in the following areas: literature, theatre, visual arts, music, journalism, education, the arts, the activites of societies etc. Since its beginings the archives have been collecting material on the Estonian diaspora (different regions of Russia, the Caucasus, Crimea, Latvia etc). Since 1980s the work has primarily been focusing on the Western diaspora.

At the moment the Estonian Cultural History Archives has 32 systematized manuscript collections of exile provenance (23 768 items) and 27 photo collections (24 372 photos and negatives) – mostly peronal archives, a few archives of organizations/institutions and miscellanea collections. Some exile material (especially correspondence) can be found in the so-called home collections as well. The archives have also pieces of art (the biggest art collection of Richard Antik contains more than 200 units) as well as sound and film recordings (mostly interviews and recordings of cultural events, ca 50 units) donated by exile Estonians. These figures refer to the materials that have been arranged, ie systematized and catalogued. A considerable amount of material is still awaiting to be arranged.

Information on the archival materials (including exile materials) can be found in the electronic catalogue ELLEN.

The archival materials have been used to arrange exhibitions and conferences on exile Estonian topics, to publish research papers, source publications, textbooks, and reprints of fiction.