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October 2021

Hippokrates (Helsinki). 1998 ; (15): 133-5.

[The national biography - a comprehensive research project]

Makela-Alitalo A.

This project was initiated by the Finnish Historical Society in 1993. The reason was an increasing interest in biographies. The aim is to write 6000 Finnish biographies in 11-12 volumes. The articles are planned to be published in the beginning of the year 2000. Selected historical characters from the Middle Ages to the present day are to be described. The most influential persons in politics, economy and the church as well as in art and sport are presented in articles of 20-30 pages. Certain persons representing the economy of life of previous times are presented in shorter articles as examples of the circumstances of their days. In addition extraordinary characters considered to be of special interest to the readers are introduced. The border between the groups is indistinct. The witches from the 17th Century are, for example, both typical representatives of their time and exceptional persons as seen by modern people. Similarities between old magic and modern "alternative" medicine are also obvious. An object of special interest is women's history, which previously has been almost overlooked. Female biographies now constitute about 15% of the articles. The National Biography is also available as a net version. The first articles were opened in late 1997 in the Internet. In the field of medical science, all the most prominent persons in the history of medicine and related professions are included, beginning from the king's physician Johan Copp in the 16th century. The medical profession is extended so as to consist of university professors and scientists, practitioners and promotors of administration as well as healers.

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