The relationship between the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland and the Russian Empire, despite being formalized in bureaucratic structures, depended to a significant extent on informal personal relations. A case in point is the history of the children of Carl Johan Stjernvall: his three daughters married foreign noblemen. The eldest, Aurore, married first the scion of the Demidov family, Paul Nikolayevich Demidov, and second, Andrey Nikolayevich Karamzin, son of the state historian of Russia. Aurore's brother Emil Stjernvall-Walleen became the second highest-ranking civil servant in Finland: the minister state secretary. Through her marriages, Aurore Karamzin was connected to some of the most powerful families in Russia: Demidov, Durnovo, Karamzin, Stroganov, and Pushkin, among others. As an industry owner she relied heavily on relatives. Networking continued to be an important part of doing business throughout the nineteenth century, even though meritocratic considerations started playing a larger role toward the end of it. Aurore Karamzin lived through nearly the entire 1800s (1808–1902) and played a meaningful part in the development of Finland during this period. Her greatest impact was probably as a vehicle for societal and cultural innovations. It was made possible by the resources she controlled in the Demidov enterprises, institutions such as the Deaconess Institute that she founded in Helsinki, and the political situation between Finland and Russia. She was well positioned as an influencer, as she was personally acquainted with several generations of the Russian imperial family as a lady-in-waiting.

You do not currently have access to this content.