Foundation Supports Preservation of Esperanto’s Past

Two recent gifts by the Esperantic Studies Foundation (ESF) will help preserve the history of Esperanto societies in North America and assist in building library collections on Esperanto and related fields.

Under the leadership of Special Collections Director Robert Cox, the Du Bois Library at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has recently undertaken an effort, with the assistance of the Foundation, to seek out archives of past and present local Esperanto societies, historical correspondence among Esperanto speakers, and printed ephemera shedding light on the history of Esperanto in the United States. The international language Esperanto, launched and popularized by Lazar Ludwik Zamenhof in 1887, has a history of use in the United States and Canada of well over a hundred years. It is receiving increasing attention from scholars of American social history and the history of linguistics.

The Firestone Library at Princeton University, where several members of the faculty are engaged in teaching and research on Esperanto, efforts are underway to acquire new materials, especially printed books that can be made available to scholars in the field. The hope is that in due course Firestone, building on its already extensive collections, will become one of the leading North American libraries in the field of planned language.

“The Foundation is glad to assist in this effort,” commented Charles O. Mays, ESF executive director. “We want scholars to have easier access to research materials, and we also want to make sure that the early history of Esperanto in North America is not lost.”

The North-American-based Esperantic Studies Foundation supports scholarship, teaching, and research in all aspects of planned languages and in modes of communication across languages.

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