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THE ICELANDER 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 



WHO VISITED THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE IN 1007 



PRINTED FOR PRIVATE DISTRIBUTION BY 

J. BUNFORD SAMUEL 



U^d z ^ 1.9. 1 



1 



s 



A 







COPYRIGHT. IMS. BT J. BCNFOED SAMUEL 



PRINTED I1T J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY 

AT THE WASHINGTON SQUARE PRESS 

PHILADELPHIA, D. S. A. 



TO MY WIFE ELLEN 

WHO MADE POSSIBLE THE EX- 
ISTENCE OF THE STATUE OF 
THORFINN KARLSEFNI THROUGH 
HER BEQUEST TO THE FAIRMOUNT 
PARK ART ASSOCIATION 



CHRONOLOGY 

A SHORT CHRONOLOGY OF THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

Copied from Hawk's book. 

Translated by G. M. Gathorne-Hardy, F.R.G.S. 

There was a man named Thord, who lived in Hof da 
in Hofdastrand. He married Fridgerda, daughter of 
Thori-Hyma and of Fridgerda, daughter of Kjarval, 
King of the Irish. Thord was a son of Bjorn Byrdus- 
mor, son of Thorvald-Hrygg, son of Asleick, son of 
B j orn-Ironside, son of Ragnar-Shaggy-Breeches. They 
had a son called Snorri. He married Thorhild-Rype, 
a daughter of Thord Gelli. Their son was Thord- 
Horsehead and he had a son called Thorfinn Karlsef ni, 
who lived in the north at Reynisness in Skagaf jord, as 
it is now called. Besides being of good stock, Karlsef ni 
was a wealthy man. His mother's name was Thorunn. 
He was in the cruising trade, and had a good reputation 
as a sailor. 



FOREWORD 

The old theory of fire — that wherever there was 
smoke, there was flame — very aptly is illustrative of 
controversies regarding the discovery and settlement 
of continents. 

In the case of the Icelander, Thorfinn Karlsefni, this 
controversy is very prominent. 

Almost every historian who has written a history of 
the Western Hemisphere, has stumbled over a Norse- 
man or an Icelander who in some way reached this 
Hemisphere. 

In Adam of Bremen's Book, "Discipler Insularum 
Aqualonis," published in 1595. 

In John Fiske's history called "The Discovery of 
America." 

In Professor William Hovgaard's romance of "The 
Voyages of the Norsemen to America." 

And the definition given about Vinland in the latest 
edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

And, quite recently, "The Norse Discoveries of 
America — The Vineland Sagas," by G. M. Gathorne- 
Hardy, F.R.G.S- 

All mention Leif Ericsson and Thorfinn Karlsefni 
as the earliest discoverers of America. 

The unsettled question seems to be, the exact location 

7 



8 FOREWORD 

where they landed. This, in turn, reaches from Cape 
Cod to Long Island Sound, and names the land Vinland 
and Wineland, because grape vines were found growing 
on the mainland. If these historians would study the 
ocean currents which Hovgaard and Hardy have done in 
a casual way, they would have found a sort of Northern 
Gulf Stream which for ages drifted close to the Massa- 
chusetts shore — piling up driftwood which came from 
the Arctic Sea. Small boats such as the Norsemen and 
Icelanders used were undoubtedly carried by this cur- 
rent, the same as the driftwood, and we can only con- 
jecture where they landed, for nothing is left to tell the 
story, except in Thorfinn's case. Providing the story 
of the Fletcher stone can be verified. The word settler 
had something to do with my choice, also, for Thorfinn 
did settle where he landed and remained some two years 
until driven out by savages. Also, his child Snorri was 
born during his sojourn in America, which undoubtedly 
was the first white child born in this country. 

I have no misgivings over my choice — quite to the 
contrary, for every latest history of America seems to 
confirm the story of Thorfinn Karlsef ni. 

I chose for the sculptor of Thorfinn — Einar Jonsson, 
a native of Iceland. And he certainly has modelled a 
typical Viking — being descended from the Vikings. 

I hope my readers will agree with me that I have not 
erred in their conviction. 



"*■■"»« 



^.*#~**3 




THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

Why Thorfinn Karlsefxi was chosen to represent 
The First Settler in the Western Hemisphere 
And the remarkable bequest made by my wife 

for Statuary 

Emblematical of the settlement of our great Country. 

THE BEQUEST. 

I give and bequeath to my husband all the residue and 
remainder of my estate, real and personal, of every kind 
for the term of his natural life, and after his death, I 
give, devise and bequeath the same to the Commissioners 
of Fairmount Park, to spend the income thereof in the 
f ollowing manner. 

According to the official map issued by the Park 
Commissioners, there is a space of Two Thousand (2000) 
feet commencing from the Beacon Light or last boat 
house to the Girard Avenue Bridge. On the edge of this 
ground bordered by the Schuylkill River is a stone bulk- 
head. On top of this embankment it is my will to have 
erected at distances of one hundred (100) feet apart, on 
high granite pedestals of uniform shape and size, statu- 
ary emblematic of the History of America, ranging in 
time from the earliest settler of America to the present 
Era, arranged in chronological order, the earliest period 

9 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

at the South end, and going on to the present time at 
the North end ; 

And when all the statues are in place, the income to be 
spent in buying Statuary and Fountains to decorate the 
Park according to the judgment of the Commissioners. 

In getting designs for the Statues, it is my desire that 
notices be inserted in the leading newspapers of the 
world, asking for designs, and offering to pay expenses 
for sending and returning the same, but not to offer any 
special premium, the one chosen to receive all the money 
offered in the proposal. 

I nominate and appoint my husband Joseph Bunf ord 
Samuel to be the Executor of this my last will and testa- 
ment and Trustee for all purposes named herein. 

CODICIL. 

I, Ellen Phillips Samuel, revoke and make null and 
void my appointment of the Fairmount Park Commis- 
sion to be Trustee of my Bequest, and appoint instead 
The Fairmount Park Art Association to receive and 
administer said Bequest in the manner described in the 
body of my will. 

THE ADJUDICATION OF WILL BY JUDGE GEST 

filed Dec. 9, 1914. 

"The foregoing provisions of the will constituted 

Joseph Bunford Samuel testamentary trustee, and not 

merely life tenant, and consequently under the Act of 

10 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

Assembly of May 17, 1871, Stew, Purd. 1133, the legacy 
in remainder to the Fairmount Park Art Association is 
not legally taxable until the death of Mr. Samuel; he 
has however as Executor paid the Tax on the remainder 
interest, and the sealed and countersigned receipt there- 
for in the sum of $21,382.84 was produced to the Audit- 
ing Judge, being tax on $674,061.15, after the deduction 
of the life estate appraised at $223,876.18. 

Counsel for the Fairmount Park Art Association ex- 
pressed his appreciation of Mr. Samuel's magnanimous 
action in this as in other matters concerning the bequest." 

The usual commission paid to executors was also 
omitted. 

November 14, 1913. 

Acceptance of the bequest by the Fairmount Park 
Art Association. 

