Karl Laantee collection at the Estonian Cultural History Archives
The Karl Laantee collection at the Estonian Cultural History Archive is part of the large archival legacy of Karl Laantee, an émigré Estonian religious activist, and announcer with the Voice of America radio station.
Tartu Vanemuise 42, Estonia 51003
Show on map
Name of collection
- Collection of Karl Laantee
Provenance and cultural activities
The collector of the content is Karl Laantee, an Estonian political activist, theologian and announcer with Western propaganda radio. The personal archive is a by-product of his activities. Laantee collected material about his own activities in various fields. He used the collection during his lifetime. During most of his life, it was private. Laantee donated part of the collection to the Estonian Literary Museum in 2006. The rest was donated to the Library of Tartu University by his daughter Tiina Ly Laantee after his death. The Estonian Literary Museum holds nearly 1,000 different records.
It is not known exactly when Laantee started to collect the material for his archive. The oldest document in the collection is from 1939. A clear increase in the number of records starts from the mid-1950s. Therefore, it is safe to assume that he started to collect items after moving to the United States in 1949. The newest item in the collection is from 1990.
The collection contains material covering nearly 40 years of Karl Laantee's political, religious and professional activities. He was an announcer with the Voice of America radio station in the 1980s, and the collection holds authentic material from Soviet Estonia, including messages from the resistance in Estonia. Laantee had a huge correspondence network. There are numerous letters in the collection to and from other Estonian émigrés, and various émigré and religious organisations.
The authorities in Soviet Estonia most likely did not know of the existence of the collection. However, they tried to jam the Voice of America radio station.
In the 1990s the foreign Estonian material was the main focus of the Estonian academic research. But Karl Laantee collection arrived in Estonia long after the academic trend for foreign Estonian collections. That is why Karl Laantee collection is still not widely used.The collection arrived in Estonia long after the first foreign Estonian archives arrived. Because foreign Estonian material was not the focus of the Estonian academic research in the 1990s, the Karl Laantee collection is still not widely used. No academic studies about the collection, or in which it is used as a source, have been published. Karl Laantee himself published a selection of his speeches and articles from 1948 to 1994, called Lootus vabaduse taevavõlvi ülalhoidjana (Hope as Holder of the Firmament of Freedom. Speeches and writings about freedom, human rights, independence, and national and international relationships. Historic documents from 1948-1994. Tartu, 1994).
Today the collection is accessible to the public.
Description of content
In this collection, 2,330 files from the period between 1939 and 1990 are stored. A large part of the collection is formed of material from the Voice of America radio station, where Laantee worked for a long time.
- artifacts: 0-9
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 10-99
- legal and/or financial documentation: 10-99
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 500-999
- music recordings: 0-9
- photos: 0-9
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 10-99
Place of founding
United States of America
Show on map
Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
- Laantee, Karl. 1994. Lootus vabaduse taevavõlvi ülalhoidjana: kõnesid ja kirjutisi vabaduse, inimõiguste, iseseisvuse, rahvuslikel ja rahvusvaheliste suhete teemadel ajadokumentidena aastast 1948-1994 [Hope as holder of the firmament of freedom: speeches and writings abut freedom, human rights, independence, national and international relationships. Historic documents from 1948-1994]. Tartu: Greif.
Author(s) of this page
- Koppel, Taavi
Miljan, Toivo. 2015. Historical dictionary of Estonia. Lanham [etc.]: Rowman & Littlefield. Page 55.
Noorhani, Piret. 2007. "Eesti Kultuurilooline Arhiiv." In Paar sammukest XXIII. Eesti Kirjandusmuuseumi aastaraamat, edited by Mare Kõiva, 405-428. Tartu: Eesti Kirjandusmuuseumi Teaduskirjastus.
Asmer, Vilve , interview by Koppel, Taavi , August 11, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection