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Archive Collections at Åbo Akademi University Library

Archive Collections at Åbo Akademi University Library

The Archive Collections at Åbo Akademi University Library is a research archive consisting of the Manuscript Collections (HS) and the Åbo Akademi Picture Collections (ÅABS). We provide support for researchers, students and the public looking for archival material for their research. In the Archive Collections you can find personal and family archives as well as the archives of several estates, companies and organizations. We also have a considerable photographical portrait collection of identified people, as well as photographs of landscapes  from different parts of Finland.

In the Archive Collections you can find material about the women’s rights movement,  migration, healthcare, wartime, agriculture, education, societal circumstances, travel and industries. The archival material consists of letters, diaries, manuscripts and estate records etc. Most of the material is from the 19th and 20th centuries, but we also have some older material.

The Archive Collections were established through donations from mostly private individuals, but also from companies and associations. Among our donors are several authors, theologians, artists and scholars related to the Swedish speaking minority in Finland, to Åbo Akademi University or to the Turku area.

From 1.7.2024 until 31.12.2025 the Picture Collections will be closed due to moving preperations, with reservations for changes. Until further notice the Manuscript Collections are open as usual. See here for more information.

Because of the upcoming renovation of the Book Tower, The Picture Collections are closed 1.7.2024 – due to moving preparations (with reservations for changes). During this time the image material is unavailable. See our webpage for more information and suggestions.

For image materials, you can contact for example:

Kulturvetenskapliga arkivet Cultura cultura@abo.fi 
Sjöhistoriska institutet sjohistoriska@abo.fi 
Konstvetenskapliga arkivet konstvet@abo.fi  
Svenska litteratursällskapet arkivet@sls.fi 
Finna https://www.finna.fi/  

Most of our archival material is available for research and can be ordered to our reading room located in the Book Tower at Åbo Akademi University Library. Please contact the Archive Collections via email (manus@abo.fi for the Manuscript Collections; picture@abo.fi for the Åbo Akademi Picture Collections) for ordering material and possible questions before your visit.

Our archive reading room is open
Tuesday–Friday 10–16
Irregular opening hours are updated in Alma.

Visiting address
Åbo Akademi University Library, the Book Tower, 2nd Floor.
Domkyrkogatan 2–4
20500 Åbo

You can reach us via email or phone
manus@abo.fi (manuscripts)
picture@abo.fi (pictures)

Please read this through before you start working with the material.

  • Valid ID-card must be shown during your first visit.
  • There is camera surveillance in the reading room.
  • Do not bring your bags or outerwear to your table in the reading room.
  • Do not eat or drink in the reading room.
  • Do not speak on the phone and do not disturb other visitors.


  • Handle the material with care and follow the staff’s directions.
  • Keep the material in its original order in volumes, cases and archival boxes.
  • Use nitrile gloves when handling photographic or otherwise sensitive material. Gloves are provided in the reading room.
  • Do not take archival material away from the reading room.
  • Return printed material from the library’s special collections when you leave for the day.
  • Before you leave, notify the staff if you are finished with the material or if you’d like to continue studying it another day.
  • If the material has not been used within a week, the staff will return it to storage (if nothing else is agreed upon).


  • Ask the staff for permission to photograph the material.
  • The staff takes care of all the copying and digitalization. Please see our prize list for the cost of copies.
  • Photographs and copies are research material intended only for personal use. They may not be shared. Please ask the staff if you would like to publish any of our archival material.
  • The copyright law applies to all of our material.

Manusam is the main database containing information about the Manuscript Collections. In Manusam you can also see if any restrictions apply to a collection. In this case, the staff will provide further information about the restrictions.

Brevsam is a database containing information about letters that are part of the Manuscript Collections. In the database you can for example search for the letters’ sender and receiver.

Bildsam is a picture database where you can find a selection of our pictures and information about them. These images can freely be used for non-commercial purposes. Only a fraction of the pictures in our collections are catalogued and searchable online. If you are looking for specific picture material, please contact us. You can also find our catalogued pictures in Alma.

You can find our digital material in the library’s search portal Alma. Alma contains, for example, parts of the Finnish Economic Society’s collection.

You can purchase digital copies of our archival material in low and high (printing quality) resolution. Our material is protected by copyright law, which can sometimes limit the possibilities of use. Please fill in our usage contract, if you would like to use pictures that may be affected by copyright law or other limitations.

Please note that it might take us a couple of working days to complete your order. The staff takes care of all the copying and digitalization of archive material, and we charge according to our prize list.

The Archive Collections are happy to receive group visits  where we can tell you about our archive and the way we operate. We gladly give our visitors the opportunity to interact with the original archival material. At the moment we are able to welcome no more than 15 visitors at a time.

For courses held at Åbo Akademi University we are currently providing a new concept where we come visit you and your students . The visit starts with a short presentation of the Archival Collections. Thereafter the students are divided into groups and receive a box containing copies of documents as well as questions for discussion related to the documents. The content can be accommodated according to your wishes and interests.

Please contact us in advance by sending an email to manus@abo.fi and booking a visit.

The Archival Collections are happy to receive donations of archival material, both pictures and manuscripts. The archive primarily relates to Finland-Swedish people, to Åbo Akademi University and to the Turku area – but we may also accept material on other topics, after consideration.

If you would like to donate material, please read our collection policy (in Swedish), as well as our letter of donation (in Swedish), before contacting us. The decision about accepting donations is made case by case.

Donating material entails that the lawful ownership of the material is transferred to Åbo Akademi University Library. The material is kept safe for the future and made available for researchers and for the public.

Example of a citation for Edvard Westermarck’s collection, volume 5:
“Åbo Akademi University Library, the Manuscript Collections, Westermarck, Edvard, vol. 5”

If abbreviations are used:
“ÅAB, HS, Westermarck, Edvard, vol. 5”

The citation for picture material must contain the archive’s name, and, if known, the originator of the picture. Other information, such as the date, can also be cited, if known.
“Photo: K.E. Ståhlberg, 1892, Åbo Akademi Picture Collections”. Abbreviation: ÅABS.

Updated 24.5.2024