Resolved, that the Board of Trustees of the Fair- 
mount Park Art Association has received with much 
satisfaction, notice of the munificent bequest of Mrs. 
J. Bunford Samuel (Ellen Phillips Samuel) which will 
provide funds for a comprehensive and dignified treat- 
ment of a noble theme — the history of America symbol- 
ized in a system of Statuary in Fairmount Park, and 
which will ensure the continuance for all time on a gener- 
ous scale of the influence of the Association in promoting 
the aims for which it exists. 

Resolved, that the Board of Trustees gratefully ac- 
cepts the bequest of Mrs. Samuel, and will carry out, 

li 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

to the best of its ability, the wishes of the testatrix. 

(Signed) Leslie W. Miller, 

Secretary. 

The Selection of the man who was the earliest 
known Settler in the Western Hemisphere. 

It was something of an undertaking to find the first 
Settler amongst the mass of historical names associated 
with the first discoverers of our country. 

I had never given the matter a thought before, and 
started my inquiries with no knowledge of the subject 
at all. I read History after History, until I came to 
Fiske's History, "The Discovery of America." He cer- 
tainly made plain many points regarding the early dis- 
coverers which put me on the path and interested me in 
trying to solve the question. The names of Leif 
Ericsson and Thorfinn Karlsefni appeared again and 
again, until it seemed hopeless to make a choice. When 
suddenly, I may say I was startled after reading a news- 
paper description of the Fletcher Stone discovered near 
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, on which were letters the mean- 
ing of which was made clear by a translation by Henry 
Phillips, Jr., a brother of Mrs. Samuel, and Secretary 
of the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia. 
His definition of it was u Hako's Son Addressed the 
Men." Haki and his wife were members of the expedi- 
tion of Thorfinn Karlsefni, which was supposed to have 

12 




Pull-sue Staff Model of tub Balustrade of m frofusbd Ellhk 
Phillips Samuel Mimorjal, as biicttd by this Association on the 
East River Drive below Girard Avenue Bridge, in Pairmount 
Park. View from tee River-wall. 



Supposed Rjjgic igscriptioij oGar^rnjoutfyJtova Scotia. 
pijoto graphed fronj a p3per squeeze See ProcAn). PljiL Sot May 2^1884- 




Scale of Jqcljes 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

landed near Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the year 1007, 
and remained there for two years until driven away by 
the savages. 

Tradition says that Leif Ericsson jvho had preceded 
Thorfinn some seven years, had landed on the same spot 
and erected huts to live in, but no huts were standing on 
the arrival of Thorfinn. 

The version of Henry Phillips' translation here- 
with follows. 

A STORY 

Of a supposed Runic Inscription at Yarmouth, 

Nova Scotia. 
By Henry Phillips, Jr. 

On the shore of the Bay of Fundy, opposite the town 
of Yarmouth, stands a rock weighing about four hundred 
pounds, which about the end of the last century was dis- 
covered by a man named Fletcher. It has been well 
known for nearly an hundred years, and those who dwell 
in its vicinity have always accepted it as a genuine relic 
of antiquity, no breath of suspicion ever having fallen 
upon it. 

The glyphs thereon have been at various times copied 

and sent abroad to men of learning, who have made more 

or less attempts at deciphering them, more than one 

savant seeing traces of S emetic origin. 

In 1875, a rubbing procured from the stone was 

is 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

placed in my hands for investigation. Since that time 
I have carefully considered the circumstances of the 
case, and have become ultimately satisfied of its bona 
fide nature, that the inscription was neither a modern 
fraud nor the work of the wayward playfulness of the 
leisure hours of the sportive jred-skin. Having become 
imbued with a belief that no deception was intended or 
practiced, I entered upon the study of the markings with 
a mind totally and entirely free from prejudice, so far 
from believing that the inscription was a relic of the pre- 
Columbian discovery of America, I had never given any 
credence to that theory. 

I therefore approached the subject entirely unbiased 
in my opinion. In fact, somewhat prejudiced against 
the authenticity of any inscription on this continent, 
purporting to emanate from the hardy and intrepid 
Norsemen. The difficulty of interpreting these mark- 
ings was greatly increased on account of the nature of the 
material on which the rubbing had been taken and the 
fact that in the Runic alphabets the letters frequently 
have many varying values and forms. But like as in a 
kaleidoscope, word after word appeared in disjointed 
forms, and each was in turn rejected until at last an 
intelligible word came forth, followed by another and 
another, until a real sentence with a meaning stood forth 
to my astonished gaze : 

"Harkusson Men Varu" — "Hako's Son addressed 
the Men." 

14 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

Upon examining further, I found that in the expedi- 
tion of Thorfinn Karlsefni in 1007, the name of Haki 
occurs among those who accompanied him. I confess I 
was staggered by the remarkable coincidence and began 
to waver and the finishing touches were placed to my un- 
belief when I observed the map, and saw how short the 
distance was from Iceland to Greenland, compared with 
the stretch of water from Norway to Iceland. It seemed 
more probable that the fearless race that actually did 
cross the latter expanse of ocean were not likely to be 
discouraged from navigating the former. As to the 
reason why such a memento should be left of the visit, 
of course no definite answer can be given, but it is a fact 
well known that memorials were often made or erected, 
engraved or placed at localities where events had taken 
place, and the address of the Chieftain to the men may 
have been of some noteworthy matter, perhaps even to 
commemorate the fact of having landed at that spot. 

In conclusion, I would say, that the circumstances are 
worthy of consideration, if not absolutely convincing. 

As long as Mr. Phillips found out that a man named 
Haki and his wife actually belonged to Thorfinn's ex- 
pedition, he made a mistake in translating the name as 
Haki's son addressed the men, for Haki had no son with 
him, only his wife. He also erred in supposing the in- 
scription was Runic — it is not; the Runic alphabet is 
entirely different from the letters on the stone. 

15 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

Also, Haki was a Scotchman, was a runner, not a 
Chieftain, and being a Scot, if he wrote the letters they 
must be Celtic. I am endeavoring to clear up this part 
of the story. 

Later on, I found Rudyard Kipling's remarks about 
Thorfinn in his story of "The Phantom Rickshaw," 
as follows : 

"Conceive yourself at the door of the world's 

treasure house, guarded by a child. 

Till that evening Charles had spoken nothing that 

might not be within the experience of a Greek 

Galley Slave. 

But now, or there was virtue in books, he had talked 
of some desperate adventure of the Vikings. 

Of Thorfinn Karlsefni's sailing to Winel&jid, 

which is America, in the Ninth or Tenth Century, the 

battle in the harbor he had seen, and his own death he 

had described. 

I might write the saga of Thorfinn Karlsef ni, as it 

had never been written before, might tell the story of 

the first discovery of America, myself the discoverer." 

