Perkins Esperanto Collection

Samuel P. Hayes Research Library
Perkins School for the Blind
175 N. Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 02472


Perkins School for the Blind

Date Range: 
Call number: 

The collection includes books, pamphlets, correspondence, and clippings related to Esperanto and collected at the Perkins School for the Blind (1907-1950).   Significant items in the collection include Esperanto periodicals including Esperanta Ligilo (in Esperanto Braille) and the June 1926 edition of Amerika Esperantisto with an article about Esperanto at Perkins.

1 box (0.5 linear feet)
English, Esperanto, Esperanto braille
Processed by: 

Erinn Rhodes, 2018

Biographical/Historical notes: 

Esperanto is a constructed language created in 1887 by Dr. Ludwig L. Zamenhof, a Polish Jewish doctor, as a means to bring together people of different cultures, religions and ethnicities.  The first Esperanto society in the United States was founded on February 16, 1905 in Boston, and Perkins was home shortly thereafter to the second Esperanto Society. The 1920s, following World War I, served as a particularly active period for the teaching and spread of Esperanto.  Although Esperanto never gained widespread popularity in the U.S., today Esperanto is spoken by more than 2,000,000 people around the world. Esperanto Braille was developed by Théopile Cart and Harald Thilander at the turn of the twentieth century to facilitate the spread of publications for the blind.  The first Esperanto braille magazine, Esperanta Ligilo, was established in 1904 and, in 1923, the Universal Association of Blind Esperantists was created. A second Esperanto braille magazine, Aŭroro, has been published since 1920.

Sources of information: 

Clark, Walter J.  International Language: Past, Present, and Future with Specimens of Esperanto and Grammar. London: J.M. Dent & Company, 1907.

Garvía, Roberto. Esperanto and Its Rivals: The Struggle for an International Language. Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.

Mass Moments. “February 16, 1905 First Esperanto Society Formed.” Accessed March 30, 2018.

Owlcation. “The Wonderful Horrible History of Esperanto, the Universal Language.”  Accessed March 30, 2018. 

Unpublished reference resources on Esperanto and Esperanto and Perkins developed by Perkins School for the Blind Reference Librarian, Jennifer Arnott.

Wikipedia. “Esperanto Braille.” Accessed March 30, 2018. 

Credit line/Citation: 
Perkins Esperanto Collection, Perkins School for the Blind

The collection includes periodicals, pamphlets, books, conference materials, correspondence, and clippings related to Esperanto and collected at Perkins.  The materials date from 1907 to 1950.  Periodicals are in English, Esperanto and Esperanto Braille.  The periodicals include a 1909 copy of Esperanta Ligilo (in Esperanto Braille) and the June 1926 edition of Amerika Esperantisto with an article about Esperanto at Perkins.  The collection contains a textbook for learning Esperanto and Esperanto books dating from 1911 to 1925.  Conference materials available in the collection include the Report of the General Secretariat of the League of Nations to the third assembly in 1922 in which Esperanto is adopted as an official international auxiliary language.  The report has written annotations on the front cover with references to the pages in the document that refer to implications for the blind. Correspondence with Perkins related to Esperanto include a handwritten account of the launch of the “Esperanto Club in Perkins Institution” by Edward K. Harvey, which was sent to Edward Allen in 1908. The clippings include a 1940 letter to the Editor of the Boston Herald from the Secretary of the Boston Esperanto Society about the status of Esperanto as the society prepares to celebrate its 35th anniversary.


The collection is housed in one box and is arranged in four series. The content in each series has been arranged chronologically. 

The following abbreviations are used:

B1:F1 = Box 1: Folder 1

The Series are arranged as follows:

Series 1: Periodicals and pamphlets, 1909-1939

Series 2: Books, 1911-1925

Series 3: Conference proceedings and materials, 1922-1931

Series 4: Correspondence and clippings, circa 1907-1950

Container List: 

Box: 1 Series 1: 
B1:F1: Periodicals and pamphlets, 1909-1926
B1:F2: Periodicals and pamphlets, 1927-1939

Series 2: 
B1:F3: Books, 1911-1925
B1:F4: Books, 1925

Series 3: 
B1:F5: Conference proceedings and materials, 1922-1931

Series 4: 
B1:F6: Correspondence and clippings, circa 1907
B1:F7: Correspondence and clippings, 1908-1950

Perkins School for the Blind
Subject Headings: 


Esperanto Braille

Perkins School for the Blind.

Perkins School for the Blind--History.

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