North America has an Icelandic newspaper that is written in English. It is called the Lögberg-Heimskringla and the name was created when two historic newspapers combined in 1959. It is the oldest continuously published ethnic newspaper in Canada and one of the oldest in all of North America.
The Heimskringla was first published in September of 1886. The paper covered many topics of interest to the Western Icelanders including news from Iceland and poetry. The Lögberg newspaper was first published in January of 1888 partly because of the differing political and religious views of the Icelandic immigrants.
Both of these newspapers were written in Icelandic and very important to the Icelandic pioneers. Many of their friends and family were scattered throughout the various communities. Some people subscribed to both papers so they could read the various stories and opinions but some of our ancestors were very loyal to one paper or the other depending on their viewpoints.
I often go to a great website when doing genealogy research: www.timarit.is. I find obituaries and stories that coincide with the history and the people I am researching. Here is a link for you to read the original article about the cooperation and read the L-H inaugural issue that came out 20 Aug 1959.
In 1980, twenty years after the founders stated that they wanted the paper to remain in the Icelandic language, almost all of the articles were written in English. By 1990, the very last page was the only location you could find articles in Icelandic. By the year 2000, the entire paper was written in the English language.
Occasionally, you will find Icelandic lessons in the paper and I wish that we would have this more often. I wonder if the North American Icelanders would have retained a better grasp on the Icelandic language if the paper had continued to write articles in Icelandic. This Friday, November 16th, is the annual “Dagur Íslenskrar tungu,” which means “Day of the Icelandic Tongue.” Here is an article by IcelandReviewOnline about this unique day.
The newspaper was usually published weekly but in January of 2004, the paper became a bi-weekly paper instead. Now, you can get an online subscription or get the paper delivered in your mail. It makes a great gift, so get a subscription for your favorite Icelandophile.
The newspaper maintains a Twitter account and also a dynamic Facebook page: LH Facebook page. The volunteers that maintain the page are Sólveig Judy Wilson, Alicyn Goodman, Hrafnhildur Sigmarsdóttir, and me. The L-H newspaper is a non-profit corporation and volunteers are very important to the organization. There are so many great people who work to keep the paper going. Grant Stefanson is the President of the Board. If you would like to help the newspaper in any way, contact us.
If you have an article that you would like published in the Lögberg-Heimskringla newspaper, please contact me as one of the Associate Editors or contact the main editor, Joan Eyjolfson Cadham. More information is on the website.
As one of the newspapers advertising slogans go ….. GET ICELANDIC!