In all the Historical Works reviewed by me, concern- 
ing the life and adventures of Thorfinn Karlsef ni, I 
think Kipling's few words are very weird and opportune 
and quite wonderful. 
To the Committee of the 

Fairmount Park Art Association 
Gentlemen : 

In order that the early erection of the Statue I pro- 

16 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

pose giving to your Association as a starter for the whole 
scheme of Statuary stated in my wife's bequest, I suggest 
the fund to be used for this first Statue, shall be the total 
net income of the estate of Mrs. Samuel for the year 
1915, less $5000. Also that the first Statue be the Ice- 
lander, Thorfinn Karlsefni. 

In conclusion — no one is more interested in present- 
ing a handsome art work to your Association than I am, 
and with your cooperation, I trust to give the public as 
elegant a piece of Statuary as modern genius can execute. 

I may add, no notice was taken by the Association 
after the meeting at which I presented my offer to erect 
the first Statue. From that time until the completion 
of Thorfinn, I underook the matter at my own risk. 

A year passed before anything very definite hap- 
pened, and I canvassed around seeking some knowledge 
of Sculptors here and abroad. It seemed that local 
Sculptors did not want to compete for the pro- 
posed Statue. 

Finally, the Editor of the Scandinavian Foundation 
of America, at New York, suggested to me the name of 
an Icelander, Einar Jonsson, as a worthy sculptor, and 
sent me a copy of a letter written to him by Jonsson 
notifying me that he had sent a model of a Statue of 
Thorfinn that he had been working on over for a year. 
The model arrived shortly afterward and I placed it on 

17 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

exhibition at an Art Gallery for inspection by my friends, 
and herewith give copies of letters in the matter. 

The American Scandinavian Foundation, 

25 West 45th St., New York. 

May 25, 1915. 
My dear Mr. Samuel : 

May I suggest the great Icelandic sculptor, Einar 
Jonsson, as the proper artist to design the Thorfinn 
Karlsef ni Statue ? We are this week giving a benefit for 
the purpose of bringing bronzes of his work to America. 
I enclose the article about him in the Scandinavian 
Review. 

No artist could do the work with more feeling for 
his aim. 

Very sincerely yours, 
(Signed) Henry Goddard Leach. 

Translation from Danish letter from Einar Jonsson 
to H. G. Leach, dated Reykjavik, Iceland, Jan. 3, 1917. 
Dear Mr. Leach : 

I am sending a large model of Thorfinn Karlsef ni, 
by steamer Bisp, which leaves for New York today. 
The model is a metre high, and is made of Plaster Paris, 
so it must be handled carefully. I have had a very 
short time to make it in, as it was wanted so soon, but 
it matters little if it is not well finished off — such models 
never are. 

18 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

The main thing is the position, the plastic art of the 
whole work, and the total impression. 

The finishing off, and all the details will not appear 
until it is shown in the main work. 

Also, the expression of the face, and the whole 
spiritual physiognomy will be completed then. 

Then comes the clothing — it is not easy to determine 
how that should be done. I have studied that side of 
the matter very closely from the time some years ago 
when I made the Statue of Ingolf, and got information 
both from my countrymen, of whom many are specialists 
in that line, and from Professor Pinner Jonsson and 
Dr. Valtyr Gudmundsson in particular. I also studied 
diligently with Prof. Siphus Muller, Director of the 
Oldnordisk Museum at Copenhagen. The latter told 
me that there are no exact descriptions in existence dat- 
ing from that time or about 400 years before and after 
Ingolf, not even loose descriptions, and that I would 
come nearest to the truth by principally letting my fancy 
lead me, guided by the knowledge we have of clothing 
from the time before or after. 

I followed his advice, for I must say that other 
gentlemen I spoke with concerning this matter disagreed 
about the question, as scientists often do. 

But to pick out one piece of clothing from one age, 
and another from another, I considered quite out of the 
way, for in that manner no result would in any likeli- 
hood be correct. 

19 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

It must also be remembered that the old Vikings 
were much more individual in their dressing, than people 
are now-a-days. They had no factories, and no fashions 
to make the clothes from ; every individual more or less 
invented his own dress. And it has been pointed out 
in the old sagas or histories how peculiarly this or that 
person was dresesd. 

As with Thorfinn, and with Ingolf , I dressed them 
as I considered most probable, based on a thorough 
study both with specialists and from the Northern collec- 
tion of Antiquities, especially the one at home (in 
Reykjavik) , which has many good specimens of clothing 
dating from ancient times, and I suited all of these to 
the saga and manner of life of the person, and the plastic 
art of the Statue in memory of the one for whom it was 
erected. For it should not be more or less a truly 
dressed doll only to represent the historical warrior 
clothing of his time, such would be an impossibility. 
These kinds of monuments need not be placed in the 
open air. They are more in place as antiquities for 
collections for collectors. 

What Prof. Muller said is true. The nearest way 
to truth in this matter is reached by building upon the 
modest knowledge we have of these things, and guided 
by our fancy for the balance. 

If the model I am sending you should be broken, you 

had better get an experienced plasterer to repair it. He 

must be particular in placing the head on correctly if it 

so 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

should be broken. A very small thing can often do 
harm, and it is the position that counts in such a work. 

And now, in conclusion, my good wishes for the 
American Scandinavian Review, and with best regards, 
I am, 

Yours sincerely, 

Einar Jonsson. 

Whilst casting around for some further facts regard- 
ing the early settlers and discoverers of our country, I 
called on Professor John Bach McMaster, Professor 
of History at the University of Pennsylvania, and 
received the following letter from the Professor, which 
does not accord at all with Mrs. Samuel's bequest. 

She distinctly says settlers of our country, therefore 
the Statues are limited to particular men, in fact, the 
Professor's scheme is absolutely outside the object 
asked for. 



January 20, 1914. 



Mr. J. Bunford Samuel, 
Philadelphia, Pa. 



Dear Mr. Samuel: 

The provision in Mrs. Samuel's will that the time of 

beginning shall be the earliest settlement of our country 

makes it unnecessary to consider the discoverers of 

the coast. 

21 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

As a working basis I have considered our history as 
that of a people starting on the edge of the Atlantic 
seaboard and rapidly overrunning the continent and 
would suggest three periods. 

1. Occupation and setttlement of the Atlantic slope. 

2. Occupation and settlement of the Missis- 
sippi valley. 

3. Occupation and settlement of the Plains. 

Our history has been made not so much by the acts 
of individual men as by those of great bodies of men. I 
would suggest therefore that the statues be not limited 
to particular men, but that some be devoted to types of 
men, as the explorer, the trapper, the frontiersman, etc. 

THE STATUES 

No. 1. — Settlement in Pennsylvania 

Group: A Swede, a Hollander and 

William Penn; about their feet, 

luggage and implements to show 

they are settlers. 
No. 2. — Indian, with a paddle, etc., watching the 

coming of the white man. 
No. 3. — The Trapper, with furs, traps, etc., at 

his feet. 
No. 4. — Frontiersman — The Commonwealth 

Builder, with plough and rifle. 

(In panel on pedestal a log cabin, 

or stockaded fort.) 

22 



No. 


9. 


No. 


10.- 


No. 


11. 


No. 


12. 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

No. 5. — Champlain, Discovery of the Lakes. 

