Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Other Kellerman

Karl F. Kellerman
Biologist and Esperantist
In his day, Edwin C. Reed was probably the busiest person in the United States Esperanto movement. Sure, in their turns George Harvey and John Barrett were president (first and second) of the Esperanto Association of North America, but during their tenures, Mr. Reed was the general secretary, the person who actually took care of EANA business. Let’s face it, Mr. Harvey and Mr. Barrett were titular presidents, hampered by their actual lack of commitment to the Esperanto movement.

At the same time, Mr. Reed’s wife, Dr. Ivy Kellerman-Reed[1] was the editor of Amerika Esperantisto, taking over those duties from the magazine’s founder, Arthur Baker, and making it wholly a magazine of the EANA.[2] But the Evening Star made clear that there was a Kellerman at the head of the District Federation of Esperantists. But not a Kellerman-Reed.

The article in the February 19, 1911 Evening Star largely focused on Edwin C. Reed, but mentioned some of the other people there.

Address Delivered by E. C. Reed, and Official of the National Society.
The growth of Esperanto and its acceptability as a universal language were discussed by E. C. Reed, an official of the National Society of Esperantists,[3] at a public meeting held last night by the District Federation of Esperantists in the Pythian Temple. To the uninitiated[4] among the audience Mr. Reed explained the syntax, the word roots, prefixes and other necessary details to give an intelligent idea of Esperanto. His talk dwelt chiefly with the history of Esperanto, a discussion of its advantages over other invented languages of the past, and the remarkable growth it has had throughout Europe. As a medium of business communication between races that speak different languages, the speaker said it is destined to supersede English and French.[5]

Preceding Mr. Reed’s talk there was an elaborate literary and musical program, chiefly in Esperanto. The meeting closed with every one familiar with Esperanto singing the Esperantists’ hymn, “Espero.”[6]

The program also included an opening address by Karl F. Kellerman, president of the District federation; violin solo, French S. Hufty; a reading in Esperanto, Miss Susie I. Duffy; address, H. H. Barroll; piano selection, Peter H. Peters; Esperanto song, “Ci estas kiel floro,”[7] Miss A. C. D. Murray; humorous Esperanto selection, F. W. Vedder; extracts from “Kiel plaĉas al vi,”[8] Miss Harriet F. Stone; Esperanto song, “La plej dolĉa floro,”[9] Miss Catherine L. Grady; solo, “Mi amas vin,”[10] Miss Agnes A. Preston, and song, “Espero,” by the audience.
So the crowd was of at least ten people. Really, it would be wonderful if pieces like this one actually gave an estimate of the crowd. My guess is that many of the Washington Esperanto community was there, but the program was kept to just ten individuals. Happily, by that point the dispute over a theater party was long since over.

Comparing this article with that January 1910 article there are some differences. In 1910, the group is called the Esperanto Society of Washington, while in 1911, we have the District Federation of Esperantists. There were several Esperanto groups in D.C. at the time, so perhaps the Federation was a regional umbrella group. Also, with the exception of Mr. Reed, there’s no overlap between those on the 1910 program and those on the 1911 program. If nothing else, that establishes the presence of at least twenty Esperanto speakers in D.C. between 1910 and 1911.

But what of Karl F. Kellerman? It was quite a coincidence, seeing that the president of a D.C. Esperanto group had the same family name as one of the most prominent Esperantists of the day. My first thought was that a relative had also taken up Esperanto and followed Edwin and Ivy to Washington. It wasn’t wholly far-fetched, as Dr. Kellerman-Reed’s mother eventually lived with the couple. Then I saw that Karl Kellerman was born in Germany, though I should have looked closer. Karl Kellerman was born in Germany of American parents (from Ohio) and held American citizenship.

Ivy Kellerman-Reed was born in Wisconsin of parents who were born in Ohio. Ivy was born in 1877. Karl two years later in 1879. They both could be called “Dr. Kellerman,” as Karl F. Kellerman worked at the Department of Agriculture. His field of research was plant diseases, although he did send a letter to Science in defense of Esperanto during the Ido schism. Other than that, his works bear titles like Progress in Legume Inoculation, and Bacteriological Studies of the Soils of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation Project. He was already working in Washington when his sister and brother-in-law arrived.

There was actually two people named Karl F. Kellerman in Washington, D.C. in 1911, though it was easy to tell which was the president of the District Federation of Esperantists. Not the two-year old son of Dr. Kellerman and his wife. Gertrude Kellerman was also an Esperanto speaker, and so Karl F. Kellerman, Jr. grew up with Esperantist parents and a nearby aunt and uncle. However, I have not found any evidence that the younger Karl Kellerman was a denaska esperantisto, or any sort of Esperantist at all. Although with all these Esperanto speakers about, both he and his cousin, Erik Reed, must have picked up some.

  1. Just why wasn’t Edwin also a Kellerman-Reed?  ↩
  2. For which they had to buy out Baker’s interest in his company, the American Esperanto Company.  ↩
  3. More accurately, the Esperanto Society of North American, the national society of Esperantists in the United States.  ↩
  4. The Star does not mean, of course, those uninitiated into the Knights of Pythias, rather those who had not commenced a study of Esperanto.  ↩
  5. Ah, Destiny, you have failed us!  ↩
  6. That’s “La Espero.” The words are a poem by Dr. L. L. Zamenhof.  ↩
  7. This might be the name of the song, or it might be a typo. As set it’s “Thou art like a flower,” in which case, it’s probably an Esperanto translation of the German song, “Du bist wie eiene blume,” though the song (as “O Thou Art like a Flower”) had been published in English about forty years previously.  ↩
  8. In the text as “Keil placas al vi.” This was a translation of As You Like It by Ivy Kellerman-Reed. It was performed as part of the 1910 Universala Kongreso.  ↩
  9. Each time the Star missed the the circumflex over the c. The title means “The sweetest flower.”  ↩
  10. “I Love You.”  ↩

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