Collection of Pēteris Šmits

Collection of Pēteris Šmits

Collection [527] (49811 items) is one of the largest Latvian folklore repositories. It contains folklore records collected by LU professor Peteris Šmits (1869–1938). The collection mainly consists of folklore genres, related to his research and publication interests—beliefs, fairy tales, legends, and folk songs, but there is also some material from other genres.

P. Šmits first publications on folklore appeared in 1893 when he was a student at the faculty of Eastern languages at the University of St. Petersburg. In his autobiography, the first half of which is also stored at LFK, he provides information about his family and childhood, his Chinese and Manchurian language studies, his trip to [Peking] Beijing, where he trained from 1897–99, and his employment at the Far East Institute in Vladivostok. In the spring of 1920, P. Šmits returned to Latvia and took a position as professor in the Faculty of History and Philosophy at the University of Latvia.

Already in September 1921, he published a number of invitations for the submission of ‘deceptions’ (as he called beliefs). In the beginning of 1923, his revised “Programme for the Collection of Folk Traditions” was published with more than 1400 questions, mostly about beliefs and folk traditions. In September 1922, the press wrote that Valters and Rapa were preparing to publish a complete edition of Latvian fairy tales and legends to be compiled by P. Šmits; one year later follow invitations to send in legends and fairy tales. In the spring of 1925, P. Šmits received support from the Cultural Fund to gather fairy tales in Latgale. This is why, before LFK was founded, P. Šmits already had his own personal archive of folklore materials, which he continued to supplement later. He used this as one of the sources for his foundational work Latvian Folk Beliefs (1940–41, 4 volumes) and Latvian Tales and Legends (1925–37, 15 volumes).

His folklore records were stored in 113 numbered envelopes. The contents of the first two envelopes were submitted to LFK in May 1927, contents from the third envelope onwards were registered in the 1930s; envelope 91 and subsequent were registered after P. Šmits’ death. The collection contains materials dating back to the year 1921, as well as some older notes K. Barons’ Latvian Dainas collaborators, such as the records of J. Heniņš from 1892, K. Biks and P. Abuls notes from 1894, K. Kampara’s and K. Krūza’s (of the Bloma School) notes from 1892, and some older materials at the end of the collection. The collector’s letters have also been saved. Typically, the materials of the narrators and collectors are often not placed together but can be found in several places. P. Šmits’ often noted the numbers of fairy-tale types on the covers of the notebooks. Some fairy-tale texts, and most beliefs have side notes indicating that they are transcribed. Some texts contain deletions or comments that this text or fragment need not be transcribed, that it is not suitable for publication. The last folder of the collection contains some pages about wizards from the Latvian Folk Beliefs manuscript.

P. Schmidt's collection includes a large collection of fairy-tales, mostly from Latgale. In particular, the final section holds many fairy tales from around Aglona—a note on the cover indicates that the material was collected by N. Rancāns (Aglona gymnasium director).

About half of the envelopes are occupied by the Latvian Tales and Legends manuscript or parts thereof. They provide insight into the creation of the publication. The texts are usually written on individual sheets so they can be sorted. The original folklore records are often included. The names of several narrators or collections have been coordinated or changed. Many texts are edited, often extensively.

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ThumbnailUnit numberTitleCategories 
1Kāda kuram laimefolk tale
2Kai zemnīks Novgorodā dorbu meklējaAnecdote
3Stipronis un Tiklafolk tale
4Mācītājs, kurš kāro mīkstus kukuļusAnecdote
5Par mežsarga meitufolk tale
6Zaldātsfolk tale
7Par lepno šuvējulegend
8Divi brāļifolk tale
9Par vienu tēvu un viņa dēliemlegend
10Mēra kāsislegend
Ticējums: darbība, lai gūtu labumu
11Burvju darbibelief
12Kā Kokneses skolotājs čūsku izsaucislegend
137. Mozus grāmatabelief
147. Mozus grāmatalegend
157. Mozus grāmatalegend
16Burvjiem var iešaut ar dzīvsudrabubelief
17Bogotais slimnīksfolk tale
18Skumeigais zemnīksfolk tale
19Muižkungs i struodnīkiAnecdote
20Zemnīks i čyguonsAnecdote
Showing 1-20 of 1,539 items.
Showing 1-5 of 5 items.
ThumbnailTitleTypeNumberYearAuthorAdditional information 
Kārlis JansonsImage0527-3325b
Bārenītes laimeImage0527-292191937Ilustrācija pasakai Bārenītes laime.
Barn doorsImage0527-316981926Andrejs BunksKlēts durvis.
Barn doorsImage0527-316991926Andrejs BunksKlēts durvis.
Barn doorsImage0527-317001926Andrejs BunksKlēts durvis.
Showing 1-5 of 5 items.
Showing 1-20 of 19,571 items.
ThumbnailTypeFolderNumber of fileLanguagesTranscription (text)MetadataTranscription (music) 
Showing 1-20 of 19,571 items.

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