A Biography of an Icelandic “Eskimo” Published in the US Skip to content

A Biography of an Icelandic “Eskimo” Published in the US

Historian Inga Dóra Björnsdóttir’s biography of the Icelander Ólöf Sölvadóttir: Ólöf the Eskimo Lady: A Biography of an Icelandic Dwarf in America has been released in English in the US. Sölvadóttir led an extraordinary life.

She was born at the farm Ytri-Löngumýri in Blöndudalur valley in north Iceland in 1858. At 18 she moved to America and shortly after arriving there, the unusually small woman joined a traveling circus.

Later she pretended to be an Inuit and told people about her imaginary life in Greenland—a country she had never even visited.

Sölvadóttir became famous as the “Eskimo” Olof Krarer and traveled widely around the US telling people her made-up story. She managed to maintain her cover for almost three decades, during which she held around 2,500 lectures.

Björnsdóttir’s biography of Ólöf “the Eskimo” was nominated for the Icelandic Literature Award in 2004.

Last year Björnsdóttir published another biography in Iceland, about Ása G. Wright, an Icelandic woman (born in 1892) who ran a guesthouse in Trinidad.

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