Abstract

Being a member of the elite imposed high demands on the livelihood of noble civil servant families in Finland at the end of the nineteenth century. Although the salaries of high-ranking officials were relatively substantial, they could not always ensure the standard of living which was demanded by the elite of the Grand Duchy of Finland. This article concerns the family of the governor, Baron Gustaf Aminoff, and their livelihood. The living of the Aminoff family was totally derived from Governor Aminoff's salaries and fees; they had no other sources of income, such as a manor or land. The Aminoff family constantly suffered a lack of money and its everyday consumption was rational and frugal. The family occasionally found its financial situation depressing. Many noble families lived constantly on credit, and so did the Aminoff family. When debt relationships were based on trust, a good reputation was crucial. At the end of the nineteenth century, Finnish society was still very hierarchical. Noble families struggled between the traditions of the noble way of life and the social pressure caused by the new wealthy industrial and commercial elite. The officials' system of rank also caused strain: the more senior the official, the more opulent of a lifestyle was required.

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