Highlight of the month


The story of the “Ptarmigan´s nest” by Asthildur Guðmundsdóttir with drawings by Muggur

A women´s reading society operated in Reykjavík in 1911-1961 and the society´s monthly magazine, Mánaðarrit, was first published in 1912. In an issue written in February 1916, there is a story by Ásthildur Guðmundsdóttir (1857-1938), entitled “The Ptarmigan´s nest”. Along with the story there are published two drawings by her son, Muggur (Guðmundur Thorsteinsson) (1891-1924), who later became a well known artist.

“The Ptarmigan´s nest” is a memoir by Ásthildur since she was eight years old, living with her parents at Kvennabrekka in Miðdalir, Dalasýsla County. One day, when walking between farms, Ásthildur stepped into a nest with 11 eggs and broke two. When she told her nanny about this the nanny said that it meant that Ásthildur would have 11 children and lose two.

Ásthildur forgot “The Ptarmigan´s nest”, but remembered it much later, when she had given birth to 11 children and lost two of them.

The story and the drawings can be viewed here:

Private documents are preserved at the manuscript department of the National and University Library of Iceland and are accessible on the website www.einkaskjol.is. The women´s reading society´s monthly magazine, Mánaðarrit, can be viewed here: http://einkaskjol.is/index.php/lestrarfelag-kvenna-reykjavikur-2

During the past year there has been an ongoing project on behalf of the manuscript department of the National and University Library of Iceland, the Women's History Archives, the National Archives and regional archives across the country, to collect documents by women. The project is now reaching it´s end, but we still call for documents by women, and men, so they are effectively managed and delivered to the archives for permanent preservation.

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