Artist: Th. Nyblin

Pietari Jamalainen

Postmaster 1903–1919

The appointment of Jamalainen (1857–1931), a lawyer, was a surprise. In the politically difficult situation the country found itself in, the new Postmaster General could have been Russian. Jamalainen, born in Ingria, worked as an assistant in Governor-General Bobrikov's office and was fluent in Russian. He agreed to take the post in order to prevent a Russian official from being appointed. He was in a difficult situation, since Bobrikov pressurised him into censoring letters; he did, however, follow the orders to some extent. Jamalainen was accused of malfeasance when sacks of confiscated letters were found in the Postal Administration's attic in 1905. He was released from the charges in 1911. Most of the Postal Services employees were Finns during Jamalainen's directorship.

Jamalainen was a politically controversial person. His power was curtailed when the Postal Services were turned into a collegiate agency in 1918. Jamalainen resigned after his long-standing opponent John Wirkberg was appointed Director of Transportation in the agency.

Postal History in Finland

  • The Postal Services became a collegial agency in 1918. The power of decision held by the Postmaster General and the three department directors at the Postal Administration.
  • Motor vehicles introduced in the Postal Services. The first postal service car, an Adler, on the road in 1911.
  • World War I hindered the postal operations. Recession followed and connections to other countries were almost entirely cut off.
  • Eliel Saarinen designed the first stamps of independent Finland in 1917.
  • Finland abandoned the censorship of mail delivered within Finland and to Russia.
  • Finland joined the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1918.
  • Air mail delivered for the first time in 1919. A temporary military mail route between Sortavala and Segezha.
  • Aero Oy (-> Finnair) established in 1923.
  • 91.8 million items delivered 31.20/person in 1910 (2.7 million official letters, 5.9 million newspapers).
  • 160.8 million items delivered 51.35/person in 1917 (5.1 million official letters, 119.5 million newspapers).
  • 2,456 postal outlets in 1917. 451 post offices (18.8%25), 117 mobile post offices (carriages).
  • 86 employees in 1917.


  • Eugen Schauman murdered Bobrikov in 1904.
  • The general strike of 1905.
  • On J. V. Snellman's centennial in 1906 around 100,000 Finns finnicised their last names.
  • The Olympics opened in Stockholm in 1912. Hannes Kolehmainen won three gold medals.
  • Composer Jean Sibelius celebrated his 50th birthday in 1915. He conducted the premier of his fifth symphony at a gala concert.
  • Russification continued, the so-called second period of oppression 1910–1917.
  • Independence in 1917.
  • The civil war in 1918.
  • Prohibition came into force in 1919 (repealed in 1932).
  • Population 3.1 million in 1917.

Global Events

  • The Russo-Japanese War 1904–05.
  • SOS became the official distress signal in 1906.
  • Emil Henriksson invented the Abloy lock in 1907.
  • The Titanic sank in 1912.
  • The European super powers involved in arms race in the early 1910s.
  • The First World War 1914–1918.
  • The Russian Empire collapsed after the revolutions in 1917, and Tsar Nicholas II abdicated.