Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Esperantists Speak to Students

Allan Davis
Esperanto's man in the
high school
At first glance, it seems like a continuation of the article which noted that high school students in Washington, D.C. asked their principals to bring in people to lecture about Esperanto. But instead of Edwin C. Reed, the speaker was Amy C. Leavitt, a less prominent Esperantist. But the date on the article is four years after the formation of the Washington High School Esperanto Club, as the talk occurred on March 17, 1915, and was reported on by the Washington Post on March 18, 1915.

Leavitt had been involved in the Esperanto movement at least since 1910, when she gave a dollar to help retire the debt of the unsuccessful 1910 Universala Kongreso. The Reeds had left leadership of the Esperanto movement in 1913, and had moved on to other (undoubtably more remunerative) endeavors. The headquarters of the EANA had moved, along with its publishing and sales arm, The American Esperantist Company, to West Newton, Massachusetts in mid–1913. The Reeds remained active in Esperanto, but somewhat less so. Edwin Reed’s resignation of the position of the secretary of the EANA, a position which he had held since the creation of the organization in 1908, was due to the decision to move the offices to the Boston area.

It is not clear when Allan Davis, the principal of the Business High School in Washington D.C., became an Esperantist, though by 1920 he is a member of the Finance Committee, along with Amy C. Leavitt.
By invitation of the principal, Mr. Allan Davis, Miss Amy C. Leavitt, member of Washington’s Esperanto group, yesterday morning gave a talk to about 500 students on the necessity of an international language for facilitating international intercourse—commercially, technically, scientifically, philosophically. The speaker mentioned that for centuries attempts for such a language had been made, but no success was attained until the appearance of Esperanto.
Amy Clement Leavitt was not an earnest young Esperantist at the time she spoke to the students of the Business High School, instead, she was a fifty-six year old woman, who worked as a music teacher and translator. She had been born in Boston in 1858. She first shows up in Washington, D.C. city directories in 1885.

Allan W. Davis, the principal of the Business High School was born in 1867. Like Leavitt, he was a transplant to Washington, having arrived in 1903. He first appears in the city directories as a teacher, but soon thereafter, he’s listed as a principal.

Amerika Esperantisto also wrote about this event, in the context of the various Esperanto groups in Washington forming into a union.
Washington, D.C. Federacio de la grupoj en ĉi tiu urbo efektiviĝis, kaj nun ekzistas la “Kolumbia Esperanto Unuiĝo.” Grava vizitanto je la unua kunveno de la Unuiĝo estis S-ro Allan Davis, Estro de la Komerca Altlernejo, kaj la 17an de Marto tri anoj de la grupo kaŭzis multaj da intereso inter la studentoj kiuj ĝoje ricevis propagandilojn disdonitajn. Oni povas esperi ke nova klubo inter la studentoj ĉe ĉi tiu Komerca Altlernejo organiziĝos, kiel rezulto de la laboro.

A federation of the the groups in this city has been come real, and now the “Columbia Esperanto Union” exists. An important visitor at the first meeting of the Union was Mr. Allan Davis, principal of the Business High School, and the 17th of March three members of the group caused much interest among the students who gladly received the distributed promotional materials. One can hope that a new club will be organized among the students of the Business High School, as a result of the work. [Translation mine]
Sadly, this would indicate that the student group organized in 1911 was, by its fourth anniversary, no more. Amerika Esperantisto also made it clear that three Esperantists were at the presentation, while the Washington Post mentioned only Leavitt.
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