No. 6. — La Salle, Discovery of the Mississippi. 

No. 7. — Expulsion of the French from the Ohio 

and Mississippi. Washington on 
the Allegheny, or with Braddock. 

No. 8. — War for Independence, Washington or 

some one else. 
-Jefferson Louisiana Purchase, 1803. 
-Fulton — Introduction of Steamboat, 1808, 
or John Fitch and his Steamboat 
on the Delaware, 1790. 
-S.F.B. Morse— Telegraph. 
-Flatboatman on Mississippi. Interstate 
Commerce. (Standing on deck 
holding end of huge sweep.) 

No. 13. — Lewis and Clark (1805, '07). Explora- 
tion of Northwest — St. Louis 
to Oregon. 

No. 14. — Indians of the Plains. 

No. 15. — Emigrant on the Plains. 

No. 16. — Gold in California — Settlement of Pacific 

Coast. "Forty-niner" washing 
gold in pan. 

These are but suggestions rather hastily put down 
but will illustrate the general plan. The twenty statues 
should tell a continuous, well thought out story begin- 
ning with the settlement of the Atlantic Coast and 

28 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

ending with that of California. Indians, great men, 
great women, great events should all have a place. Law, 
Medicine, Statesmanship should be represented. My 
purpose is to merely sketch out a plan. 

( Signed ) John Bach McMastee. 

Some Letters from Eminent Scholars 
and the State Dept. 

From Professor Amandus Johnson, of the Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania, giving some details about 
the Vikings. 

From Professor Bovgaard, of The Institute of Tech- 
nology in Boston, replying to a letter I sent to him, 
asking if he could confirm Mr. Phillips translation 
of the Fletcher Stone inscription. 

From The State Department, replying to an inquiry I 
made about the status of the Government of Iceland. 



University of Penna. 

Philadelphia, Pa. 

July 21, 1918. 

To the Chairman of the Park Commission. 
Dear Sir: 

Three weeks ago, at the request of Mr. Jonsson, 

24 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

I wrote you a long letter concerning the history of 
Thorfinn Karlsef ni and an explanation of certain points 
in connection with the Statue. This letter, unfortu- 
nately, disappeared in a terrible fire which destroyed part 
of my library and the Mss. of two of my new books. 
Since then I have been west making patriotic speeches 
among the Scandinavians and have been unable to write 
before now. 

In the first place I should like to say that Thorfinn 
Karlsefni is as much an historical character as Thomas 
Morton, John Rising, Peter Minuet, Van Der Donck, 
Columbus or any of the other heroes of discovery and 
colonization ; and that Thorfinn founded a colony some- 
where on the North American coast is as historically 
certain as the fact that in the early 17th Century the 
English founded colonies in New England and Vir- 
ginia, the Dutch in New York and the Swedes on the 
Delaware. There are writers who have doubts about 
the Norse voyages to America in the Tenth Century and 
the attempts of the Vikings to establish permanent settle- 
ments here, but happily John Fiske and other great 
American historians are not of this number . (See 
Fiske's "The Discovery of America") . If I can locate 
my article on the subject I shall send it to you. It gives 
the facts and refers to the Icelandic source. Unfortu- 
nately many of our historians are unable to read Icelandic 
or any of the other Scandinavian languages, hence their 

25 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

doubts about the pre-Columbian discoveries and settle- 
ments in America by the Scandinavians. 

In the next place a word about the statue. We 
have, of course, no pictures or other means of know- 
ing exactly how Thorfinn looked. Such, however, is 
also the case with Charlemagne and many other histor- 
ical characters and yet we have statues of several of them. 
Mr. Jonsson was therefore compelled to use his imag- 
ination and his statue of Thorfinn is an artistic concep- 
tion of the ideal Viking as he is portrayed in the Icelandic 
sagas. The shield, sword and other equipment are those 
which a Viking of Thorfinn's stamp would carry. The 
shields and often the swords and belts of this period were 
decorated with legends or short verses written in runes. 
These verses were sometimes quotations f rom Gnomic 
lays or other sources, sometimes original productions 
of the artists who decorated the weapons. The verse 
on Thorfinn's shield is a tribute to Iceland. It reads in 
translation as follows : 

From the island of the north, of ice and fire, 
Of blossoming valleys and blue mountains, 
Of the waking sun (midnight sun) and the 

dreamy mists, — 
The home of the goddess of the northern lights. 

« 

The runes were nearly always written on a "serpent 
roll," similar to that used by Mr. Jonsson on the round 

26 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

shield. Very often the swords and shields were decor- 
ated with animals or other figures and scenes (similar 
to those used by Mr. Jonsson, from the Edda or some 
of the old legends. As I have studied in the Archives 
and museums of the Scandinavian north, where there are 
large collections of Icelandic shields and other weapons 
from the Viking period, I can testify to the general 
historical accuracy of the various details of the Thor- 
finn statue. 

Personally, I consider the statue a wonderful work 
of art, superior to anything of its kind I have seen else- 
where — the statue of Leif Ericsson in Boston is a mere 
shadow, it seems to me, compared to it. All lovers of 
art in Philadelphia will surely be proud of it and thank- 
ful to Mr. Samuel for bringing over such an artist. For 
just as a great American artist would be more capable 
of conceiving an ideal representation of say — Daniel 
Boone or John Winthop than any foreigner, so surely 
a great Icelandic sculptor should be more capable of 
conceiving an ideal representation of a Viking, one of 
his ancestors, than any other artist of another race. 

If the Park Commission should wish to have any 
other points in connection with the statue or the history 
of Thorfinn explained, I shall be glad to do so. I hope 
to write a short account of Thorfinn and his colony for 
one of our Sunday papers and will see to it that a copy 
is sent to you. Yours truly, 

Amandus Johnson. 

27 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

76 Edmont Street, Brookline, Mass. 

Nov. 4, 1920. 

Mr. J. Bunford Samuel, 
1609 Spruce Street, 
Philadelphia, Pa. 

Dear Sir: 

I am in receipt of your letter of November 1 and am 
much interested in what you say about the Yarmouth 
Stone, I am not acquainted with the translation of the 
inscription made by Mr. Phillips and would like to see 
it. In my book the inscription was given in the same 
way as on the stone now in the Museum at Yarmouth ; 
it may be, as you say, upside down. It certainly is not 
Runic. I do not believe that Karlsefni was in Nova 
Scotia until I obtain positive evidence to confirm 
that theory. 

In any case I am glad that you cause a statue of 
Karlsefni to be erected ; he certainly made the first seri- 
ous attempt at settling on the American continent and 
all people interested in this chapter of American history 
will be thankful to you. I am, 

Yours very truly, 

W. Hovgaard. 



28 



THORFINN KARLSEFXI 

Department of State, Washington. 

July 25, 1919. 
Mr. J. Bunford Samuel, 
Sea Girt, 

Monmouth County, New Jersey. 
Sir: 

The Department is in receipt of your letter dated 
July 11, 1919, inquiring whether Iceland is an indepen- 
dent Government or part of Denmark. 

