From the Book of Nations
Iceland's participation in the New York World's Fair reveals a story rich in historic and cultural importance. A story of an intrepid, independent people, who despite severe obstacles have succeeded in building a modern and progressive nation.
No effort has been spared in presenting a picture of ancient and modern Iceland. Dioramas, photographs, films, statuary and literature create a vivid impression of the periods described.
Located in the hall of nations, adjacent to the Federal building, its two entrances are guarded by imposing bronze statues of Leifr Eiriksson and Thorfinnur Karlsefni, commemorating their explorations on the American mainland.
Entering the building, the visitor finds the exhibit divided into three main sections, stressing the relationship between Iceland and the new world during the era of exploration and the theory that she will become an important factor in the aviation lanes of tomorrow. A huge animated map marks the past chosen by the Viking explorers and at the same time depicts the Lindbergh survey flight to Europe via Iceland.
The early years of exploration were equally outstanding in literature. Written in Icelandic rather than Latin, the tongue generally used when writing, the Sagas and Eddas rank among the greatest literary achievements. Detailed facsimiles, including the renowned Flatey books, are displayed in the midst of a setting characteristic of an old Icelandic dwelling. Parts of this room were transported from Iceland to ensure the utmost authenticity.
The establishment of parliament in 938 A.D., democratic in principle, was a further distinction. A diorama realistically presents for a strange and beautiful mountains and volcanic formations at Thingvellir, the parliamentary meeting place. Ulfljotr, a famous chieftain, it showed addressing the assembly at the time the constitution was adopted.
Inspired by her heritage, Iceland has succeeded in maintaining its high standard of education. Sections are devoted to education, social life and government displaying the facilities available to the average man for intellectual growth, and portrays the mode of existence in a typical community, bearing upon maintenance, homes, health and entertainment. Here we also see the organization and the part played by the ordinary individual in community government.
Iceland relies principally upon her fisheries and agriculture four livelihood. Dioramas illustrating the circumstances under which the products are cultivated prove them to be of superior quality. Beause of the sturdy nourishing northern vegetation, and ideal fishing conditions, Iceland's meats and fish are excellent in flavor and outbound in vitamins.
Iceland has attempted to set before visitors to the New York World's Fair the highlights of her history and present character. By participating in the World's Fair, her first participation in an international exposition, she trusts many of the misconceptions prevailing with regard to the country and its people will be dispelled, thus leading to a better understanding and closer relationship between the nations.
These four stamps were issued in 1939 to publicize the Fair. In 1940, the same stamps were issued with a 1940 overprint.
The stamps were submitted by Ólafur Mathiesen of Iceland. Original reference: Stamp Collecting Worldwide