Finnish Women on Stamps
|AURORA KARAMZIN (1808-1902)
A remarkable woman benefactor and cosmopolitan who devoted most of her life to charity
work. In 1830 she was a Lady in waiting to the Russian Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. 6
years later she married the enormously rich Prince Deminov. He died soon afterward and
left Aurora a son and an enormous fortune. Her second husband, Andrei Karamzin (son of the
famous Russian historian Nikolai Karamzin) was killed in the Crimean War in 1854. Above
all she is remembered for her initiative to give aid to the Finnish people during the
famine in the 1860s. She sold the Deminov Palace in St. Petersburg and used the money to
establish the Deaconess Institute in Helsinki where the first trained nurses were in
service. Inspiration she got after visiting among others the Evangelical Hospital in St.
Petersburg and the German pastor Fliedner (founder of the very first Deaconess Institute).
In Helsinki we can find several streets and buildings named after her; Aurora Street,
Aurora Hospital etc. Her home in Helsinki was bequeathed to Helsinki City, and serves now
as Helsinki City Museum.