The history of planned languages and the search for solutions to language difference covers many centuries and intersects with many disciplines, ranging from philosophy and logic to intellectual and political history. Much of this material has been lost, or will be lost without active intervention. At the same time, scholarly interest in planned languages, including Esperanto, is growing. ESF is eager to preserve this history and make it available to scholars.
Conserving such a heritage is vital work, but time-consuming and expensive: the amorphous nature of the growth of the Esperanto movement since its launch in 1887, for example, has meant that materials held over the years in the hands of private collectors and enthusiasts risk being lost unless they can be discovered, acquired, catalogued and preserved.
Among recent grants, the Foundation has supported two of the world’s largest collections – the Hector Hodler Library (Rotterdam, Netherlands) and the Planned Language Collection of the Austrian National Library (Vienna). It has also assisted two US libraries working to build their collections in Esperanto and planned languages: the Firestone Library at Princeton University, and the Du Bois Library at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
The Foundation has also intervened directly to rescue collections and to pass them on to libraries interested in making them available to scholars.
If you would like to help us with a donation, we would welcome your support.
Feature on a library we support?
A feature on a Library we Support?
Our Library ……………………….
Library Collections and Holdings
An alphabetical list of collections of books, manuscripts, oral history and film archives relating to Esperanto, Interlinguistics and planned languages.
Allan C. Boschen Esperanto Collection, Massachusetts, USA
Allan C. Boschen Esperanto Collection at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Library includes instructional materials in the language from around the world along with a diversity of imprints ranging from novels and poetry to travel books, histories and biographies, political writings, materials on China and Vietnam, children’s literature, and even a cookbook. The collection is named after its creator, Allan C. Boschen, an engineer with General Electric in Pittsfield, who was a student and teacher of Esperanto and longtime officer with the Esperanto Society of New England. More information. Watch a video presentation on the book collection by Steve Brewer and Humphrey Tonkin: November 9, 2016.
750 catalogued items
Auld Esperanto Collection, National Library of Scotland, UK
The Auld Esperanto Collection at the National Library of Scotland contains nearly 5,000 books in and about Esperanto, including Esperanto translations of works by writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter Scott and Robert Burns, as well as original Esperanto fiction and poetry by Scottish writers. These books are from the library of William Auld, a leading Esperanto scholar, a prolific translator of literature into Esperanto, and a major Esperanto author, whose generous donation makes the National Library of Scotland one of the world’s major centers for Esperanto studies. The collection is available to consult in the Special Materials Reading Room. More information.
Centre for Documentation and Exploration of the International Language, Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
The Centre for Documentation and Exploration of the International Language (Centre de documentation et d’étude sur la langue internationale; CDELI) is part of the City Library in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.It was founded in 1967, and the collection now contains more than 20,000 itmes, the greater majority on Esperanto, but also on other planned languages. The collection and its catalogue can be consulted on site; appointment with the curator.
Cesar Vanbiervliet Foundation, City Public Library of Kortrijk, Belgium
The Cesar Vanbiervliet Foundation is a section of the City Public Library of Kortrijk, Belgium. The Foundation has a legally preserved collection of 10,000 books and periodicals.
Digital Library of the Spanish Esperanto-Federation
Esperanto Collection, British Library, UK
The Esperanto Collection at the British Library contains approximately 1,000 titles in Esperanto in the current catalog, which covers items acquired since 1975. More information.
Esperanto Collection, National Library of New Zealand
The Esperanto Collection at the National Library of New Zealand contains around 200 books, periodicals, and manuscripts. It was presented to the Turnbull Library by George Gordon of Christchurch in 1942 for the use of Esperantists. Additional books were donated by Bertram Potts in December 1980. The Collection catalog can be consulted only on site. More information.
Esperanto Library in Ŝimonoseki ENGLISH?
La Esperanto-Biblioteko en Ŝimonoseki estas establita en la 15a de julio, 2013 por savi kaj konservi librojn, dokumentojn, kaj ĉiajn aĵojn de Esperanto. Ni akceptas donacojn de kunlaboremaj Esperantistoj en la tuta mondo. TRANSLATE CHECK
Fajszi Esperanto Collection, Budapest, Hungary
The Fajszi Esperanto Collection in Budapest, Hungary, began with the work of one person, Károly Fajszi, who started collecting in the 1970s. A catalogue of the collection was published in 1991.
