Thursday, July 10, 2014

A New Name for Dr. Zamenhof

Europeans in D.C.
Alert the media!
If you know some Esperanto, the first line of this article from the July 10, 1910 Washington Times is comically bad. The article is one of the many in the Washington press as the sixth Universala Kongreso neared.

You can skip this paragraph if you've been reading my blog: The sixth World Esperanto Congress was held in Washington, D.C. This was the first time that the congress met outside Europe. The Esperanto movement had high hopes for the success of the meeting.

Its headline "Europeans Coming to Visit Capital," hardly seems worth mentioning. Surely, even in 1910, Washington D.C. must have had something to attract the attention of foreign visitors. The National Museum of Natural History had just opened its new building. The Smithsonian Institution was there as well. Certainly, the World Congress had tourism plans for the area.
Europeans Coming to Visit Capital
Founder of Esperanto Among Those Who Will Attend Congress in August

Geedzinog Zamenhof, founder of Esperanto, and several other prominent Europeans, have engaged passage to America to attend the sixth International Esperanto Congress in Washington August 14 to 20, according to a latter received today by Edwin Reed, general secretary of the American Esperanto Association, with headquarters at the Chamber of Commerce.
Who's this "Geedzinog Zamenhof" guy? It means they were both coming, Ludovic and Klara. "Geedzinog" is an error for the oddly placed "geedzinoj" (pronounce it geh - ed - ZEEN - oy), which means "spouses." The might have said "gesinjoroj Zamenhof," which is "Mr. and Mrs. Zamenhof" in Esperanto. Except, Klara Zamehof didn't create Esperanto, so they should have written just Ludovic or Ludwig.

Also, the organization was named the Esperanto Association of North America, so they got that name wrong too.
Annie Lawrence, secretary to William Stead, of London, England, wrote the letter to Mr. Reed, giving him a partial list of the delates who are coming from Europe and have engaged passage on the George Washington of the Nord Deutches Lloyd line.

Among the distinguished delegates who are coming to the conger in Washington are Prof. Avilov, of Kars Kaukazo, Russia; Colonel Pollen, Mr. Sharpe, and Mr. Mann, all known as great students of Esperanto.

Mr. Reed is receiving letters daily from all over the world, indicating a great interest in the coming convention, which, it is expected, will mark an important epoch in the history of Esperanto.
And, once again, what happened? Despite the claims of great interest, the conference was very small, despite that there had been substantial national conventions in the United States.

Reed must have given the reporter a look at the list people, but didn't translate Ms. Lawrence's "geedzinoj Zamenhof."

Update: There had been an American Esperanto Association from 1905 to 1909, so perhaps the writer wasn't aware that the Esperanto movement had been reorganized with new name and new leadership.

Update 2: The Washington Herald, Washington Post and Evening Star all repeated the "Geedzinog Zamenhof" error on July 11, 1910.
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