Cornell's primary sources on Iceland

The Fiske Icelandic Collection is one of the world's three largest collections (exceeding forty thousand volumes) on Icelandic literature and civilization, and is unrivaled in its resources for the study of the medieval Nordic world, especially in antiquarian editions of Icelandic sagas and related Old Norse literature. Its rare books, photographs, and manuscripts reside in the Division of Rare and  Manuscript Collections, while a vast repository of critical studies and modern Icelandic literature circulates from Olin Library. Both rare and circulating books in the Icelandic Collection are searchable through the CUL catalogue ( 

The Hathitrust Digital Library at offers digitized versions of many books in the rare component of the Fiske Icelandic Collection, including the 1914 Catalogue of the Icelandic Collection, compiled by Halldór Hermannsson, the first curator.

Islandica, a series of works in Norse and Icelandic studies, has published alongside the Fiske Icelandic Collection since 1908. The first editor of the series, Halldór Hermannsson, was also the most prolific early author, compiling pioneer bibliographies of Old Norse literature and recounting the history of Icelandic contacts with the world from medieval to modern times.

Islandica volumes 53 through 60 are available in digital format through Cornell eCommons ( Volumes 1 through 16 are currently accessible in full view in the Hathitrust Digital Library (

The curator of the Fiske Icelandic Collection is Patrick J. Stevens (

Old Norse-Icelandic literary sources online

The site provides access to many Icelandic saga texts, containing "all the extant Icelandic family sagas [...] accessible in a variety of open formats. The texts use modernised Icelandic orthography. Translations ... are also made available where these exist in the public domain."

See also at a roster of publishers offering gratis electronic access to their books for an extended duration because of the pandemic. Terms may vary among these publishers.

Iceland: Cornell's online exhibitions

Online exhibitions feature individual items from within Cornell's vast Rare and Distinctive (RAD) collections that curators have decided to highlight and present in a particular context.

Here are sections of the exhibition The Passionate Collector: Willard Fiske and His Libraries that focus specifically on the Icelandic Collection:


Kristín Bragadóttir published in 2008 a study of Willard Fiske's close relationship with Iceland and its people and culture in Willard Fiske : Vinur Íslands og velgjörðamaður, translated as Willard Fiske: Friend and Benefactor of Iceland, Islandica 61 (2019).

On 20 May 2020, Kristín was the guest on the Icelandic interview program "Hringbraut," and discussed her further research on Willard Fiske, which led to her doctoral dissertation in history in 2017 and its subsequent publication in 2019. The program is at .


This early online exhibition highlights just a few of the significant antiquarian texts in the Fiske Icelandic Collection:

Iceland: Cornell's digitized collections

Cornell Library has an ambitious program to digitize many of its own collections. The completed projects span many subjects and are available to browse and use here. Among the primary source materials focused on Iceland are:



(Seyðisfjörður.) - An Icelander and his steed. Circa 1900.
23900ebd 15a6 4839 9b15 c92db2040634 size2
C363f113 6cf7 44c7 9f28 936720cf269e size2

Iceland: Beyond Cornell

A summary history of Iceland can be found at, with the English version of the same at These summary articles include bibliographical references.

A "Timeline of Icelandic History" ( delivers a chronology dating from the initial settlement events of the ninth century.

At, the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið delivers news of Iceland in English. The site offers daily news in Icelandic from this newspaper.

Online resources in Iceland include, the site for Landsbókasafn Íslands -- Háskólabókasafn (National and University Library of Iceland) and for Stofnun Árna Magnússonar í íslenskum fræðum (Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies).