Excerpt from Bibliography of the Icelandic Sagas and Minor Tales
Of the collections given by him to the University Library the Icelandic collection is much the largest. It is also the oldest and perhaps the richest in rare books and editions. Its forma tion was the work of a lifetime, for its beginning was made by Mr. Fiske when a student in the University of Upsala more than fifty years ago. Here he became imbued with a deep and abiding love for the old-icelandic language and literature, and took advantage of the favorable opportunity offered by his residence in Scandinavia to collect books in this field. Upon his return to America in 18 5 3, he became an assistant in the Astor Library, then just about to open its doors under the superintendence of that able and learned librarian J. G. Cogswell, from whom he received valuable training in bibliographical methods. At the same time he kept up his Icelandic studies and gradually added to his Icelandic collection A description of the collection was given in 1860 in Wynne's Private Libraries of New York, and it was then reputed to be the richest collection of Icelandic literature and history in the country. A later account of the collection is given by M. W. Plummer in the Bulletin of Bibliography for April, 1897; but the fullest description is that given by E. P. Evans in the Beilage zur Allgemeinen Zeitung, I3, 14 Sept. 1896. Since then it has been largely increased and now contains about nine thousand volumes.
Some idea of the completeness of the collection in its special field may be gained from the four numbers of Mr. Fiske's privately printed Bibliographical Notices which contain supplements to the British Museum Catalogue of Books printed in Iceland, and from the Bibliography of the Icelandic Sagas here printed. But a clearer conception of the scope and extent of the collection will perhaps be obtained from the following general description of it, given by Mr. Fiske himself in No. V. Of his Bibliographical Notices.
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