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was born July 12, 1878 (new calendar)
1878 – 1888 childhood and primary studies at Puru schoolhouse
1888 – 1890 Rakvere Town School
1890 – 1893 Narva Town School
1893 – 1898 Narva Gymnasium
1898 – 1906 Tartu University (Cand. Theol. 1907)
1905 – 1907 journalist, mainly at the daily “Postimees”
1906 – one of the founders of Estonian Society For Youth Education (ENKS)
and one of the founders of Tartu Girls’ Gymnasium of ENKS
1908 – study trip the countries of Western Europe
1908 – teacher of religion at Tartu ENKS Girls’ Gymnasium
1909 – 1918 headmaster of Tartu ENKS Girls’ Gymnasium
1917 – Head of Education Department at the Provisional Government of Estonia
1918 – The first minister of education of the Republic of Estonia 24.02. – 27.11.
1918 – 1925 Curator of Tartu University
1925 – 1927 Deputy Rector of Tartu University
1920 – 1930 Professor of Education at Tartu University
1922 – 1930 Head of Didactic-Methodological Seminar at Tartu University
1927 – Honorary doctor dr. phil. honoris causa of Tartu University
1.09.1930 – died in Tartu

Home life and childhood

Peeter Siegfried Nikolaus Põld sündis was born July 12, 1878 (June 30 according to the old calendar) in Virumaa, in the Jõhvi community. His father, Peeter Põld, started work as a teacher in 1870 in the Pada community. In a few years time he married Juliane, the beautiful daughter of Jüri Eriks, a barman in the Rakvere manor pub. They settled in the village of Puru, where teachers were better paid.
Peeter Põld, Sr. was an optimistic man who loved singing and good company. He was of medium height, with a dark complexion, and strong. He was very influential in his village community and enjoyed the respect of all its members.
Juliane Põld was also of medium height, slender, and with a serious temperament. She was well educated for the times – she had graduated from the Rakvere Higher School for Girls – she spoke foreign languages and was a good educator.

Juliane Põld (1851 – 1918). Private collection

Peeter Põld (1848 – 1919). Private collection
From 1875 to 1912 Peeter and Juliane Põld lived in the Puru schoolhouse. The aesthetically-minded mistress of the household did not like untidy school environments. Home improvement was not yet popular at the end of the 19th century. However, the young couple applied their energy to beautifying the inside and outside of the schoolhouse and many farms in the neighbourhood followed suit.

Puru schoolhouse (1912). Private collection

Peeter and Juliane Põld brought up ten children – five sons and five daughters. The eleventh child died in infancy. Besides Peeter, the third child, the oldest son Harald (1874 – 1939) also became well known as a clergyman and translator of the Bible, and as a developer of the Estonian language. He was the author of several books on grammar.

The family of Puru teacher Peeter Põld in 1912. Private collection

Growing up in a big family develops early social approach in children, which has clearly contributed to becoming good co-workers and companions. They have never felt lonely, the company of their peers has always been their field of activities and success. They have never suffered from clumsiness, inability to communicate with others and problems with adjustment which often characterises children grown up in small families. They have always felt free and confident in all their performance.

A. Aret. Peeter Põld – a guide for Estonian education. IN: Peeter Põld reflected in his time. Compiled by H. Muoni. Tartu University Publishers. 1996, p. 11.

Peeter’s childhood was rich in experience and spiritual sustenance; he worked hard but there was also enough time for play. The brown eyed Peeter was a lively and bright boy, particularly receptive and observant of his surroundings. Peeter inherited sensual appreciation from his mother and a strong will from his father.

He received his primary education from his father, who taught in Estonian in the local village school. His early years at the Puru schoolhouse provided a broad and solid foundation for his future life.

The daughters of Peeter and Juliane Põld.
Anna Emilie, Hedvig Sofie, Helene Emilie,
Margarete and Marta. Private collection

The sons of Peeter and Juliane Põld.
Engerhart, Reinhold, Peeter, Harald and Aleksander.
Private collection
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