Firestone Library, Princeton University, Princeton, USA
Humphrey Tonkin gifts rare Esperanto book to Princeton University Library
“On October 10, faculty and Library staff gathered in Firestone Library to celebrate the gift of a rare book, “Unua Libro,” from dedicated Esperantist Humphrey Tonkin to Princeton University Library.
“Due in large part to the activity of its current faculty, Princeton University aspires to be an international center for the study of Esperanto and constructed languages” Princeton University Library – posted 11 October 2018
The Esperanto Collection currently houses 2,039 catalogue entries and 6,179 articles. It also house Series 7: Esperanto, portion of 1 box on Arts and Culture in Cuba 1963-2008.
George Alan Connor Esperanto Collection, University of Oregon Library, USA
The George Alan Connor Esperanto Collection at the University of Oregon Library includes more than 3,500 books, periodicals, and pamphlets written in or about Esperanto. More information.
German Esperanto Library, Aalen
The German Esperanto Library, in Aalen has a collection of more than 11,000 pieces.
Hector Hodler Library, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Hector Hodler Library holds around 15,000 books and pamphlets, including bound volumes of journals. In addition, it has a great number of unbound journals, chiefly complete volumes. It also houses manuscripts, correspondence, photos, audio discs and cassettes, videotapes, printed music, tourist items (prospectuses, maps, postcards), posters, insignia, and postage stamps. No other library in the world receives practically every new publication in or about Esperanto. ESF is supporting the preparation of a long-range plan for preserving the library and making its holdings more readily accessible to researchers, including the preparation of a comprehensive catalog. The library is currently located in the central office of the Universal Esperanto Association in Rotterdam.
History of the Library FROM ESF SITE CHECK & UPDATE IF NEEDED
Originally, the Biblioteko Hector Hodler was the book collection of the Swiss Esperanto Society (Svisa Esperanto-Societo) founded in 1902. Several years later, it was purchased by Hector Hodler of Geneva, the son of well-known Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler. In 1913, the administrator of the Universal Esperanto Association (Universala Esperanto-Asocio, UEA) in Geneva, Hans Jakob, took charge of the collection. Following the death of Hodler in March 1920 the books became the property of the UEA in accordance with his will. At that time the collection consisted of three to four thousand bibliographic items. Although in the following decades the administrative headquarters of the UEA was transferred first to England and then to the Netherlands, the Library remained in Geneva until 1962. During this period the Center for Research and Documentation on World Language Problems (CRD) was founded by a number of interlinguistics scholars associated with the UEA. When the UEA and the CRD acquired a new headquarters in Rotterdam, it was decided that the library material would be transferred from Geneva to Rotterdam, where it would be available for the use of both organizations.
Significance of the Library
The Library is among the three most important collections in the world specializing in literature in and about the international planned language Esperanto and about the wider field of interlinguistics. Comparable are the International Esperanto Museum (Internacia Esperanto-Muzeo) in Vienna (linked to the Austrian National Library) and the library of the Esperanto Association of Great Britain (Esperanto-Asocio de Britio) in London. Among these three, the Hodler Library stands out not only for its attempt to be exhaustive but also because the UEA and the CRD have taken on the responsibility of assuring the continuity and usefulness of this high quality collection. The Library has been and continues to be a documentation resource used in the course of the editing of the UEA’s official journal (Esperanto magazine), for other work carried out by its Central Office staff, and for international research on interlinguistics. No other library in the world receives practically every new publication in or about Esperanto.
The Library consists of around 15,000 books and pamphlets, including bound volumes of journals. In addition, it has a great number of unbound journals, chiefly complete volumes. It also houses manuscripts, correspondence, photos, audio discs and cassettes, videotapes, printed music, tourist items (prospectuses, maps, postcards), posters, insignia, and postage stamps.
More than 90% of the material in the Library relates to Esperanto and was consequently published since 1887. However, it also has works which appeared before that year and which relate to other planned language projects or to language creation in general. The oldest valuable works are:
Wilkins, John. Mercury, or the Secret and Swift Messenger : Shewing How a Man with Privacy and Speed communicate his Thoughts to a Friend at any distance. London, 1694.
Des Lord Monboddo Werk von dem Ursprung und Fortgange der Sprache / übersetzt von C.A. Schmid ; mit einer Vorrede des Herrn Generalsuperintendenten Herder. Riga, 1784-85.
Michaeler, C. De origine linguae tum primaria, tum et speciali commentatio. Wien, 1788.
Vater, J.S. Pasigraphie und Antipasigraphie, oder Über die neueste Erfindung einer allgemeinen Schriftsprache für alle Völker … Weisxenfels und Leipzig, 1799.
