Smiltene Women's Folk CostumeFold-out, Latvian State Printing House, ca. 1960

This quick reference fold-out on card stock is a Soviet-era work (priced in kopecks and including references to the Baltic Soviet republics) reminiscent of Latvju raksti—Ornement Letton, which was offered as a subscription series by the State Printing House from 1924 to 1931 and also published in three volumes. We have assembled our collection from multiple sources. It's worth noting the illustrations of folk costumes in the Concise Encyclopedia of the Latvian SSR (1970) are virtually identical to those shown here.

The cover's background shows a traditional weave pattern; inside are an illustration of a full folk costume and various details: jacket and skirt, brooches and blouse, collar and cuff embroidery. The flip side provides a brief overview in four languages: French, English, Russian, and Latvian.

Smiltene refers both to a district and town in Latvia located in northern Latvia. The village, first known as Smiltestele, first appears in historical documents in 1427. The town was destroyed in Ivan the Terrible's relatively short-lived conquest of Vidzeme.

Smiltene district in Latvia
It later found itself under Polish-Lithuanian then Swedish rule. Russian destroyed the town, again, in the Great Northern War.

Town of Smiltene
Under Russia, Catherine the Great granted Smiltene manor to Governor-General of Rīga Count Georg Graf Braun. The manor changed owners a number of times, eventually purchased by the Lieven family in 1893.

Manor properties were broken into homesteads under land reform after Latvia gained its independence. Smiltene was granted town rights in 1920 and prospered as a local center of agriculture and manufacturing. Three quarters of the town was again destroyed in WWII.

Today, Smiltene offers a number of sights for the visitor: the Lutheran church, Roman Catholic parish house, and Orthodox chuch; a memorial stone to Krišjānis Barons commemorating his visit to Smiltene in 1859, the old Lieven manor complex, ruins of the Livonian Order's castle, Vidusezers Lake, and more—even a meteor crater.

Click on a thumbnail to view the picture. Mouse over the either side of the picture and click to navigate or use the left/right arrow keys.

Fold-out cover

Woman's full dress (restored image)

Woman's full dress (original)

Jacket and skirt

Small brooches and blouse

Collar and cuff embroidery

Overview (French)

Overview (English)

Overview (Russian)

Overview (Latvian)

Publisher's imprint

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