In reply you are informed that the Danish-Icelandic 

Treaty of Union, effective December 1, 1918, recognized 

the sovereignty of Iceland and provided for a personal 

union of the two countries under the King of Denmark. 

I am, Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 
For the Acting Secretary of State: 

William Phillips, 
Assistant Secretary. 

Regarding the Plaster Paris Model Erected of 
Pedestal and Exedra on Spot 

Proposed for the Erection of Statue. 
In order to convince the Park Commissioners what 
the Pedestals for the Statues would look like when 
placed in position in the Park, I consulted with George 
W. Norris Esq., about my eagerness to get something 
done in regard to the early erection of my Statue. He 
decided to secure the services of a young architect to 

29 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

draw some plans for a Pedestal. He did so, and in- 
cluded an Exedra or seating bench around one side of 
the proposed Pedestal, which I thought was very clever. 

The Park Commissioners allowed me to erect this 
construction, providing I would remove it in six months, 
which I did, and I am sure the many who saw it appre- 
ciated its beauty. 

The Fairmount Park Art Association had their 
Architect prepare an elaborate model, taking in the 
entire landscape from the Sedgely Club House to Girard 
A venue Bridge, a portion of which made in Plaster 
Paris being erected alongside of my work. 

It was unfortunate for our Citizens that my Model 
was not accepted for the Exedra contained eight places 
for seats around each Pedestal, which meant 144 seats 
around the eighteen Statues to be erected. My model 
was Romanesque in design, and would set off all the 
Statues of all nationalities in better form than the 
Pedestal adopted. Some photos are herewith given 
of them. 

The sculptor Einar Jonsson and his wife arrived in 
New York in July 1916. They stayed there for a few 
days, and then came here. 

I secured rooms for them at an Apartment House, 
40th and Parkside Avenue, overlooking the West Park. 

The Fairmount Park Commissioners allowed the 

sculptor to use as his studio a small section of the old 

so 






*MA. 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

Merry-go-round building at the corner of Belmont and 
Parkside Avenues, which they fitted up for him, where 
he remained for two years until the Statue was finished. 

It was then cast into Bronze by Bureau Brothers, 
and finally erected in its present position on November 
20, 1920. 

Below is given a descriptive letter about Einar 
Jonsson by his wife, also one written by himself. 

Then come copies of the speeches made at the dedi- 
cation services, and, finally, a letter of thanks from the 
Fairmount Park Art Association to me, and my reply, 
and a late criticism of Hardy's book, "The Norse Dis- 
coverers of America," by Prof. Julius E. Olson. 

A LITTLE SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF 
EINAR JONSSON. 

Written by his wife, 1918. 

Dear Mr. Samuel : 

You ask me to explain Einar Jonsson's works, which 
I will gladly do in as few words as 1 can make their 
meaning clear. 

First you must know something of what art and life 
mean to him. Nothing is produced hastily by him, but 
usually after years of conscientious study of his subject. 
Before any work leaves his hands he insists it must ex- 
press the same truth in three ways : 

The Idea (which is the spiritual conception) ; the 
Lines, and the Plastic Form in the whole composition. 

31 



THORFINN KARLSEENI 

Therefore, his finished work always expresses a complete 
harmony on these three points. His first conception of 
the outline regulates the whole composition. The dif- 
ferent figures must all conform to these lines and are not 
allowed, by a single deflection, to mar the work. 

Einar Jonsson was born in Iceland, where as a boy 
he gave proof of the sculptor that was in him by his 
wonderful carving on wood and bone. At the age of 
eighteen he went to Denmark, where for several years 
he studied in the Royal Academy, making a specialty 
of anatomy. Though much of his life has been spent 
in Scandinavia, he has also studied in Germany, Austria, 
Hungary, Holland and Italy, studying nearly two years 
in Rome. 

But while improving these opportunities his main 
inspiration has been nature herself in all her living 
forms, which he sees as manifestations of that divine 
love and power in which all things have their origin. 

He does not follow the Art of the Old Masters nor 
of the newer schools, but believes in keeping away from 
the beaten track, in freeing himself from tradition and 
conventionality, working out his own thought in his own 
way. At the same time being very tolerant for all those 
who work on different lines from his own, only feeling 
that Art once produced cannot be imitated. He says 
"Copying would fill the world with useless things." 

For many years Einar Jonsson has exhibited his 
works in Europe (not trying to sell or profit by them). 

32 



THORFINN KARLSEFXI 

He realizes how much his Art differs from European art, 
but hopes for the time (which must come) when friends 
and critics of Art will not be blinded by tradition but 
will see and realize that all true Art searches in different 
ways to express the same perfection. 

In the year 1915 it was planned to publish a Mono- 
graph with illustrations on the Art and Philosophy of 
Einar Jonsson. We hope the difficult times have only 
deferred its publication. 

In Iceland his countrymen have begun to build a 
Museum which is to contain the whole collection of his 
works past, present and future. In this collection he 
wishes the works known by numbers rather than names 
(as they formerly have), feeling that a name is insuffi- 
cient to express the content of the work, the harmony 
and mystic language of the lines, which must be left to 
the intelligence of the spectator to divine. 

Sincerely yours, 
Per E.D.B. Anna Jonsson. 

LIFE OF EINAR JONSSON. 

Written by himself. 

Of myself the most important thing to say is that I 
was born in 1874 here in Iceland, and from the time 
I began to think for myself I wanted nothing but to go 
my own ways, but a little later I saw also, that I must 
respect other people's ways ; for I realized that if I did 
not respect the ways of others, I would get no joy from 

33 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

my own. I saw then that these two things were neces- 
sary for an artist. 

Art has been my great chastener and the bitterest 
scourge which such an unruly nature as mine needed. 
To be one thing as a man and another as an artist, that 
I quickly realized was impossible, for then both the 
artist and his work would be false. To run away from 
my art would be possible, but to be different from it, 
so long as I am creating it, that I cannot imagine. 
Therefore, if I wish to create that which I love — that 
which is good in one way or another — then I see the 
necessity of reaching the same as a man. Unfortu- 
nately, it is hard for me and others to follow our ideals, 
but before we reach them we cannot attain to the 
heights of art. 

I wish that all may go their own ways, all find their 
own, each after his temperament. I go mine, and reap 
praise and blame, but I take both with equanimity. 
Money I do not reap, but so long as I can get fourteen 
kroner a month to pay for my little room, I am happy, 
and no one is likely to die of starvation in our somewhat 
chilly but glorious Iceland. 

The State of Iceland has granted me a little sum 
of money to have my things moved home — all the works 
that I have made in the course of time. At present they 
are all hidden away in Copenhagen, but I cannot afford 
to pay storage on them any longer. All that is not sold 
becomes the property of the State of Iceland on the 

34 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

condition that my countrymen provide a museum. Here 
comes the difficulty, however; there is no building, and 
it may be a year or perhaps ten years before one can be 
erected. It is not easy to be an artist in a poor country, 
which has really not the money to build a museum. Yet 
I am glad that my works are to be taken home, even if 
they must have their modest abode for a time in the 
cases in which they are packed. I should, of course, be 
pleased to have some of my works sold abroad, not for 
the money, but because I wish others besides my coun- 
trymen to see them. It is because I go my own ways 
that I do not sell my works, and after my death Iceland 
will certainly not sell them. 

