Accepted Paper:

The toil of a diligent schoolteacher. On collecting of folklore by Friedrich Eichenbaum (Priidu Tammepuu)  


Liina Saarlo (Estonian Literary Museum)

Paper short abstract:

Priidu Tammepuu (1896-1976) was an Estonian village schoolmaster. He started to collect child-lore in the 1930s, later interviewed local storytellers and singers. The paper concentrates on Tammepuu's career as a folklore collector, and relations revealed in correspondence with archival institutions.

Paper long abstract:

Enlightening calls to collect folklore by the leaders of Estonian national movement at the end of the 19th century bore fruit, both sweet and bitter, even a century later.

Priidu Tammepuu (Friedrich Eichenbaum, 1896-1976) was a village schoolmaster at a small school in Sadala, Laius-Tähkvere commune. Inspired by the call by Walter Anderson, professor of folklore at the Tartu University, to collect child-lore at schools all over Estonia, Tammepuu started his collection work with the help of his pupils in the 1930s. Later he interviewed local storytellers and singers, visiting them several times, trying to document one's repertoire 'exhaustively'.

From 1932 to 1969, Estonian Folklore Archives got 20 of his contributions, with content comprising various subjects from child´-lore to local legends and obscene men's songs in large quantity. Tammepuu was a co-worker for several institutions, e.g. the dialectical corpus of the Mother Tongue Society; the ethnographic department of the Estonian National Museum; the Theatre and Music Museum; the Society for Nature Conservation etc.

Although Tammepuu's personal archives (partially) perished during the war, 62 folders from his archives reached the Estonian Folklore Archives. These folders contain original manuscripts and rewritings, correspondence with archivists, several versions of his biography etc. These personal archives are nightmare for any folklorist or archivist, because these materials break off the authenticity and provenience system of Tammepuu's contributions to the archives.

The paper concentrates on Tammepuu's variating career as folklore collector, transforming content of his contributions, and relations revealed in correspondence with archival institutions.

Panel Arch01
Participatory archives in a transforming world [SIEF Working Group on Archives] [P+R]