Inventory of the
Varpu Lindstrom fonds

Inventory #F0558

The digitization of this finding aid was made possible - in part or entirely - through the Canadian Culture Online Program of Canadian Heritage, the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian Council of Archives.


Fonds/Collection Number:F0558
Title:Varpu Lindstrom fonds
Extent:ca. 7.2 m of textual records
ca. 1879 photographs; ca. 470 negatives; ca. 400 slides
ca. 82 audio cassettes
ca. 52 sound and moving image recordings
2 3.25 diskettes
3 microfilm reels
ca. 1000 published items
Biographical Sketch/
Administrative History:
Varpu Lindstrom was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1948. Lindstrom is recognized both nationally and internationally as an expert in Canadian immigration history, particularly that of Finnish-Canadians. Her family immigrated to Canada in 1963, settling in Niagara Falls, Ontario. In 1968, Lindstrom became both a Canadian citizen and a student at York University where she pursued her university education, completing a general BA (History) in 1971, followed by an Hons. BA (History) in 1977, an MA (Social history) in 1979, and culminating with her PhD (Social history) in 1986. She pursued a distinguished career as a teacher and scholar at York University beginning with her appointment as an assistant professor in 1984, and was promoted to full Professor in 2001, and University Professor in 2006. She served in a variety of administrative and service capacities including Chair of the Department of History from 1991-1992; Master of Atkinson College from 1994-1997; Chair of the School of Women's Studies from 1999-2001; and as a member of York University's Board of Governors. She also served as docent at the University of Turku in Finland. Lindstrom's academic work was recognized with numerous awards including an Atkinson Fellowship (2002); Finlandia Prize, Non-fiction, Honorable mention (1991); and the first annual Atkinson Alumni Award for Teaching Excellence (1989). Her research manifested itself in several publications, and in the critically-acclaimed National Film Board production "Letters from Karelia" for which she served as historical consultant. Lindstrom was also a founder of the Canadian Friends of Finland. In 1992, she was awarded the Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland, First Class, in recognition of outstanding service to Finland and Finnish Canadians. In 2012, Lindstrom was the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Lindstrom passed away 21 June 2012.
Scope and Content:

Fonds consists of Lindstrom's professorial and scholarly research files throughout her career, as well as records documenting her academic activities. Research files pertain to her publications and monographs such as "Defiant Sisters : A Social History of Finnish Immigrant Women in Canada, 1890-1930" (both the English and Finnish editions), and "From Heroes to Enemies : Finns in Canada, 1937-1947," as well as book chapters, articles, papers, presentations and lectures, and her involvement with the National Film Board production "Letters from Karelia," and subsequent research. The research files span the activities of Finnish and Finnish-Canadian organizations across the political spectrum, such as the Finnish Organization of Canada (left wing), and Loyal Finns in Canada (right wing). Records include oral history interviews (audio cassettes and transcripts), research notes, clippings, a significant and extensive number of photograph and letter collections passed down through generations of Finnish Canadians, diaries, correspondence, publication drafts, academic and professorial notes, microfilm of Finnish language newspapers published in Canada and archival records, financial records of Finnish-Canadian organizations such as newspapers and post-World War II relief funding bodies, scrapbooks, photocopies of rare and unusual documents such as two volumes of a Soviet register of Finnish War Crimes, a list of persons found in the mass grave at Karhumaki, and Soviet lists of North American Finns who journeyed to Karelia to help build a socialist utopia there, academic and professorial files, publicity files, files pertaining to her work with the School of Women's Studies, and her own papers as a university student. The fonds also includes letters written by Lindstrom as a newly-arrived teenaged immigrant to Canada to her best friend in Finland; many of these letters were published in Finnish with English translation in 'Letters from an immigrant teenager' in 2012.

Location of originals: Where known, the location of originals is specified in the file list.
Conservation Note: Records have been re-housed into appropriate archival containers. Replacement photocopies have been made in some cases, and in other cases the documents, particularly photographs and original letters, have been enclosed in polyethylene sleeves so they will not be damaged when used by researchers. Faxes printed on thermal paper have been digitized and reprinted to recover content that had faded over time, and was virtually illegible. Overall, the contents of this fonds can be handled without harming the documents.
Language of material note: A considerable portion of the material is in Finnish. Some material is in Russian or Swedish.
Restrictions on
Access and Use:
Files containing personal letter collections and personal diaries are closed until 2029 unless a researcher agreement is signed. Requests should be directed to the University Archivist.
Finding Aid: File list provided.
URL of Finding Aid:
Accruals: The fonds comprises the following accessions: 2009-025, 2012-007. No further accruals are expected.
Associated Material: Library and Archives Canada is the repository of the Finnish Organization of Canada collection. Lakehead University maintains a Finnish-Canadian Play and Operetta manuscript collection (48 scripts).
Physical Condition:The documents and published materials in this fonds range from poor (significant signs of wear such as minor tears and brittleness caused by acidity, or because of age) to fine (clean and fully intact) condition, with the majority being good to very good (some dirt or creasing due to handling, particularly along document edges).
Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by Prof. Lindstrom in 2009 and 2012.
Other Notes: Contents of the fonds were arranged by the Assistant University Archivist in consultation with the donor.

The fonds includes ca. 1000 published items in various media. To improve access, most of these items have been catalogued separately within York University Libraries' Special Collections, and can be located using the online catalogue by performing a keyword search using the phrase, "Lindstrom fonds." A list of these items with the relevant call numbers is also available in 2009-025/080(20).

Provenance Access Points:Lindstrom, Varpu, 1948-

Date of creation: 2010/04/06
Date of last revision: 2012/07/17
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