It is strange to see how artists are bound together 
in their activity. In my opinion, nothing is more dan- 
gerous to art than tradition. I have lived in Italy, 
Hungary, Austria, Bavaria, Germany, England and 
Denmark, and have seen various art collections in these 
countries. Always I have seen the same, the ghastly 
tradition and routine which rules them all, and which 
spreads like a death-bringing slime over all young art. 
Only those — or almost only those — who follow the 
beaten tracks receive authorization. Only what is 
known before is bought, and against that there is nothing 
to say, for people want only what they can en j oy — that 
is, what they know before — the old ideals, and usually 
even the old ideals in old forms. Moreover, if an artist 
becomes fashionable — and I know of nothing worse — 

95 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

he will have a flock of pupils and imitators. Rodin, 
for example, is worthy of all honor, but look at all the 
imitators of him that have shot up like mushrooms. 
Schools of art are impossible, and there ought not to 
exist forerunner or follower in art. For it should come 
from within, and not entirely from without. It should 
be an expression of the personality itself. Yet I repeat 
that I respect all sincere art, even when it is founded 
on tradition. 

FAIRMOUNT PARK ART ASSOCIATION 

Office of the President — 510 Ludlow St. 

Philadelphia, December 22, 1920. 

J. Bunford Samuel, 
1609 Spruce St., 
Philadelphia. 

Dear Mr. Samuel: 

At the stated meeting of the Trustees of the Fair- 
mount Park Art Association, held on the 10th instant, 
a minute was adopted, that I now have the privilege of 
transmitting to you. 

MINUTE. 

"The President stated that the dedication of the 
Statue of Thorfinn Karlsefni, erected in Fairmount 
Park, the gift of J. Bunford Samuel, Esq., a member 
of this Association, had taken place on November 20th 
last, the ceremonies participated in by the Commissioners 

36 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

of Fairmount Park represented by President Stotesbury, 
with other members of that body, the officers and mem- 
bers of this Association, as also a notable delegation of 
Scandinavian authorities from New York and elsewhere. 

Mr. Samuel in person presented the statue to the 
city of Philadelphia through the agency of this Associa- 
tion and the Commissioners of Fairmount Park. 

The Board desires to recognize at this time the very 
generous act of Mr. Samuel in thus anticipating its re- 
ceipt of the trust from the estate of his wife, the late 
Ellen Phillips Samuel, and to assure him that all of our 
citizens fully appreciate this noble addition to the attrac- 
tions of the Park, to be associated for all time with his 
honored name. 

The Board further notes the hospitality extended by 
Mr. Samuel to friends and visitors on this occasion, an 
action tending to support the reputaton Philadelphia 
has earned in the past, which it is hoped the example thus 
shown may be an incentive for others to follow." 

With cordial regards, believe me, 

Very sincerely yours, 

Charles J. Cohen, 

President. 

Reply to above letter. 

Dear Mr. Cohen : 

I am in receipt of the copy of the Minutes adopted 
by the Fairmount Park Art Association on the 1st of 

37 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

December and feel very gratified that the Statue of 
Thorfinn Karlsefni was so acceptable to your Associa- 
tion. It has afforded me an education in Statuary that 
I never could have acquired without application to 
the subject. I am, 

Yours sincerely, 

J. Bunford Samuel. 

THE NORSE DISCOVERERS OF AMERICA: 
THE WINELAND SAGAS. 

Translated and discussed by 
G.M. Gathorne-Hardy, F.R.G.S. 

Since Nansen's slashing attempt, in 1911, to rob the 
Vinland sagas of their historical reliability, four im- 
portant works on the Norse voyages have appeared, 
none of which have shown any disposition to accept his 
chief contentions. These works are by Hovgaard 
(1914), Fossum (1918), Steensby (1918), and the 
volume under consideration. Only one of these investi- 
gators (Steensby, of Denmark) agrees with the Scandi- 
navian scholars Storm and Jonsson that the Saga of 
Erik the Red is a more reliable record than the so-called 
Greenland narrative of the Flat Island Book. Fossum 
and Gathorne-Hardy believe with Hovgaard that "both 
accounts may probably be considered as essen- 
tially historic and essentially of equal value." It must 
be admitted that these three open-minded investigators, 
without any pretensions to expertness in textual criti- 

38 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

cism, and relying largely on common sense, the contents 
of the sagas, and detailed knowledge concerning the 
north Atlantic lands and coast-lines, give the philolo- 
gists a hard run ; while Nansen, with a wealth of research 
in a dozen fields of learning involved in the Vinland 
controversy, is definitely vanquished. Gathorne-Hardy 
deftly contends, in his common-sense way, that "the 
successful colonization of Greenland is an historical fact, 
and its story is chronicled in precisely those sagas which 
are here under consideration with regard to Wineland." 
This general refutation is followed up by a detailed and 
comprehensive investigation, presented in such an emi- 
nently fair and reasonable spirit, that the critical reader 
is led to believe that the final verdict on the vexed ques- 
tions of this controversy, where specialized knowledge 
in so many fields has been invoked, will be given 
by laymen. 

So far as the essential historicity of the Vinland 
sagas is concerned, Mr. Gathorne-Hardy, erudite in 
Old Norse historical lore, and with ample geographical 
knowledge, makes a distinctive contribution by piecing 
and dovetailing the two discordant sagas into one har- 
monious story — seemingly a hazardous process from the 
standpoint of the average scholar, but the result is effec- 
tive and convincing. Nothing is lost to the header, how- 
ever, as the eliminated parts are gathered in an appendix, 
following the reconstructed story. Professor Hovgaard 
seems to have first suggested this dovetailing process, 

39 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

but Mr. Gathorne-Hardy has executed it without any 
suggestion from his predecesor. 

Though the four authors cited above agree in being 
convinced of the historical accuracy of the Vinland 
sagas in their main features, they come to pronounced 
disagreement on the question of the landfall of the 
voyagers. Steensby (a professor of geography in the 
University of Copenhagen) and Fossum (an American 
philologist) both contend for the lands on either side 
of the estuary of the St. Lawrence River, making 
very plausible arguments; while both Hovgaard and 
Gathorne-Hardy place the most southerly points reached 
within the boundaries of the United States, the former 
placing the ultimate point in Rhode Island, while the 
latter pushes on to the western end of Long Island and 
the mouth of the Hudson River. 

This disagreement seems to indicate that the problem 
of establishing a landfall is unsolved and unsolvable. 
And Gathorne-Hardy, despite the detailed presentation 
of his argument, concedes in his introduction that "the 
geographical details can probably never be settled with 
absolute finality/ * 

Apart from the question of the landfall, the volume 
in hand is a readable and convincing book on the actu- 
alities of the Vinland voyages. It has both an adequate 
bibliography and an excellent index. 

