Monday, August 11, 2014

The Zamenhofs Arrive in New York

What? No Esperanto lessons in
Third Class?
About a year after the New York Sun reported on John Pollen’s 1909 visit to New York, Pollen was back again, but this time he was upstaged by an another passenger. Traveling on the same ship as Pollen (whom the New-York Tribune referred to as Dr. John Pollen) were the Zamenhofs, making their visit to the United States.

According to the passenger records for the George Washington, the Zamenhofs travelled with with Battina Essingmann, a 34-year old woman. Like Klara Zamenhof, Mrs. Essingmann is described as a housewife. Ludovick Zamenhof is described as begin 5’7“ with gray hair. Klara was 5’5” with blond brown hair (I’m assuming that’s a light brown, or a dark blond).

I’ve gone one step beyond the Tribune, and hunted through the passenger records for the remaining Esperantists. I was not able to find every passenger on his or her way to the Esperanto Congress, but I made a pretty thorough sweep. There were just over 2,000 passengers, and I was looking for “Esperanto” in their destination. Of course, if any American Esperantists had travelled back home for the congress, their destination wouldn’t be listed.
Came to Attend Congress of Adherents of the “Universal Language”

Twenty-two ardent esperantists arrived yesterday on the George Washington, of the North German Lloyd Line, to attend the sixth international Esperanto congress, to be held in Washington from August 14 to 20. Nine of them came in the first cabin, and in the dining saloon had a table to themselves at which the conversation was carried on entirely in the “universal language.” Among them were Richard Sharpe, fellow of the British Esperanto Association and author of “The Pronunciation of Esperanto,” Dr. Zamenhof, the founder of Esperanto, and Dr. John Pollen, of the British army, president of the British Esperanto Association.[1]

The others travelled in the second cabin, among them being William Mann, assistant editor of the “The British Esperantist.”[2] Lectures and lessons in Esperanto were given during the passage, and keys in different language distributed. The steward and children on board were them most enthusiastic converts.
Esperanto Congress Passengers
1. Lazarus Zamenhof
2. Clara Zamehnof
3. Bettina Essingmann
4. Edward Myles, 53
5. Heinrich Arhold, 25
6. Henrietta Martin, 27
7. Marcelle Tiard, 47
8. Cornelius Gottschall, 38
9. John Pollen, 62
10. Ester Higgs, 42
11. Elizabeth Pompson, 35
12. Mary E. Huchinson, 37
13. Mary Theodore, 53
14. William Mann, 29
15. Takes Miksumabri, 34
16. Richard Sharpe, 65
17. Sergino Winkelmann, 22
18. Frederic Chaveau, 33

That leaves me only four short of the entire manifest.

The Tribune seems to have missed out on one of the more interesting passengers, as Mr. Mikumabri was the sole Japanese national (indeed, the only Asian) on the entire ship.

  1. The manifest has Pollen’s profession as “soldier.”  ↩
  2. The Tribune had this as “The British Esperantists.”  ↩

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