But in the early part of the twentieth century, there was a member of Congress who made no secret of it. Richard Bartholdt, a Republican from Missouri, was a proponent of Esperanto. According to the dates listed in Wikipedia, he joined Congress at a time when Esperanto was pretty much unknown in the United States, although he had emigrated from Germany only a few years before Zamenhof published Esperanto.
I’m guessing for a somewhat later date, as to when he learned Esperanto, given the article in the August 11, 1910 Spanish Fork Press, of Spanish Fork, Utah. The newspaper describes Bartholdt as “a real Esperantist,” but article seems to indicate that he is one of fairly recent vintage.
Still a student. In 1910, Bartholdt was not yet “able to make speeches in Esperanto” (imagine that: a member of Congress unable to make a speech). The Honorable Mr. Bartholdt was, apparently, a great advocate of peace, and like many in that era, saw Esperanto as a potential tool for fostering world peace.Congressman a Real Esperantist.Congressman Richard Bartholdt of St. Louis is an enthusiastic student of Esperanto, the international language. He took it up because of his intense interest in the peace movement, being convinced that such a medium of exchange would contribute largely thereto. Bartholdt declares he is already a graduate in the language and soon will be able to make speeches in Esperanto. There hangs on the wall of his private office in Washington a small blackboard on which are written Esperanto characters. This serves to keep the matter always in the congressman’s mind.
In my title, I’m playing off the joking name Esperantists give to a gathering place of Esperanto speakers. Esperantio is “land of the Esperantists.”
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