View Full Version : people's colleges in 1908-09

16-09-09, 20:07
I’m looking information on Matti Kainu; b. 1884 in Veteli, Finland, moved to America 1899, and later to Soviet-Karelia 1930; died in Petrozavodsk 1932. In America he was an active member of the Finnish Federation of the Socialist Party of America; belonged always to the most radical and leftist groups, and later he joined to the Communist Party when it was established. I know that Matti Kainu was studying at some work college (työväenopisto) in 1908-09 in Middle States, probably at the Work People’s College in Duluth.
- I’m now looking information on those Worker’s Colleges during 1908-09, especially on the Work People’s College; I have a great interest in the names of the colleges, annual reports, student and teachers lists in year books or other, schedules, subjects, articles etc. What and where are the best sources?


17-09-09, 02:34
Have you looked here? Seems something is available as a pay option.

Richard J. Altenbaugh; Rolland G. Paulston
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, 1477-674X, Volume 18, Issue 2, 1978, Pages 237 – 256




"American working class organizations' efforts since World War I to establish and control their own educational programs flourished during the 1920s and 1930s with the appearance of over 300 worker controlled colleges. An important forerunner of this movement was the Work People's College, created by socialist Finnish immigrants in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1907 as a Scandinavian type residential school for 42 students. Original objectives were to provide basic skills, help Finnish workers learn English, and, eventually, to train workers as teachers, editors, and socialist agitators. The curriculum, based upon the social sciences, stressed democratic ideology and cultivated class-consciousness. By 1913, the college served 157 students, employed eight instructors, and had expanded into a second building. Constant struggles between moderate and radical socialists for control of the college resulted in frequent changes in curriculum. By 1921 radicals had gained the upper hand and they stressed revolutionary unionism, direct action, sabotage, and general strikes instead of parliamentary socialism. When the college formally affiliated with the radical Industrial Workers of the World labor party (IWW) in 1921, it began to admit non-Finnish workers and lost much of its ethnic character. The college lost influence and enrollment and finally ceased operation in 1940. The college did, however, provide a model for labor college programs which were to develop in the 1930s, particularly Commonwealth College and Brookwood Labor College. The conclusion is that although the American Labor College Movement failed in its goal of social reconstruction, it produced graduates who contributed significantly to the American labor movement."

17-09-09, 02:40
Saw this too:


17-09-09, 06:57
I've found a bit about Matti Kainu for you and hopefully this is the correct person you are seeking. As you can see, his name is spelled incorrectly on Ancestry.

Best Regards,

1910 Census
Name: Matt Kainer
[Matt Kainu]
[Matt Kainn]
Age in 1910: 27
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1883
Birthplace: Finland
Relation to Head of House: Boarder
Father's Birth Place: Finland
Mother's Birth Place: Finland
Home in 1910: Duluth Ward 4, St Louis, Minnesota
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Gender: Male
Year of Immigration: 1900
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Alexander Sevo 32
Hanna Etela 24
Hilma Mattson 25
Hilden Saunie 19
David Kunie 35
Otto Hill 21
Oscar Jusula 21
Gust Kallio 45
Toina Kunie 21
Oscar Helin 22
Victor Salo 26
A Barba 30
A Verta 36
D Hukkila 32
John Makinen 33
Heikki Hyogie 24
Jacob Hack 23
Andrew Kewia 27
Peter Mattson 25
Charles Selonen 29
Matt Kainer 27
Alvi Kallio 25
Emi Rantanen 25
John Sals 20
Robert Melin 23
Alex Neininen 36
Gibual Karhu 35
Edwin Feino 30
Jacob Hantala 35
A Loppa 28
1920 Census
Name: Matt Kainer
[Matt Kainu]
Home in 1920: Millcreek, Erie, Pennsylvania
Age: 37 years
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1883
Birthplace: Finland
Relation to Head of House: Head
Spouse's Name: Marketa
Father's Birth Place: Finland
Mother's Birth Place: Finland
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Sex: Male
Home owned: Own
Year of Immigration: 1902
Able to read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
Image: 690
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Matt Kainer 37
Marketa Kainer 27
Unto Kainer 1 8/12
1930 Census
Name: Matthew Kainer
[Matthew Kainu]
Home in 1930: Lakewood, Cuyahoga, Ohio
View Map
Age: 46
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1884
Birthplace: Finland
Relation to Head of House: Head
Spouse's Name: Martha
Race: White
Household Members:
Name Age
Matthew Kainer 46
Martha Kainer 37
Unds A Kainer 12
World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
Name: Matti Kaina
[Matti Kainu]
City: Erie
County: Erie
State: Pennsylvania
Birth Date: 24 Jun 1883
Race: White
FHL Roll Number: 1877951
DraftBoard: 1


Nearest Relative:


Color of Eyes/Hair:


View image

June Pelo
17-09-09, 15:26
You could try to contact James Kurtti at Finlandia University. They have a library of all types of data: james.kurtti*finlandia.edu
Jim wears many hats, including Honorary Finnish Consul and editor of the Finnish American Reporter.