[Nuuk, Greenland: Hinrich Rink, 1862-1946, lacking the years 1884-91, 1894-95, 1901-03]. Eighty-five volumes. Replete with illustrations, many in color. Some issues loose. First volume in original limp patterned cloth. Second volume in cloth-backed printed boards, spine repaired. Third volume in cloth-backed boards, spine worn. Fourth volume with lower half of spine and titlepage lacking. Of the remaining volumes, sixteen are in cloth-backed boards and sixty-five are in original wrappers, spines generally worn. Second volume with contemporary manuscript index, possibly by Møller. Overall very good. Item #WRCAM32051
A tremendous run of this landmark Greenland newspaper, equally celebrated for its remarkable quality, range of content, and longevity. The fourth volume of the this set is enhanced by a presentation inscription from Lars Møller, the longtime editor and noted native lithographer, to Hinrich Rink, proprietor of Greenland's first regular press and founder of the paper. Further, the plates in the fourth volume have been hand-colored, presumably by Møller in Rink's honor. ATUAGAGDLIUTT, translated literally as "distributed reading matter," stands alone when evaluating the impact of a single printed periodical on a native culture. The catholic editorial taste of Berthelsen and Møller not only brought the world's great literature to the doors of native Greenlanders, but did so in a manner that accomplished dual milestones in Greenlandic cultural history. First, by printing entirely in the native language, they transmitted the worldly canon, much of it for the first time, in a manner readily understandable by their readership. This resulted in a near instant removal of substantive cultural gaps between Greenland and Europe. Second, foreign epics and tales were often set alongside traditional native legends, equating their value with those of the outside world. In result, the success of ATUAGAGDLIUTT was a point of national pride. Avidly consumed by its readership, its pages were shared, clipped, and culled to the point of near extinction. To date, five (at most) complete runs exist, entirely in public institutions in Denmark and Greenland. One additional set resides in private hands. Only nine institutions in the United States possess comparable runs, to varying degrees of completeness. The founders of ATUAGAGDLIUTT include some of the most prominent men in the history of Greenlandic printing. The prime mover behind its creation, Hinrich Rink, first came to Greenland from Denmark in 1848, quickly rising to the position of royal inspector for South Greenland. In 1855 he began printing small pamphlets from a late 18th- century press left behind by Greenland's "first" printer, Jesper Brodersen, whose total known output is one small pamphlet done in 1793. In 1857 he installed a new press imported from Copenhagen, in effect becoming Greenland's first regular printer. Rink was soon joined by Rasmus Berthelsen, a native Greenlander who proved a quick study talented enough to become the paper's first editor when it was launched in 1861. Apprenticed to Berthelsen was Lars Møller, the son of a carpenter who, under the tutelage of Berthelsen and Rink, learned nearly every facet of the printing trade, including lithography. It was Møller who printed the ATUAGAGDLIUTT from its earliest days, and he was responsible for a majority of the numerous lithographs. Accomplished as he was, the success of Møller's lithographs was due entirely to the instinctual talent of the original artist, the legendary Aron of Kangeq. While bedridden with tuberculosis, Aron received a visit from Rink, who had heard of Aron's considerable talent from other natives. According to Oldendow, "Rink...sent him paper, coloured pencils, and the necessary tools for woodcutting and with no instruction what so ever Aron produced over two hundred woodcuts and watercolors." His ability to illustrate both foreign and native legend alike secured his reputation, and his contributions were an invaluable addition to the paper. Berthelsen continued as editor for twelve years until 1874, when Møller succeeded him. The combined talents of the paper's staff notwithstanding, success, let alone survival, was far from assured. Working in the forbidding Greenland climate, Rink and his assistants were faced with numerous shortages and hurdles that make their considerable accomplishment all the more remarkable. Ink was often wanting, substituted frequently with a homemade variety made from boiling varnish and soot. Paper needed to be moistened to accept the ink, but often it would freeze before it could be put to use. Most serious of all was the large language barrier between Møller and Rink which, fortunately, was overcome thanks to Møller's diligent study and a well-timed training trip to Denmark. Despite disadvantageous circumstances, the small crew was determined, and when they found themselves without, they improvised. This steadfast dedication was due, above all, to Rink's abounding love of his adopted home and its people. From the moment of his arrival, Rink sought to learn as much as possible about native culture. He undertook countless overland and boat journeys throughout the land, staying with local families whenever possible. He began to develop an idea of what a Greenland periodical could be, and tried to convey this notion in the advertising leaflets he issued prior to publication. When publication began in January 1861, it was clear Rink had imbued the young Berthelsen with the same enthusiasm, and after Møller assumed editorship, this cultural fervor erupted. Year after year the newspaper contained "innumerable articles written both by and for Greenlanders - on hunting conditions and famous lives, on public events and memorable occasions at home and abroad, novels and stories translated into Greenlandic, legends, articles, official decrees..." (Oldendow). Equally important was how Møller stretched the language to fit his needs. When a foreign object or idea lacked a Greenlandic equivalent, Møller invented one. The cultural consequences of the publication of ATUAGAGDLIUTT are extreme, as its longevity attests. That this venture, unique among indigenous cultures, took root in a North American language is significant and offers ample opportunity for comparison to other frontier native language presses, such as those at Park Hill and Harbor Springs. What is immediately clear is that ATUAGAGDLIUTT brought world and native culture to life in vivid detail, free of religious constraints and with no overt didactic purpose. This circumstance alone makes ATUAGAGDLIUTT a North American language production of the greatest interest. "The results were slow in coming, but come they did, and ATUAGAGDLIUTT's finest achievement would seem to be that quietly and gradually it caused the Greenlanders to grow as a people; it welded them together into a whole, until little by little they learned to notice things outside their immediate daily life and the narrow boundaries of their isolated land. Throughout its many years of publication it helped the Greenlanders to develop from an Esquimo community into a people" - Oldendow. Knud Oldendow, THE SPREAD OF PRINTING. WESTERN HEMISPHERE. GREENLAND (Amsterdam: Vangendt & Co., 1969), pp.46-57, passim.