University of Minnesota

Work People’s College (Duluth, Minnesota), Records

Finding Aid


Immigration History Research Center, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota

Descriptive summary

Creator: Work People's College (Duluth, Minn.).
Dates: 1904-1962
Abstract: Records (1904-1962) of the Work People's College (Tyovaen Opisto), Duluth, Minnesota, contain correspondence, financial records, stock certificates, student club minutes, student rosters, and lists of and photocopies of proletarian plays. The College was founded to serve the educational needs of Finnish American Socialists and later, members of the Industrial Workers of the World. It was dissolved in 1952.
Quantity: 61 folders, 4 Ledgers, one reel of microfilm.
Language: In Finnish and English.
Collection ID: IHRC2857


In 1903, leaders of the Finnish National Lutheran Church of America opened the Finnish People's College and Theological Seminary (Suomalainen Kansan Opisto ja Teologinen Seminaari) in Minneapolis, Minnesota to provide training for clergy and a liberal education for Finnish Americans in general. The college in Minneapolis soon failed and was moved to the Duluth suburb of Smithville, Minnesota where more Finnish Americans had settled. Finnish American Socialists were strong supporters of the school and by 1908 had gained control of it. It was renamed the Work People's College (Tyovaen Opisto) and religion was dropped from the curriculum. During the next few years, the school was the pride of the Finnish Socialist Federation but when the Federation split in 1914 over the issue of industrial unionism, the Work People's College became a school for the Industrial Worker's of the World; it continued so until it ceased holding classes in 1940.



The Work People’s College (Duluth, Minnesota) collection is available for public research.


The Work People’s College (Duluth, Minnesota) collection is the physical property of the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota.

For further information regarding the copyright, please contact the IHRC.


The Work People’s College (Duluth, Minnesota) Records, Finnish American Collection, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota


A related IHRC collection: Worker's Socialist Publishing Company (Duluth, Minn.).

Index Terms

Finnish American Socialists.
Finnish Americans--Minnesota--Duluth.
Working class--Education(Higher)--Minnesota--Duluth.
Socialism and education.

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