Tuulikki Paananen Papers, 1915-1974

Immigration History Research Center
University of Minnesota

Abstract | Provenance/Processing | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Container List


IHRC 132
Paananen, Tuulikki
Papers, 1915-1974
2 linear feet (6 boxes)

Abstract

Papers (1915-1974) of Tuulikki Paananen, a Finnish movie star, actress and dancer, includes correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks and newspaper clippings related to her career in Finland and the United States.  Collection includes correspondence between Tuulikki and friends and family, as well professional correspondence with her agent regarding acting contracts.  Other memorabilia from her acting career such as newsclippings, magazine covers, programs, scrapbooks, etc. are also included.  Photographs include Tuulikki and her family and friends, as well as Tuulikki the actress.  Autographed photographs of other Finnish and American actors and actresses are also included.  Corresponding negatives to most of the personal photographs are also available.  Collection in Finnish and English.  Inventory available.

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Provenance/Processing

The collection was acquired from the Reedley Historical Society (RHS) in January 1986 through the efforts of Frank Stohl of Reedley, California.  The RHS acquired the collection from the Fanny Bay Runo estate in May 1985.  Heather A. Muir, graduate student from the University of Minnesota, processed the collection in November 1992.  Finding aid prepared for the Internet by Assistant Curator Heather Muir in 2001.

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Biographical Sketch

Tuulikki Paananen was born February 19, 1915, in Savonlinna, Finland.  Her father was Ernest Paananen, a concert violinist from Finland.  Her mother was Fanny Bay, a pianist and accompanist.  Fanny Bay was born November 18, 1890, in Ironwood, Michigan.  Ernest and Fanny Bay were touring Europe and were in Finland at the time of Tuulikki's birth.  In 1919, the Paananens returned to the United States.  Ernest and Fanny Bay later divorced, and on March 2, 1928, Fanny Bay married Dr. Herman Runo (Ruonovaara).

After several moves around the United States, Tuulikki and her mother and step-father settled in Hollywood, California, where Tuulikki attended high school under the name "Helen" Paananen.  She took dance lessons from Rita Hayworth's father.  During her high school days she was an active dancer and actress at various recitals and school performances.  In 1933 Tuulikki graduated from Hollywood High School with honors and was a member of the Ephebian Society.

Upon graduation Tuulikki returned to Finland to visit relatives and to pursue an acting career.  She eventually began a career in motion pictures.  Tuulikki worked with both Sampo Filmi Oy and Suomi Filmi Oy from 1937 to 1939.  She starred in several movies including "Jääkärin Morsian" (Soldier's Bride), "Miehekäs", "Juha", "Aktivisti", and "Varastettu Kuolema" (Stolen Death).  Some of these films were shown in the U.S. with English subtitles, especially in areas with a heavy Finnish population.  In 1937 Tuulikki traveled to London for a screen test with Paramount Pictures, Inc.

At the onset of the 1939 Russian invasion of Finland, Tuulikki returned to the U.S. on what newspapers described as "the last plane out."  She lived in New York City were she was quite active in raising funds for the Aid to Finland movement with Herbert Hoover.  During the 1940's Tuulikki continued her acting career with Universal Studios in Hollywood under the name "Tula Parma" with small roles in various films.  She also opened a dance studio and continued performing as a dancer at various dance recitals.  Tuulikki also worked in an office and a store to help support herself.

In 1948 Tuulikki married Esko Meitinen.  They were married for a few years and then divorced.  In the mid-1950's she married Howard F. Gottschalk.  In 1958 the couple opened a AAA office in Honolulu, Hawaii where they were active in bringing Finns and Finnish-Americans to Hawaii on special group tours.  In the late 1960's Tuulikki appeared in a few episodes of the television show "Hawaii Five-O".  In 1969 she was diagnosed with breast cancer; she died October 19, 1974, in Honolulu.  This occurred seven months after her stepfather Dr. Runo died and just one month before the death of her mother Fanny Bay Runo.

