Schuh’s Annotated Bio-Bibliography

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OLAFSYN, Ólafur.

(1741 – 1788)

(Born: 1741; Died: 1788) Danish customs official & naturalist.

Biographical references: Borgfirðingur, Stutt Rithöfundatal á Íslandi, 1884. Dansk Biografisk Haandleksikon: 2, ??. Dansk Biografisk Lexikon: 12, 393. LKG. Nyerup & Kraft, Almindeligt Litteraturlexicon, 1818-20. Páll, Islenzkar Æviskrár, 1948-76. Rasmussen, Geologiska Litteratur Færøerne, 1947. SBA: Scandinavian Biographical Archive: A-239, 280-292. WBI. Worm, Forsøg til et Lexicon over Danske, 1771-84.

1. Danish, 1780 [First edition].
Oeconomisk Reise igiennem de nordvestlige, nordlige, og nordostlige Kanter af Island. Tilligemed Ole Henckels Underretning om de Islandske Svovel-Miiner og Svovel-Raffinering samt Vice-Markscheider Christian Zieners Beskrivelse over nogle Surterbrands-Fielde i Island. 1. [-2.] Deel. Københaven., Trykt paa Gyldendals Forlag, 1780.

2 parts in one vol. 4°: [4], ccxx, 756, [26] p., 17 plates (6 folding).

Rare. Ólafur Olafsyn traveled through out Iceland in the summers of 1775-1777 under instructions to study harbors and landing sites in order to find places suitable to set up fishing settlements. Olavius wrote a book on his travels and research entitled Oeconomisk Reise igiennem Island, published in 1780. This economic survey concentrates on northern Iceland and contains detailed references to mining, mineral resources, shipping and fishing. Icelandic waters have always been extremely productive fishing grounds and have been fought over many times.

The book includes a new map of Iceland which was largely unchanged from the map contained in Eggert Ólafsson and Bjarni Pálsson's Reise igiennem Island (Sorøe, 1772), but was printed in a slightly different format and was something of an improvement. It was Jón Eiríksson who was mainly responsible for creating the map but he would have used Olavius' data. The coastline of the country is unchanged from the journal map but the treatment of the place names is vastly superior.

Bibliographical references: BL [456.a.4.]. Fiske: I, 445. LKG: XIV 37*.

2. German, 1787 [German transl.].
Olaus Olavius | Oekonomische Reise | Durch | Island | in | den Nordwestlichen, und Nord-Nordostlichen | Gegenden. | [tapered rule] | Auf Königl. Dänischen Befehl herausgegeben | und | durch nöthige Kupfer erläutert. | [ornament] | Aus dem Dänischen ins Deutsch übersetzt. | [rule] | Mit einer neuen Landcharte und 17 Kupfertafeln. | [ornate rule] | Dresden und Leipzig, | in der Breitkopfischen Buchhandlung. 1787.

4°: [2], 464 p., folded maps, plates (part folded).

Rare. Translation by J. Jasperson of Oekonomiske Reise igiennem de nordvestlige (Copenhagen, 1780).

Bibliographical references: Katalog Bergakademie Freiberg, 1879: p. 490 [IX. 1199.]. LKG: XIV 37**. Personal communication [Peter Kiefer, Pforzheim, supplied a title page image for transcription.].