Contact Information

General History is part of Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies.

Unioninkatu 38 A
P.O. Box 59
FI-00014 University of Helsinki
phone: +358-(0)294 1911 (exchange)



Researcher Kari-Matti Piilahti, Ph.D.


Contact information

Department of History
Unioninkatu 38, PO Box 59
00014 University of Helsinki

Email: kari-matti.piilahti(at)


    • born 1962 
    • Kindergartenteacher 1984
    • Master of Arts 1997
    • Phil. Lic. 1999
    • Ph.D. 2007


    In my doctoral thesis Material and immaterial security. Households, ecological and economic resources and formation of contacts in Valkeala parish from the 1630s to the 1750s I concentrated on the linkages between ecological and economic circumstances, changes in the structure of families and households, and the formation of contacts in a rural community from the first half of the 17th century to the middle of the 18th century.

    My post doctoral researcher’s project Old Money and the Newcomers: Formation, Change and Networks of Finnish Business Elite 1850–1940 explores the formation and generational continuity of the Finnish business elite from the middle of the 19th century to the beginning of World War II. The focus of the research is on families having inhabited the top levels of the world of business for several generations (old money) and the newcomers (individuals and their next of kin) to the field, on the internal and external networks of these groups, on the confrontations between them, and on the repercussions that their activities had on their economic operations (as reflected), for example, in the formation of groups of owners and in lending strategies.

    In this research business elite consists of owners and management of the largest industrial companies, the leading merchants, some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the service branch and directors of the biggest banks and insurance companies.

    Quantitative macro data that is used to investigate the overall changes will be complemented with case histories on individual businessmen and selected families. The sources consist of archival material (e.g. correspondence, tax records and parish registers), newspapers and printed material.

    The research forms a part of the research project Business elite – roots and roles in modern society led by Professor Markku Kuisma (University of Helsinki, Department of History).

    My main fields of interest are social and economic history, family history, network reseach, genealogy, elites, peasants and godparentship.

    The list of my most important publications can be found here.