Iceland | Prairie Public Broadcasting


Richard Beck

Mar 23, 2020


Richard Beck was a teacher, scholar, writer, poet, and honorary North Dakotan. Beck was born on June 9, 1897, in Iceland. Unfortunately, his father passed away in 1907 when Richard was only ten, leaving his mother to raise him. He attended school in Reykjavik and graduated high school in 1920. He married that same year on October 10 to Olöf Daníelsdóttir. Their life together proved tragically short when around this date in 1921 his bride died.

One of the nice things about North Dakota is that you can drive three hours across the state to see a parade in a town of less than 100 population, and when you get there, you find people you know everywhere.

I’m talking about Mountain, North Dakota, site of the annual August the Deuce festival. We had just settled in alongside some old friends in one of the grandstands when here came Ashley Thornberg of Prairie Public radio, recounting her plot - eventually successful - to score an interview with the prime minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir. Her Excellency the prime minister, I confess, was the chief reason we had come to Mountain, but as usual with such expeditions, so many interesting things turned up.

The Deuce of August

Aug 2, 2018

In 1878 Pastor Páll Thorláksson set out from the Gimli settlement in Manitoba, Canada, to find a new location for an Icelandic settlement. He traveled with 20 men on a steamboat to Winnipeg and then on to Dakota in search of land in Pembina County. He would become known as “The Father of the Icelandic Settlement in Dakota.”