Julius E. Olson. 



40 



DEDICATION OF STATUE OF 
THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

The ceremony took place at 3 P.M. 

Mb. J. Bunford Samuel: The President and 
members of the Fairmount Park Commissioners and 
Mr. Charles J. Cohen, President of Fairmount Park 
Art Association and Ladies and Gentlemen : 

The romance concerning the adventures of Thorfinn 
Karlsefni is thrilling. Historians say but little about 
him, with the exception of Fiske, who admits there was 
such a person as Thorfinn, and after reviewing his 
voyage to Vineland in 1007, says, "Taking the narrative 
as a whole, it seems to me a sober, straightforward and 
eminently probable story." Yet later on he says, "It is 
in the highest degree probable that Leif Ericsson and his 
friends made a few voyages to what we know to have been 
the coast of America, but it is an abuse of language to 
say that they discovered America." It seems to be a 
greater abuse of language to say that the story was em- 
inently probable and then add that it is an abuse of lan- 
guage about the discovery. 

The motive of my erecting the statue of Thorfinn 
Karlsefni, the Icelandic explorer, was two- fold: — 

First, to start as it were, in addition to the bequest 
made by my late wife, Ellen Phillips Samuel, who left 
a fund for the erection of Statuary and Fountains in the 

41 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

Park, through the agency of the Fairmount Park Art 
Association; and, 

Secondly, to see whilst I live, how the first statue 
would look placed in the situation selected by my wife 
for the first eighteen statues. 

In selecting Thorfinn, I only did so after three years 
of research work here and abroad to find out who came 
nearest to the ideal, and facts seem to have borne me out 
in my choice. 

I was fortunate in securing the Icelandic sculptor, 
Einar Jonsson, to model the statue, and think his con- 
ception and dressing of the statue is very ably and artis- 
tically done. 

I believe in environment, especially in representing 
an Icelander by an Icelander. The natives of all coun- 
tries have their peculiarities, which sculptors living out 
of the country cannot faithfully reproduce. 

The motto on the shield reads : — 

"From the Island of the North, of the ice and of the 
fire, of the flower covered villages and the blue moun- 
tains, the ever radiant sun, and the dimness of the dream, 
one of the houses of the Goddess of the Northern light." 

It may not be amiss to state that the wife of Thorfinn, 
named Gudrid, assisted him by her fortitude whilst so- 
journing in the wilderness. 

I wish to thank the Commissioners of Fairmount 
Park for their courtesy in fitting up a studio in one of 

42 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

the Park buildings for the sculptor, and in placing the 
foundation for the pedestal. 

As the statue at the time it came from the foun- 
dry was formally accepted by the Fairmount Park 
Commissioners, I trust the Fairmount Park Art Associ- 
ation will follow in my footsteps when they receive the 
Samuel bequest and maintain the high level of art in the 
erection of the seventeen statues to follow. ( Applause ) 

Mb. Cohen: Mr. Samuel, Members of the Fair- 
mount Park Art Association and Guests : It is a privi- 
lege to greet you in Philadelphia, and we are appreciative 
of your presence on this auspicious occasion. 

On behalf of the Commissioners of Fairmount Park, 
the City of Philadelphia, and the Fairmount Park Art 
Association, in accepting this munificent gift from Mr. 
J. Bunf ord Samuel, it is desired to acknowledge the gen- 
erosity of the donor in thus himself beginning the work 
of erecting the memorial not only by his addition to the 
funds available but with the corresponding saving of 
time, as well as the service he has rendered by his initia- 
tive with his advice and counsel in determining the 
character of the memorial and of the actual completion 
of this noble statue. 

Mr. Samuel's wife, the late Ellen Phillips Samuel, 
was a niece of the Honorable Henry M. Phillips, well 
remembered as one of the most public spirited men of his 
generation occupying many positions of honor and trust 
in our community. 

43 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

Mrs. Samuel had shown a deep interest in the wel- 
fare of the Fairmount Park Art Association and the 
project which she had so much at heart was shared 
by Mr. Samuel, and owes much to his sympathetic and 
cordial cooperation. 

This representation of the Icelandic explorer is the 
initial figure, to be followed by the erection of seventeen 
of similar proportions, all to be emblematic of the history 
of America and to stand one hundred feet apart, thus 
making a splendid adornment to our Park. And then, 
for future generations the income from this endowment 
of over a half million dollars will be available for the 
erection of fountains and other works of Art, thus beauti- 
fying this public domain, with which for all time will be 
associated the names of the generous donors, Mr. and 
Mrs. J. Bunford Samuel. (Applause) 

I now have the privilege of presenting to you Dr. 
Leach, who represents the American-Scandinavian 
Foundation in this country. 

Dr. Leach: Mr. President, Mr. Samuel, Ladies 
and Gentlemen : I don't know why I have been chosen 
to represent the delegation which has just come over 
from New York, because I am the junior member of the 
whole party. We have with us today the Honorable 
George Bech, Consul General from Denmark and Ice- 
land. We have Dr. Haider Hermannson, of Cornell 
University, the greatest Icelandic authority in this coun- 
try. We have also the Editor of the leading Norwegian 

44 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

paper in America, the Editor of the leading Swedish 
paper, and the Editor of the leading Danish paper. 
We also have a representative from Princeton Univer- 
sity, Mr. Malone, who has just returned from a visit 
to Iceland. 

We are here today, ladies and gentlemen, in the 
presence of what may be called an historical event. We 
are not here to honor Columbus, or Amerigo Vespucci, 
or Leif Ericsson, but we are here to do honor to an almost 
forgotten pioneer, the first pioneer to attempt to plant a 
colony on the mainland of America. 

Statues have been erected before to these other 
gentlemen ; even Leif Ericsson has a statue to his memory 
in a prominent place in the City of Boston. It was the 
voyage of Leif Ericsson to our shores which aroused the 
interest of the Scandinavian colonists in Iceland and 
Greenland to come to this Vineland of the sagas which 
Leif Ericsson has described to them. 

About the year 1002 Thorfinn Karlsefni came over 
from Iceland, a member of an old Icelandic family, and 
married a sister of Leif Ericsson; and he was the most 
serious of those who in those early days of the eleventh 
century set out from the shores of Greenland, to seek 
that more fertile land, which their fellow countrymen 
had described to them. 

Three winters, according to the sagas, he spent here 
somewhere in North America. No man can point out 
with exactitude the place where he planted his colonies. 

45 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

Only this last summer, a great Danish geographer, Pro- 
fessor Steensby, came over here and, on foot, went down 
the Coast of Labrador and along the north and south 
shores of the St. Lawrence River, and thought that he 
at last, like others before him, had found where Leif 
Ericsson and his three ships and one hundred and sixty 
associates spent those three winters. Will it ever be 
possible, by finding a stone or the foundation of a house, 
to point out with precision just where on our shores these 
colonies were planted? 