Letellier, C.L.A. Cours complet de langue universelle. Caen, 1852. 2 vol.
Sotos Ochando, Bonifacio. Projet d’une langue universelle. Paris, 1855.
Renaud, G. Appel aux souverains du globe : une pensée sur la langue universelle. Lyon, 1862.
Also noteworthy is the collection of textbooks and dictionaries of Volapük, the planned language project which enjoyed a brief vogue prior to the appearance of Esperanto .
From the pioneer period
Zamenhof published Russian, Polish, French and German editions of the so-called Unua libro, the introduction to his international language, in 1887 in Warsaw. All of these are in the Library, as are other early works including the first textbooks in Yiddish, English, Latvian, Danish, Italian, Spanish, and Czech. The collection also has pioneering translations of belles-lettres such as La Negxa blovado by Pushkin (1888) and La Gefratoj by Goethe (1889), both translated by Antoni Grabowski. The serial Adresaro de la personoj kiuj ellernis la lingvon “Esperanto” (1889- ) is also here (although incomplete). Another item of interest is the first Esperanto textbook for Lithuanians, which was written by A. Dambrauskas (1890), printed in Tilsit, Germany, and, due to Czarist censorship, had to be smuggled into Lithuania.
The Esperanto movement received great impetus from the French who introduced modern methods of publicity and recruitment in the late 1890s. In 1901 the publishing firm Hachette began to publish a large number of books in Esperanto, among them (issued in the Kolekto aprobita de d-ro Zamenhof) several landmark translations by Zamenhof: The Bible, Hamleto by Shakespeare, Goethe’s Ifigenio, Gogol’s La Revizoro, and Marta by Eliza Orzeszko. The Library has all of Hachette’s publications.
Original and translated works
In parallel with the spread of Esperanto, the books published at the beginning of this century and particularly after the First World War are characterized by increasing diversity. There are not only many textbooks, dictionaries and studies on Esperanto in some 60 languages, but also a relatively complete collection of original works in the language (belles-lettres and non-fiction) and of translations, mainly belles-lettres. Noteworthy among the latter are anthologies attempting to provide a representative overview of the prose and poetry of a particular people for an international audience. To date this genre includes. among others, English, Belgian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Czechoslovakian, Chinese, Danish, Estonian, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Polish, Scottish, Swedish, and Swiss anthologies.
Besides the Hachette collection, the Library possesses a complete set of works from two other great Esperanto publishing houses: 80 titles from Literatura Mondo (Budapest), which appeared between 1931 and the Second World War, and 87 titles published by J. Régulo (La Laguna) under the Stafeto imprint from 1952 to 1980.
The volumes of the periodicals (La) Esperantisto (Nürnberg, 1889-1895), Lingvo internacia (Uppsala [and elsewhere], 1885-1914), L’Espérantiste (Epernay [and elsewhere], 1898-1908) and La Revuo (Paris, 1906-1914) constitute a historically valuable set of documents within the Library’s holdings. Also complete are the collections of Esperanto (1905- ), Esperanto triumfonta (1920-1925) / Heroldo de Esperanto (1925- ) and the important workers’ journal Sennaciulo (1924- ). In addition, there are a great many national Esperantist publications, for example, Holanda pioniro (1902-1921), Belga sonorilo (1902- ), Ondo de Esperanto (Moscow, 1909-1917), La Revuo orienta (Tokyo, 1919- ). Several well preserved issues of Chinese periodicals are very rare; the earliest dates from 1913. The 44 issues of the review Popola fronto (Valencia, 1936-30) are documents from the Spanish Civil War.
Other particularly valuable possessions:
- close to a hundred original letters and postcards of Zamenhof;
- a large collection of letters written by other well-known Esperanto pioneers from the years 1904 to 1914 (donated by J. Régulo and J. Amouroux);
- letters and manuscripts of Hector Hodler and Edmond Privat which are important for the study of pacifism during and immediately after the First World War;
- correspondence between the Hungarian Kálmán Kalocsay (1891-1976) and the Frenchman Gaston Waringhien (1901-91), two outstanding Esperanto scholars who worked in close collaboration;
- an almost complete set of documents dealing with the work of the Esperanto Academy (Akademio de Esperanto);
- a collection of works translated from Esperanto, among them Fine mi komprenas la radion! (1925/26) by E. Aisberg which was translated into more than 20 languages;
- an almost complete collection of the books and periodicals published by Soviet Esperantists before the Stalinist persecution;
- a copy of a secret report (in Japanese) from the Japanese Ministry of Justice concerning the Esperanto labour movement (1939).From the collection of unpublished manuscripts, the following are noteworthy: translations of Cervantes Don Quixote and Erasmus In Praise of Folly by the Dutchman Hindrik Jan Bulthuis (1865-1945), whose original novels in Esperanto are well known; and a number of translations from Russian literature by D. Staritsky, a Russian émigré living in the Netherlands.
