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Museovirasto | The Finnish Heritage Agency (Helsinki, Finland)

    Sample collection on women migrants at the Museovirasto below

    See more on our catalogue

    Collection title: Sortavalan seminaarin naiskuoro konserttimatkalla Joensuussa | Sortavala Teachers’ College Women’s Choir on concert tour in Joensuu (Finland: 1897)

    Description: Photograph of the Sortavala Teachers’ College Women’s Choir. Rosa Emilia Clay, standing at centre in the back row, was born in Omaruru, Namibia, in 1875. Her guardians, the Finnish missionaries Karl and Ida Weikkolin, brought her to Finland in 1880, where she remained and as a young woman studied to become a primary school teacher at the Sortavala Teachers’ College. She graduated the year after the photograph was taken, and in 1899 she became the first African woman to receive Finnish citizenship. She emigrated to the United States in 1904, where she remained active in the Finnish immigrant community. She married theatre director Lauri Lemberg and is known in Finnish-American sources as Rosa Lemberg, although she later divorced him. A biography in Finnish, Arvo Lindewall’s Rosalia (Yonkers, NY: Kansallinen Kustannuskomitea, 1942), was published during her own lifetime, and in 2020 a public square in Tampere was officially named after her [can we link this directly to the WG2 map card?].

    Archive address: Sturenkatu 2a, 00510 Helsinki

    Reference number: HK19610829:3

    Links: Visit the official website here. Digitised copyright-free holdings of the Finnish Heritage Agency can be searched here.

    Publications: Ellen Ndeshi Namhila and Werner Hillebrecht, “Rosa Emilia Clay: From Omaruru via Sortavala to Chicago,” in Intertwined Histories: 150 Years of Finnish-Namibian Relations, ed. by Marjo Kaartinen, Leila Koivunen and Napandulwe Shiweda (Turku: University of Turku, 2019): 60–67 []

    Contributor: Katelin Parsons