It is, indeed, a curious coincidence that a stone found 
near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, at the end of the 18th 
century, and interpreted in various ways, has in one 
interpretation been designated as a runic inscription 
made by a member of Thorfinn Karlsef ni's expedition ; 
and this interpretation was made by no other than an 
American scholar, Henry Phillips, Jr., a brother-in-law 
of the generous donor of this memorial, a distinguished 
citizen of your city, Mr. J. Bunford Samuel. 

This little expedition of Thorfinn's spent three 
winters here. They encountered the usual vicissitudes 
of the early colonists. They had hunger to compete 
with, they were troubled with the cold, but one of the 
most serious difficulties was the natives, the Skraelings, 
as they called the Indians or Esquimau, whoever they 
may have been. These strange people were chased off, 
in one of their attacks, by a woman. The natives had 
never seen a European woman before, and she seemed 

46 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

very terrible to them. In this new world a son was born 
to Thorfinn, named Snorri, probably the first white child 
to be born in the new world. For three years they tried 
it out, then they had to give it up, and they went back 
again to Ericsfjord in Greenland, to the Scandinavian 
colony there. 

Thorfinn, whom you see here nobly represented in 
this statue, was a representative, a dauntless member of 
that intrepid race of Northmen who re-peopled England 
and gave to Normandy and to the world the highest type 
of administrative race of the Middle Ages. He was a 
member of the republic of Iceland or, more closely de- 
fined, a citizen of the Free Law Courts of Iceland and 
Greenland, and it is very fitting that his likeness should 
be interpreted in bronze by his fellow countryman, the 
greatest living Icelandic sculptor of our day, Einar 
Jonsson ; and I am persuaded that this City of Philadel- 
phia and this glorious park of yours, as well as the mem- 
ory of Thorfinn Karlsefni, are honored by this great, 
and virile, and imaginative example of modern Ice- 
landic art. (Applause) 

Mr. Cohen : I now have the privilege of presenting 
to you Dr. Haider Hermannson, Professor of Scandi- 
navian languages in Cornell University. 

Dr. Hermannson: Ladies and gentlemen: It is a 
great pleasure to me, and great honor, to represent my 
native land on a memorable occasion like this, when the 
statue of an Icelander by an Icelander is dedicated on a 

47 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

foreign soil. I think the selection of this man, Thorfinn 
Karlsefni, is particularly fortunate. He is, more than 
any other, worthy to be commemorated by monument. 

You see him before you there in armor, but he was 
not one of those men of his day who made war his busi- 
ness. He was an enterprising merchant, a laborious 
farmer and experienced sailor, and a courageous ex- 
plorer of unknown lands. It may not be exactly fitting 
to represent him in armor, because he only put on armor 
when he had to defend his life, or his family or friends, 
or else his liberty and his lands. 

He was a representative type of man who made a 
settlement of Iceland possible, and it is upon the kind 
of man that he was that the future of the new Icelandic 
State depends. It has been doubted very frequently, 
but most pepole who have read history have come to the 
conclusion that it was a historical fact. I, myself am 
absolutely convinced that he actually came to this coun- 
try, and since he was the first of his countrymen to reside 
in this land, he might well serve as a model for those of 
his countrymen who have come later so that they, like he, 
may devote themselves to peaceful occupations and only 
when the occasion arises and they are compelled to, they 
may shoulder the gun and defend their liberty and the 
land of their choice. 

I am not going to deliver a long speech here to you. 
I am merely going to express my gratitude and that of 
my countrymen to those who have erected this statue, 

48 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

and above all, to the generous donor of it, and the Fair- 
mount Park Art Association of Philadelphia, who have 
given it a place in this beautiful park here. It will 
remind future generations of Thorfinn and of his nativ- 
ity, and I trust that this statue and the memories which 
are connected with it will form in the future a bond of 
sympathy and friendship between the small and the 
great, between one of the greatest nations on earth and 
one of the smallest, between America and Iceland ; and 
that it may also be a reminder of the accomplishments 
of small nations and of their contributions to civilization, 
and may cause the strong and powerful to protect the 
rights of the weak and small. 

In conclusion, allow me to express my thanks for the 
courtesy shown Iceland by the erection of this monu- 
ment, but also for the interest which the government of 
the American people has shown the Icelandic people 
during this last year of difficulties and trouble, and allow 
me to convey the heartiest greetings from the Icelandic 
people to the American nation. (Applause) 

Mr. Cohen: The ceremonies are now concluded 
and, on behalf of Mi*. Samuel, you are invited to come 
inside the club house. 

ADJOURNMENT 



49 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

The following are extracts from letters recently received 
regarding the inscription on the Fletcher Stone — 

Donneybrook, Dublin Co. 
25 February 1922. 

Dear Sir: 

I have received your letter of the 10th inst. and care- 
fully studied the enclosure, which I return. Whatever 
the Yarmouth inscription may be, it is certainly not any 
form of Celtic. 

Nor do I believe that it is Runic, some of the letters 
have a superficial resemblance to Runic letters, and 
indeed there are characters resembling Greek and old 
Semetic letters among them. This, however, I feel is 
purely accidental. 

As to the interpretation suggested in the accompany- 
ing paper. In the first place "Haki's Son Addressed 
The Men" does not seem at first sight a very probable 
thing for any one to write on a stone. In the second 
place, there are more letters in the transcript than there 
are in the Inscription. In the third place, no Rune 
writer would perpetrate a sentence so full of grammati- 
cal errors. Haco's Son Addressed — rather Warned 
The Men would be written. 

If the Yarmouth inscription be not a modern scribble 
by some illiterate person, and it looks preciously like 
H'y Williams, as it would be distorted by someone work- 

50 



THORFINX KARLSEFNI 

ing on an unaccustomed material, it must be some pro- 
duction of Indians, like the rock scribings collected by 
Garrick M alley in the Publications of the Bureau of 
Ethnology 1888-89. 

It cannot I feel sure be taken as an ancient Euro- 
pean record. 

Very faithfully yours, 

R.A.S. Macalister, F. -S. "A - 



Smithsonian Institution 
March 13, 1922. 

Dear Sir: 

I have your letter of March 11th enclosing a brief 
article on supposed Runic Inscriptions, and asking my 
view regarding them, and in reply I beg to quote from 
the report of Dr. I.M. Casanowicz, Curator of Old 
World Archeology in the United States National Mu- 
seum to whom the matter was referred, as follows : 

"The signs of the Nova Scotia stone have no equa- 
tions in any of the Runic Alphabets — Nordic, Gothic or 
Anglo-Saxon, nor can they by any stretch of the imagi- 
nation be made out to be Semetic characters." 

As to whether they are of Indian orgin, I can really 
say nothing save that, since we know of no other occupa- 
tion of the region than Indian, they probably are 
their work. 

51 



l ^**' | 'wy^»*iwiiw>>y^hw^« < ^H<»*#ii ■» ■■*** * *" *■" 



THORFINN KARLSEFNI 

They are, however, not like any characters known 
to have been used by the Indians, in fact they may. 
not have been characters at all, in the sense of signifi- 
cant inscriptions. 

Sincerely yours, 
W. H. Holmes, 
Director. 



52 



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