Autograph Letter in the Esperanto Language Signed by the Creator of Esperanto, who was Nominated 12 Times for the Nobel Peace Prize

Signed by Ludwik Zamenhof

Item: 20486
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ZAMENHOF, L[UDWIK] L[EJZER]. (1859-1917). Polish linguist and creator of the constructed international language of Esperanto, the most successful language of its kind. ALS. (“Zamenhof”). 1p. 8vo. Warsaw, N.d. To Edouard Kührt in Prague. Written on his personal stationery in Esperanto with two words in Czech.

“It was with great pleasure that I read your letter with the welcome report about the progress of our project in Prague. I also received the ‘obchodní dopisy’ [Czech for ‘business letters’] and thank you for those. Unfortunately our Warsaw group can do nothing in support of the Prague Esperantists because the current horrible condition of our city and country means we have not been able to meet at all for months…”

Born to Lithuanian Jews, Zamenhof grew up in Białystok, a multi-ethnic and linguistically diverse city then part of the Russian Empire, where he spoke Yiddish, Russian, French, German, and Polish. Likely influenced by his father, a language teacher, Zamenhof also studied Latin, Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic in school.

L.L. Zamenhof

Affected by the political turbulence and sectarian differences in Białystok, which he attributed to a lack of understanding, Zamenhof, while still a student, began to tinker with his own language and taught himself the constructed language of Volapük following its publication in 1880. He maintained an interest in devising an international tongue while studying medicine and practicing ophthalmology. Finally, in 1887, he published, in Russian, his International language: Introduction and complete textbook under the penname “Doktoro Esperanto.” Although he christened his language “Lingvo internacia” it became known as Esperanto. In 1905, he published a grammar, Fundamento de Esperanto and organized the first World Esperanto Congress.

Although Zamenhof saw Esperanto as a means to peace and international understanding, he declared the Esperanto movement an exclusively linguistic movement with no political motives besides promoting the language. Esperanto continued to gain adherents throughout the 20th century despite its suppression by Nazi Germany, Fascist Spain and Stalin’s Russia. International Esperanto congresses have been held every year since 1905 except during the two world wars. Among its enthusiastic adherents was the Czech Republic where the Museum of Esperanto opened in Svitavy in 2008.

Zamenhof is also notable for publishing the first grammar of the Yiddish language in 1879, and among his many honors were 12 Nobel Peace Prize nominations and his status as a deity in the New Japanese Oomoto religion. UNESCO declared 2017 the year of Zamenhof to commemorate the centennial of his death. Written on a faintly-lined, folded sheet bearing Zamenhof’s decorative purple ink address stamp in the upper left corner. In excellent condition with the original hand-addressed envelope. Rare.

Autograph Letter in the Esperanto Language Signed by the Creator of Esperanto, who was Nominated 12 Times for the Nobel Peace Prize

Signed by Ludwik Zamenhof

$1,500 • item #20486

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