I have this really cool Estonian friend, and she was telling me recently how her grandfather, whose name was Ferdinand Kool, maintained a sort of “Estonian library” in the basement of her parents’ house when she was a kid. He was always “puttering around down there”, she said. Interestingly, her grandfather also happens to have, according to http://www.estonica.org/en/Education_and_science/Cultural_property/Estonian_national_collections_of_cultural_property_from_the_19th_to_20th_century/ “established the Estonian Archives in the United States in Lakewood, on the basis of materials relating to Estonians which were collected in displaced persons camps. Since Estonia regained its independence, a lot of cultural property stored and created in exile has been brought back to Estonia.
The regaining of independence in Estonia has largely been based on the retrospective information stored in archives, libraries and museums: this helped to increase the national awareness and spread the idea of restoring independence. The information also helped to fill the gaps in Estonian history created during the Soviet occupation. Documents archived by the repressive Soviet control bodies (the KGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs) made it possible to rehabilitate those who had been repressed.”
Puttering around, indeed. That “basement library” was the basis for a significant chunk of Estonia’s national archives!
I was not surprised at all to learn this story. Everyone in my friend’s family is (or was) creative and productive, and I have always had the utmost admiration for them. I decided to express my admiration for them via this Cinquain poem:
stoic yet enjoying laughter
For more information about the descendants of Ferdinand Kool and their creations, please visit the links in my blogroll titled “Peter Fox Shoes” and “Linda Magi Jewelry”.