Highlight of the month

Women‘s Reading Society

was founded in Reykjavík on Sept. 18 in 1911 by members of the Women‘s Rights Organization which had run a women‘s reading room for two years. The model was found in the women‘s reading rooms operated in many European cities, including Copenhagen,  by women‘s societies.  Mánaðarritið (Monthly Review) started in 1912 as a handwritten book in which members wrote their thoughts, stories and poems and read out loud in meetings.  On the first page we find the purpose of the society: „to kindle a desire to read good books, to converse on their topic to enlighten the mind and, hopefully, to inspire action.“

Mánaðarritið lived for two decades and it gives a good picture of the society‘s actions and the aspirations of its members.  The writer/poetress Theodóra Thoroddsen often contributed to the book:

Women in the society ran the library and reading room on a volutary basis for more than half a century, but attendance fell over the years. The society ceased its activities in 1961 and gave all its books to the city of Reykjavík in commemoration of Laufey Vilhjálmsdóttir, who was the society‘s president from the beginning until her death (March 29, 1960). Laufey drew the figure on the front page of this programme for the society‘s 40th anniversary:

You can read about the society here (in Icelandic)

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