Thursday, July 9, 2015

An Esperanto Congress in Boston

Iru ni Bostonen!
I’ve said this before (and doubtless will say it again) that today the annual North American Esperanto Congress probably doesn’t even get media coverage in the town where it’s held. Certainly a check of Google News around the time of the meeting turns up nothing. I don’t know if the blame rests solely on the media, though I know I’ve been involved in large conventions and the local made no reference to the swarms of conventioneers. This was not the case when the Esperantists of North America met on July 9, 1912. There was press coverage.

I’ve found articles from the New York Evening World and the Washington, D.C. Evening Star, so this press coverage actually extended outside of the convention city, since the 1912 convention was in Boston. There was probably coverage in the Boston papers, but unfortunately, I don’t have access to any of them. The two articles are nearly identical to each other, with the only difference within the actual article being something that can be attributed to house style. That said, the ultimate source was probably a press release either from the Esperanto Association of North America or the New England Esperanto Association. At the time of the meeting, EANA was headquartered in the Boston suburb of West Newton, so there was probably some overlap between the two organizations.

Since the articles differ only in title, so I’ve started with the headline from the Evening World, followed by the one from the Evening Star. The only textual difference was that the World still used “to-day,” while in D.C. they had dropped the hyphen.

Esperanto Congress Opens.

Esperantists Meet at Boston.
BOSTON, July 9—The fifth North American Congress of Esperanto opened here to-day. Nearly every section of the United States was represented by students of the new universal language. After a brief business section, presided over by Edward S. Payson, president of the New England Esperanto Association, the visiting Esperantists were taken over the route of Paul Revere’s ride, visiting Harvard University on the way.
At the time of the Convention, Payson was a few years off of becoming the president of the EANA, a position he would hold from 1918 through 1922, declining further service after that term, when voted in at the 1921 convention (also in Boston).

It certainly shows that as late as 1912, Esperanto was viewed as important enough to get some mention in the press, even if the event wasn’t in the city where the newspaper was located. Would that we could return to such a situation (and then build from there).
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