Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald (1803-1882) who is mainly known as the author of the Estonian epos „Kalevipoeg“also actively worked as a publicist and enlighterer of the people. By profession Kreutzwald was a physician which is why he was especially involved in improving the health and education of the nation.
Kreutzwald was born in the parish of Kardina in Virumaa. He studied in Tallinn and in Rakvere and thereafter worked as a tutor in Saint Petersburg. After graduating from Tartu University faculty of medicine he moved to Võru where he worked as the town doctor for 44 years. During this time Kreutzwald created his most iconic work „Kalevipoeg“, „Eesti rahva ennemuistsed jutud“, „Viru lauliku laulud“ etc. Kreutzwald introduced multiple new words to the Estonian language like rahvus (nation), voorus (vitrue), tulevik (future), hapnik (oxygen), süsinik (carbon), põletik (infection), palavik (fever), organ (organ), reuma (rheumatoid), paeluss (tapeworm) and others.
During Kreutzwald’s era his enlightening books „Viinakatk“, „Külm vesi on kõige parem tervise hoidja“, „Verelaskmisest“, „Kõhutõvest“ are considered important to that period. Besides practising medicine he also edited the additional section of a publication called “Maarahva Kasulise Kalendri lugemislisa”, where among other things he explained the causes of various illnesses and taught people to cure them with natural remedies. In the year 1852 his book on childbirth got published („Teejuhataja ämmakooliliste õpetuse juures“) and in 1854 his book „Lühike õpetus tervise hoidmisest“ was published that contained general advise on maintaining one’s health and was widely used in schools. His last health themed book „Kodutohter“, which contained advise on how to care for a person at home, he finished during his retirement in Tartu.
There are streets in Tallinn, Tartu, Võru, Rakvere and other places that bear the name of Frideirich Reinhold Kreutzwald. It may seem unbelievable but during the 19th century there were still vegetable gardens on Kreutzwald Street in Tallinn. At the beginning of the 20th century this street was named Romanov’s prospect in honour of the Russian czar dynasty. It was renamed after Kreutzwald in 1923. Nowadays Kreutzwald Street is one of the most treasured addresses in the city which is a short distance from Kadrioru park where the monument of F.R.Kreutzwald lies.