Intercultural Centre, Herzberg
International Esperanto Institue, The Hague
International Esperanto Museum, Austrain National Library, Vienna
The Austrian National Library holds the world’s largest collection of research materials on Esperanto and other planned languages. It includes an International Esperanto Museum (Internacia Esperanto-Muzeo) with 35,000 volumes, 3,000 museum objects, 5,000 autographs and manuscripts, 22,000 photos, 1,200 posters and 40,000 flyers. Interactive media stations allow visitors to get to know not only Esperanto, but also some 500 other planned languages, such as the mystical Lingua Ignota of Hildegard of Bingen or Klingon from the television series Star Trek.
International Museum of Peace and Solidarity in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
The International Museum of Peace and Solidarity in Samarkand, Uzbekistan was founded in 1986. The museum advances peace and world consciousness and exhibits around 20,000 books, pieces of art, and memorabilia from 100 countries. CHECK
LIbrary of the Brazilian Esperanto League
Biblioteko de Brazila Esperanto-Ligo CHECK
Library of the Japanese Esperanto Institute
Library of the Japanese Esperanto Institute Housed in the Esperanto Home of the Japanese Esperanto Institute , the library comprises 10,000 Esperanto books. Books to be read on site. The library collects books relating to Esperanto form Japan and other countries. It holds the first course book in Esperanto to appear in Japan in 1906. Partly catalogued. CHECK
Montagu Butler Library, Barlaston, UK
The Montagu Butler Library is the library of the Esperanto Association of Britain (Esperanto-Asocio de Britio), named after Montagu Christie Butler (1884-1970). It is housed with the EAB office at Barlaston, near Stoke-on-Trent. The Butler Library has around 13,000 books and many other documents about Esperanto. More information.
National Esperanto Library and Archive, State Archive, Massa in northern Tuscany, Italy
The National Esperanto Library and Archive, founded in 1972 as the library of the Italian Esperanto Federation, is hosted by the State Archive in Massa, in northern Tuscany (Italy) and contains about 8,000 items, of which the majority was donated by the Dazzini family, and later by other Italian Esperantists. The collection of around 7250 volumes also includes 176 magazines, not yet catalogued, as well as other documents such as travel diaries, correspondence, photographic images and music recordings. The official library of the Italian Esperanto Federation, the collection is accessible to the public.
National Esperanto Museum, Gray, France
The National Esperanto Museum in Gray, France, is a public archive with a permanent Esperanto exhibition in 10 rooms covering 230m2. IT has a rich collection with around 6000 books and brochures in or about Esperanto and over 1400magazine and journal titles. It has become the holding centre for the archives of several local and regional associations,, and collections from deceased individuals. It also includes objects and artifacts, stamps, cards etc.
Neil Salvesen Esperanto Collection, University of Manchester, UK
The Neil Salvesen Esperanto Collection at the University of Manchester Library contains 710 items, but only 246 of them are to be found in the Library of Congress, and a mere 66 are held by the British Library, which makes this an important collection. It is named after Neil Salvesen (1944-1990), an enthusiastic Esperantist, active member of the Manchester Esperanto Society, and later an official of the Universal Esperanto Association (Universala Esperanto-Asocio) based in Rotterdam. More information.
Spanish Esperanto Museum, San Pablo de Ordal
The Spanish Esperanto Museum, in San Pablo de Ordal, Spain originated in 1963 when Mr. L. M. Hernandez Yzal began collecting Esperanto publications.The museum opened in 1968.
In 1993, the computer catalog listed 8400 books and 12,315 yearly bound books of 2485 periodicals. CHECK
University of Amsterdam
The Library at the University of Amsterdam holds an Esperanto Collection. The catalogue gives 9,658 results.
University of Liverpool
Collection of materials mainly dating from the time of William Collinson, professor of German 1914-1954, lecturer in Esperanto and interlinguistics, home of the Buchanan Lectureship. Some also housed in the Special Collections and Archives.