Friday, July 25, 2014

American Esperantists Plan 1921 Convention for Boston

Was it a close vote?
I'd make a bet that it's been a long time since the U.S. Esperanto congress attracted any press attention outside of the city where it was held (and the most recent one seems to have received none at all). The conventions in the first few decades of the Esperanto moment got a lot of press attention.

The Sun and New York Herald persisted in referring to Edward S. Payson as "Dr. Payson." Payton was neither Ph.D. nor M.D., but the president of Emerson Piano of Boston. Oddly enough, the trade press of the piano industry called him "Colonel Payson." Odd thing to call a Yankee.

As noted before, this was a meeting of about fifty people. I'm going to guess that the New York Times would probably ignore events with 500 people taking place over a weekend in Manhattan, although the Times did cover the convention in one small article, which adds that the president of the New York Esperanto Association was Miss Cora L. Butler, and that she gave the welcoming address.
Esperantists Hail Spread of Doctrine
Dr. Payson Reelected Leader at Closing Session

The Esperanto Association of North America closed its thirteenth annual congress with a concert given in the universal language last night at Genealogical Hall, 226 West Fifty-seventh street. The programme opened with the singing of “La Espero,” the hymn of the Esperantists. One of the most interesting numbers was a dialogue from “The Count of Monte Cristo,” translated into Esperanto and read by James F. Morton, Jr. and Mrs. Catherine M. Healey of this city.

Boston was selected as the meeting place of the Esperantists next year. Dr. Edward S. Payson of Boston was reelected president of the association. Other officers are Charles F. Bardorff of Montreal, vice president; G. Winthrop Lee of Boston, secretary; E. G. Merian of Boston, assistant secretary, and B. Pickman Mann of Washington, treasurer.

The eleven nationalities represented at the congress were enthusiastic over the spread of Esperanto, and declared that the exigencies of commerce and the increasingly close relations of all nations combine to make a universal language necessary. They say the simplicity of the language is described accurately by a humorous little song which was sung lat night by Willis Bowyer of Huddleston, England. This was the only number sung in English. The chorus follows:
Esperanto! Esperanto! You can buy it for a penny, you can learn it in a week.
Esperanto! Esperanto! And that’s the kind of language that we’re all a-going to speak.
The organization was headquartered in Boston, which probably accounts for why so many of its officers were Massachusetts residents. Payson was 78 at the time of his re-election. George Winthrop Lee was a 52-year-old library, living in Brookline, Massachusetts. While B. Pickman Mann may have been living in Washington, he was originally from Massachusetts. He was only slightly younger than Payson, being 71 years old in 1920.
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