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Scope and Content

Series I - Biographical Information
Series I includes biographical information on Tuulikki Paananen, Fanny Bay Runo, Herman Runo, and Ernest Paananen including a death certificate, a marriage certificate, a foreign residency permit, school report cards and photographs with information on them.  This series alone does not provide a large amount of biographical material, but supplies some valuable information.

Series II - Correspondence
Series II contains several sets of correspondence to and from Tuulikki between 1935-1963 as well as letters to members of her family.  This series has been divided into personal correspondence and professional correspondence.  All correspondence has been placed in chronological order with undated material at the back of each folder.  One folder contains letters to and from family members including Fanny Bay Runo, Ernest Paananen, Tuulikki and her uncles Carl and Bill Ray between 1938 and 1963.  Of particular interest is a thank-you note to Fanny Bay Runo from actress Joan Crawford.  Most of the letters are in English.

The next folders contain correspondence received by Tuulikki from Erland von Plomgren between 1936 and 1938 and from Bengt Lyberg between 1937 and 1939.  Erland and Bengt were Swedish students that Tuulikki met while working on films in Finland.  These letters were written in their only common language, English.  The main topic of these letters is Erland and Bengt's love for Tuulikki.  There are over 30 letters as well as other postcards and telegrams.  The remaining 3 folders of personal correspondence are letters and postcards Tuulikki received from various friends and acquaintances between 1935 and 1950.

The professional correspondence subseries consists of various letters, telegrams and contracts regarding Tuulikki's professional acting career.  The first folder contains correspondence and contracts with Sampo and Suomi Filmi Oy between 1937 and 1939, all of which are in Finnish.  The second folder contains correspondence and contracts with Paramount Pictures, Inc., between 1937 and 1939, including letters from her agents.

Series III - Memorabilia
Series III includes various memorabilia and mementos from Tuulikki's career.  This series has been divided into 5 areas: newsclippings, periodicals, programs, miscellaneous items, and scrapbooks.  The newsclippings have been divided by language: Finnish (1936-1940), American (1933-1941), and Swedish and German (1936-1939).  Most of the clippings are reviews and advertisements of her films as well as feature articles about a girl from Hollywood going to Finland in order to become a movie star.  Other folders contain mainly Finnish movie periodicals including "Elokuva" (1936-1939), "Kinolehti" (1936-1938), and various Suomi Filmi publications (1936-1938).  There are also several loose clippings and other miscellaneous publications like "Newsweek."  These magazines feature Tuulikki and her films.  Most of them are in Finnish.  There are two folders of programs and drama and dance playbills that have been divided into performances featuring Tuulikki and programs she attended.  The next folder contains miscellaneous memorabilia and mementos including receipts, note cards, business cards, an address book, invitations and menus.  The final two items are scrapbooks which contain announcements, reviews, and advertisements for Tuulikki's various Finnish films during the 1930's most of which are in Finnish, but there are some in Swedish and English.  Some are from the above mentioned Finnish publications.  Most of the clippings include photographs, some of which may be found in the below mentioned photograph collection of Tuulikki's acting career.  It appears that whenever and wherever Tuulikki's name and/or photograph appeared, it was clipped and saved in the scrapbook.  Even clippings listing movies at theatres are included.  Both scrapbooks contain loose clippings that were collected and saved but rarely organized.

Series IV - Photographs
As with the correspondence, the photographs have been divided into two subseries - personal and professional.  Personal photographs are further broken down into two subgroups - those of Tuulikki and those of others.  All of these photographs are arranged by setting, whether they are snapshots, candids, or posed portraits.  Two folders hold photographs of Tuulikki with her husbands, one with her first husband Esko Meitinen and the other with her second husband Herman Gottschalk in Hawaii.  Other folders contain photos of Tuulikki with family and friends or just Tuulikki herself.  The other major section of personal photographs contains images of other family members and friends.

