Sample collection on women migrants at the Akureyri Museum below
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Collection: Ljósmyndasafn Arthur Gook | Arthur Gook Photograph Collection (Iceland, England: 1905–1955)
Description: Florence Ethel Gook (1883–1948, née Palmer) moved from England to Akureyri, Iceland, in c. 1907 to join her husband Arthur Charles Gook (1883–1959), who was a missionary for the Plymouth Brethren Movement. Florence was a trained homeopath and missionary, educated at the Missionary School of Homeopathy in London. Arthur Gook was also a homeopath and an enthusiastic amateur photographer who installed a darkroom at their home in Akureyri and took a particular interest in everyday scenes. His early photographs from 1905–1919 show Florence’s life in Akureyri with Arthur and their children. The town had a population of only around 2,000 at the time, and most other foreign-born women were from Scandinavia and did not speak English. The Gooks hired an English servant, Kate Bargent (b. 1877), who lived with the family for many years, but Florence made the decision to leave Iceland in 1919 for their children’s schooling. She returned only for two brief summer visits, passing away on her second trip in 1948. Their adult daughter Irene (1909–2011) moved to Iceland to support her father after her mother’s death. She was a professional nurse and midwife and decided to stay in Iceland even after her father remarried and left the country in 1955. She eventually settled permanently in Iceland, where she had a long and successful career. Irene, who lived to be 102, donated her family’s photographs to the Akureyri Museum and described the photograph collection and her family’s migration story in two interviews in 2005.
Archive address: Aðalstræti 58, 600 Akureyri, Iceland
Reference number: Gook-162, Gook-330, Gook-394, Gook-371, Gook-439, Gook-711
Contributor: Katelin Parsons