Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Esperanto's Second Generation in Washington

Not actually "in."
The Esperanto Office, the headquarters of the Esperanto Association of North America, has been found, more or less. The address doesn’t seem to exist in current Washington, D.C., but at least the quadrant of the city has come to light. On March 10, 1911, articles on the Washington High School Esperanto Club noted that the meetings were held at the Esperanto Office, 816 Fifteenth Street, which would be fine in a city that didn’t use its major street names four times. Happily, on March 17, 1911, in an article following up on the high school Esperantists, the Washington Herald notes the quadrant of the city where the meetings were being held. (In the case of potential addresses of the Esperanto Office, there were only three possible locations.)

The Esperanto Office was located at 816 Fifteenth Street NW, Washington, D.C. Google Maps seems a little inconsistent in assigning addresses in the area, but the address would seem to be a large, modern building, undoubtably built long after the Esperanto movement had left Washington, D.C.

The Washington Herald reported on March 10, 1911, that the club would be electing officers at the meeting of March 17, and that’s the bulk of their article.

Universal Language Club Has Readings and an Election.
Interest in Esperanto is being shown by students at the Washington high schools. A meeting of the Washington High School Esperanto Club was held last night and several readings in Esperanto were given.

The following officers were elected: C. E. Nichles, of Central High School, president, and Miss J. A. McCaffrey, of Business, secretary and treasurer. Special officers for each school were also elected. They ware F. W. Eiker and Miss Louise Maher, vice president, and secretary for Western; L. H. Cake and E. C. Babcock, vice president and secretary for Central; Miss J. Glenn and E. M. Knapp, vice president and secretary for the McKinley Manual Training School, and W. Iseman vice president for Business.

Another meeting of the club will be held next Thursday night at 816 Fifteenth street northwest.
Poor Isabelle McCaffrey. She just can’t get her name spelled right in the papers. At least they got her family name right this time, as a week ago the Herald referred to her as “Miss I. A. McCafferty.” Then again, Robert Bruce got left of out this article.

“C. E. Nichles,” is a misprint for “C. E. Nickles,” or Charles E. Nickles, born about 1891. Mr. Nickles died young, at only thirty-two years of age. F. W. Eiker was Filmore (sometimes Philmore) Wynkoop Eiker, who was born on 21 April 1893. Louise Maher was born about 1895. She became a teacher. Lawrence H. Cake was a fifteen-year-old future lawyer. Elwyn Claude Babcock was sixteen, and also grew up to be a lawyer. Ernest M. Knapp was seventeen; he later became a clerk. Robert Bruce, J. Glenn, and W. Iseman have resisted my attempts at discovering them.

Ameriko Esperantisto covered this story in their April 1911 issue.
Washington, D. C.—Ĵus fondiĝis inter la lernantoj de la supraj lernejoj la “Washington High School Esperanto Club,” por la studado de Esperanto kaj la plezuro paroli kaj interkorespondi per tiu lingvo. La iniciatintoj estis Sroj. P. W. Shepard, C. E. Nickles, Fino. Isabelle McCaffery, kaj aliaj. Estas interese rimarki ke inter la anoj kaj oficistoj estas la gefiloj de kelkaj jam konataj esperantistoj de Washington, kio montras ke la internacia lingvo jam progresis al “la dua generacio.” La oficistoj ĵus elektitaj estas: prezidanto, C. E. Nickles; vicprezidanto, Robert Bruce; sekretario-kasisto, Isabelle McCaffery; specialaj vicprezidantoj kaj helpaj sekretarioj reprezentantaj la diversajn lernejojn, jene: el “Western,” F. W. Eiker kaj Fino. Louise Maher; el “Central,” L. H. Cake kaj E. C. Babcock; el “McKinley,” Fino. J. Glenn kaj E. M. Knapp; el “Business,” W. Iseman, kaj alia elektota post iom da tempo. La klubo kunvenas ĉiuĵaude je la sepa kaj duono, en ĉambro ĉe la “Esperanto Office,” kaj post la leciono kaj la afera kunveno ĝuas mallongan programon. En antaŭnelonga programo, dialogo “la hakileto de Georgo Washington,” el AMERIKA ESPERANTISTO, estis unu el la elektaĵoj, aldone al legado en Esperanto kaj anglaj legadoj pri la lingvo. Por help la propagandon inter lernantoj de la lernejoj, la anoj de la klubo komencis peti la lernejestrojn ke ili aranĝu por paroladoj pri Esperanto en la lernejoj. Responde al tia peto, la lernejestro de “Business” supra lernejo, Sro. Allan Davis, invitis Sro. Reed, sekretarion de la E. A. de N. A., paroladi al la lernantoj, kiuj ĉe la parolado montris viglan intereson je Esperanto.

Recently founded by high school students, the “Washington High School Esperanto Club” for the study of Esperanto and the pleasure to speak and correspond in that language. The initiators were Mr. P. W. Shepard, Mr. C. E. Nickles, Miss Isabelle McCaffrey, and others. It is interesting to note that among the members and officers are the children of several already known Esperantists of Washington, which shows that the international language already has progressed to the “second generation.” The officers recently elected are: president, C. E. Nickles; vice president, Robert Bruce; secretary-treasurer, Isabelle McCaffery; special vice presidents and auxiliary secretaries representing the various schools, as follows: from “Western,” F. W. Eiker and Miss Louise Maher; from “Central,” L. H. Cake and E. C. Babcock; from “McKinley,” Miss J. Glenn and E. M. Knapp; from “Business,” W. Iseman, and other to be elected after some time. The club meets every Thursday at 7:30, en a room at the “Esperanto Office,” and after the lesson and business meeting enjoys a brief program. In a recent program, a dialog, “George Washington’s Hatchet,” from Amerika Esperantisto, was one of the selections, in addtion to readings in Esperanto and readings in English about the language. To help the propaganda among the students of the schools, the members of the club started to ask the principals that they arrange for talks about Esperanto in the schools. Responding to such a request, the principal of the “Business” high school, Mr. Allan Davis, invited Mr. Reed, secretary of the E. A. of N. A. to talk to the students, who at the speech showed a lively interest in Esperanto. [Translation mine.]
The subsequent item is on the Esperanto group started by Isabelle Peacock, Frances Fernald, and others.

It’s not clear how long the club lasted. Within a few years, the Esperanto Office would leave Washington, D.C. With the exception of Isabella McCaffery, I have not seen evidence of continued involvement in Esperanto
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