Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mrs. Reed and the Unofficial French Delegates to Esperanto

That's "Dr. Reed" to you
In my previous post I wrote about the group of French Esperantists arriving in Washington, but due to the length of the article, I transcribed only about half of the it. The rest of the article has some interesting things, so now I’m returning to the August 12, 1910 Washington Herald.

Some of the article repeats the information that was widely reported elsewhere. The production of As You Like It in Esperanto was probably one of the most widely written about plays[1] ever to trod the boards (I mean seriously; the play was written about in newspapers all over the country for weeks). This was quite a triumph for the author. How many translations of plays out of English get national attention in the United States?

Here’s the remainder of the article:
Has Translated Play.
Principal among the delegates is Mrs. Edwin C. Reed, wife of Adjunct Secretary Reed. She speaks, read, and writes Esperanto with the ease and facility with which she does English. She has translated Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” into the artificial language for the use of the Hickman players, who will present the play next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday on the grounds of the Bristol School, at Mintwood place northwest.

Dr. L. L. Zamenhof, author of the language, arrived in New York yesterday from his home in Warsaw, Poland. Thirty other Esperanto delegates were on board. A large number of these delegates will arrive this afternoon and evening.

Principal among the arrivals last night at the headquarters was Dr. H. W. Yemans, who came from Fort Wayne, Detroit, where he is in the medical reserve corps of the army.

Formed in Philippines
He is vice president of the Esperanto Association of North America, which embraces all of the English-speaking Esperantists of the United States, Mexico, and Canada. He will preside at the congress during the absence of President John Barrett. Some years ago Dr. Yemans organized and was president of the Esperanto Association of the the Philippine Islands.

Official badges will be distributed to the delegates to-morrow, when the official registration will be opened. Green is the one and predominating color, which gives an unconscious tribute to the little isle washed by the Irish Sea.

The bronze emblem is suspend from a green ribbon, and green meridians are drawn on the miniature globe on the emblem, while topping all is a green five-pointed star. In addition, the stationary is printed in green ink, while the Esperanto translation of “As You Like It” is bound in solid green.

Twenty-one nations will be represented at the congress, with eight countries officially represented by delegates. These are Spain, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Italy. France is expected to send a delegate, an assurance to that effect having been given by the French government. The United States is also expected to designate some one as its official representative.
“Mrs. Edwin C. Reed” is better known to Esperanto speakers by her personal name, Ivy Kellerman Reed. Reed is known for her book A Complete Grammar of Esperanto. Instead of referring to her as “Mrs. Reed,” she would be more appropriately referred to as Dr. Reed, as Reed was a professional linguist. 1910 was a busy year for Dr. Reed, with four publications:
  • A Complete Grammar of Esperanto, the international language
  • The International Language
  • La reĝo de la Ora Rivero aŭ la nigraj fratoj[2]
  • Kiel plaĉas al vi; komedio en kvin aktoj[3]
Dr. Reed continued writing and translating for years, continuing to contribute to the Esperanto movement for decades. The Reeds were both 32 in 1910. Beyond his work in the Esperanto movement, Edwin Reed was a lawyer. The Reeds lived in Washington D.C., so they didn't have to travel to the convention.

Wait! Were there thirty Esperantists on the George Washington? The New-York Tribune reported only twenty-two Esperantists on the ship. Were there another eight?

104 years later, I don’t think governments are sending representatives to the Esperanto Congress when it isn’t in their country. The three French Esperantists were coming on their own, not as the representatives of the French government. With France and the United States, that would be ten countries represented by governments, not just their individual citizens.

  1. Okay, maybe the Robin Williams and Steve Martin production of Waiting for Godot.  ↩
  2. Translation of The King of the Golden River by John Ruskin  ↩
  3. Translation of As You Like It by William Shakespeare  ↩

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