The professional photographs are divided by those of Tuulikki and those of other actors.  These are further divided into sets of candids and posed portraits.  Many of the candids were taken on location or during filming and show cameramen and directors.  There are also some promotional candids of Tuulikki at Universal studios.  A unique set of candids are those that were taken at various celebrity restaurants in Hollywood.  Movie stars have a set of professional photos for their portfolios.  Many of these professional portraits seem to fit that description.  Some of these also appear to be glossies used for autographing.  Other photographs are from scenes in Tuulikki's films and are also used for programs, periodicals and newspapers.  The photographs of other actors appear to be professional portraits to be used for autographing, some of which are autographed.  Most of these actors are Finnish celebrities and are somewhat obscure to American audiences, while a few are of better-known American celebrities.  Nearly all of the photographs in the entire collection are black and white, but a few are color photographs from the 1960's.

Series V - Negatives
The negatives are filed separately from the photographs.  Upon closer inspection one can see that most of the negatives have at least one corresponding print in the photograph collection, but not all of them do.  Most of the negatives correspond with the personal photographs, with a few related to the professional subseries.  As with the photographs, most of the negatives are black and white, with a few color negatives.
 

Not included in this collection are items that one might anticipate being saved by a movie star.  As a teenager in Hollywood, Tuulikki may have kept an autograph book.  She probably saw many stars and may have collected autographs of famous people, especially if she was interested in becoming an actress.  Tuulikki starred in several films, and yet these films are not included in the collection.  Correspondence with the donator, Frank Stohl, indicated that there were some copies of the films in the Fanny Bay Runo estate, as well as other materials.  Mr. Stohl described the poor condition of the film canisters and inquired about preserving the film or transferring the reels to videotape.  No attempts were made to obtain and preserve the film, and correspondence with Mr. Stohl ended.  Researchers may be interested in contacting him in order to locate the film, preserve it, and view it.  Mr. Stohl also wrote that some objects of the Fanny Bay Runo estate were sold at auction, some of which may have involved Tuulikki.  It is also unclear whether or not Tuulikki starred in any American films.  Little is known of her American career, other than a few episodes of a television show.

The biographical material in the collection is incomplete.  Key facts regarding her personal life are missing including information regarding her marriages.  For the most part, the correspondence in the collection is letters that she received from others.  Somewhere there may be letters which she wrote or perhaps a journal or diary which she kept.

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Container List

 
Box Folder Contents
    Series I - Biographical Material
1 1 Tuulikki Paananen
  Tuulikki's parents
    Series II - Correspondence
    Subseries 1 - Personal
  3 Family (1938-1963)
  4 from Erland von Plomgren (1936)
  5 from Erland von Plomgren (1937-38)
  6 from Bengt Lyberg (1937-38)
  7 from Bengt Lyberg (1939)
2 1 from others (1929-1938)
  2 from others (1939-1950)
  3 from others - postcards (1935-1939)
    Subseries 2 - Professional
  4 from Suomi Filmi (1937-1939)
  5 from Paramount Pictures (1937-1939)
    Series III - Memorabilia
    Subseries 1 - Newsclippings
  6 Finnish (1936-1940)
  7 American (1933-1941)
  8 Swedish and German (1936-1939)
    Subseries 2 - Periodicals
3 1 Elokuva (1936-1939)
  2 Kinolehti (1936-1938)
  3 Suomi Filmi Publications (1936-1938)
  4 Miscellaneous Clippings and Publications
    Subseries 3 - Programs
  5 Tuulikki performances
  6 Other performers
    Subseries 4 - Miscellaneous
  7 Miscellaneous items
    Subseries 5 - Scrapbooks
4   Black scrapbook
    Black scrapbook with brown cover
    Series IV - Photographs
    Subseries 1 - Personal
5 1-2 Tuulikki alone
  3 Tuulikki at the beach
  4 Tuulikki with animals
  5 Tuulikki with Esko Meitinen (1948
  6 Tuulikki with Herman Gottschalk in Hawaii (1958-67)
  7 Tuulikki with others
  8 Children
  9-11 Others
    Subseries 2 - Professional
  12 Tuulikki candids
  13 Tuulikki portraits (small prints)
6 1-2 Tuulikki portraits (large prints)
  3 Tuulikki performing (small prints)
  4 Tuulikki performing (large prints)
  5 Other actors (small prints)
  6 Other actors (large prints)
    Series V - Negatives
  7-8 Negatives

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