The Viking Immigrants: Icelandic North Americans
From 1870 until 1914, almost one-quarter of the population of Iceland migrated to North America. The Viking Immigrants examines how the distinctive culture that emerged in Icelandic North American communities – from food and fashion to ghost stories and Viking parades – sheds light on a century and a half of change and adaptation.
Through an analysis of the history of everyday forms of expression, L.K. Bertram reveals the larger forces that shaped the evolution of an immigrant community. This exploration of the Icelandic North American community draws on rare and fascinating sources of community life, including oral histories, recipes, photographs, and memoirs. By using a multi-sensory approach to the immigrant experience, The Viking Immigrants uses often-overlooked cultural practices such as clothing production, the preservation of recipes, and the telling of ghost stories to understand tension and transformation in an immigrant community.
- Series: Studies in Gender and History
- World Rights
- Page Count: 272 pages
- Illustrations: 30
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
"The Viking Immigrants contributes to the fields of Canadian immigrant studies, Icelandic history, and ethnology and displays a close engagement with the major scholarly works on Icelandic culture and history. With interesting analysis enhanced by L.K. Bertram’s personal connection to the relationship between Icelanders and the expatriate community, this book will also attract a ‘heritage’ readership of Canadians of Icelandic descent interested in their family history."
Karen Oslund, Department of History, Towson University
"Observing food, clothing, folk-tales, customs, and language, L.K. Bertram reveals the wealth of material culture belonging to the Icelandic national identity. Based on research on immigrant history and extensive writings of Icelandic scholars, The Viking Immigrants makes a significant contribution to its field, especially as it focuses on important but often overlooked aspects of Icelandic culture in North America."
Jón Karl Helgason, School of Humanities, University of Iceland
Author InformationL.K. Bertram is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Toronto.
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
1. Dressing Up: Clothing, Power, and Upward Mobility in the Early Immigrant Community, 1870–1900
2. Coffee Pots and Homebrew Stills: Drinking Cultures, Pleasure, and Belonging in the Icelandic Immigrant Community
3. Unsettling Apparitions: Icelandic-North American Ghost Stories and Superstitious Belief
4. Main Street Vikings: Anglicization, Spectacle, and the Two World Wars
5. “Don’t ask Icelanders how to make their Christmas Cake”: A Brief History of Vínarterta
Subjects and Courses