Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Esperanto Klubo de Los Angeles and Member Information
Scope and Contents
Language of Material:
California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections
Title: The J. Tilman Williams, Oazo de Esperanto, and Esperanto Club of Los Angeles Collection
Burg, Brian Neil
Glenny , William West
Scherer, Joseph R.
Identifier/Call Number: SPC.2018.044
29 document boxes, 1 photograph box, 8 boxes in various sizes, and 15 over sized folders.
25.75 linear feet
Date (inclusive): 1900-February 2018
Date (bulk): 1927-1960
Language of Material: The collection is predominantly in Esperanto and English. Material in other languages is indicated at the file level.
Abstract: The J. Tilman Williams, Oazo de Esperanto, and Esperanto Club of Los Angeles Collection (JTW, ODE, and EKLA Esperanto Collection
for short) includes periodicals, dictionaries, vocabularies, grammar books, yearbooks, directories, correspondence, photographs,
ephemera, and realia related to Esperanto and the Esperanto speaking community. Subjects include the Esperanto Klubo of Los
Angeles, Esperanto studies, and Esperanto associations.
[Title of item], The J. Tilman Williams, Oazo de Esperanto and Esperanto Club of Los Angeles Collection, Courtesy of the Department
of Archives and Special Collection. University Library. California State University, Dominguez Hills
The collection is arranged into eight series.
- Series One:
- Esperanto Periodicals
- Series Two:
- Dictionaries, Vocabularies, Grammar Books, Bibliographies, and Book Catalogs
- Series Three:
- Yearbooks and Directories
- Series Four:
- Instructional Materials
- Series Five:
- Series Six:
- Travel Material, Esperanto Organization Material, and Ephemera
- Series Seven:
- Series Eight:
Conditions Governing Access
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
Conditions Governing Use
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives
and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special collections as the owner of the physical
materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
The collection includes over three hundred books and pamphlets that can be searchable through the University Library catalog
(https://www.csudh.edu/library/) or WorldCat (www.worldcat.org). All items are labeled as The J. Tilman Williams/Esperanto
Club of Los Angeles Collection.
Esperanto is a constructed language that was created by L.L. (Ludwig Lazar) Zamenhof in the late 1800s. Zamenhof was born
in 1859 to a Jewish family and was the oldest out of four brothers and three sisters. His family lived in Bialystok, a city
in Poland that had a history of being part of Prussian and Russian territory. Several different communities resided within
Bialystok, including Jewish, German, Russian, and Polish, which created a linguistic and cultural divide. This divide was
one of Zamenhof's influences in the construction of the universal language, Esperanto.
Zamenhof had his first banquet to initiate the new language in 1878, though his first book titled,
Unua Libro (First Book) was not published until 1887. The
Unua Libro was written in Russian, Polish, German, and French and mainly discussed the language and the idea behind it. The second book
Dua Libro was released a year later in Esperanto. The first and second book, along with Zamenhof's promotion increased the awareness
of the language. In 1888 small Esperanto groups began to form.
In the 1900s Esperanto became more widespread internationally with international congresses being held in Barcelona in 1909
and Antwerp in 1911. Several organizations, like the Universal Esperanto Association, began to form and create periodicals
and world offices to promote Esperanto. The language continued to flourish until the start of World War One, where priorities
shifted away from the promotion of the language.
After World War One, Esperanto had a resurgence. Esperanto was proposed to the League of Nations for use as the language for
international relations. Although the proposal was accepted by most, it was not passed due to one vote. It was later recommended
that all members of the League of Nations include Esperanto in educational material. This promotion of the language did not
last long because some countries banned or discouraged the use of the language during World War Two and the Cold War.
Although Esperanto faced many challenges, it continues as a language spoken today by approximately two million people. Congresses
and meetups occur in different countries to promote the use of Esperanto and to connect people with interests in Esperanto.
Esperanto Klubo de Los Angeles and Member Information
Some of the material within the collection is from members of the Esperanto Klubo de Los Angeles which was later known as
the Esperanto Association of Los Angeles. The club was founded by Joseph Scherer, William Braff, and Mr. Branson in 1927.
The meetings were initially held at the Central Public Library but moved to the Boos Brothers Cafeteria and private homes
so they could sing and play music. In the early 1930s, the club grew and included Charles Chomette, Donald Evans Parrish,
John F. Clewe and their families. Later members of the club included William West Glenny, Brian Neil Burg, and J. Tilman Williams.
Esperanto Club of Los Angeles Members
Joseph R. Scherer (1901-1967)
Joseph R. Scherer (1901-1967) was born in Switzerland and later moved to the United States. He toured the world giving lectures
on Esperanto and customs about other countries. Scherer also briefly worked in Hollywood consulting for movies that used Esperanto.
Charles Chomette came to the United States from France in 1919. He met his wife Germaine in 1928 and had two daughters Lilio
and Dianto, who like their mother and father spoke Esperanto. Chomette was active in the Esperanto community and was apart
of the Esperanto Klubo of Los Angeles in the 1930s. He died in April 1969.
William West Glenny
William West Glenny was a later member and president of the Esperanto Klubo de Los Angeles. He worked professionally as a
patent attorney and was an advocate for Esperanto.
Brian Neil Burg
[Biography written by Brian Neil Burg in 2019.]
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and I have lived in Fullerton since 1978; got my B.A. in Psychology at the
University of Southern California (1970); my J.D. degree from Western State University College of Law (1983); and obtained
a California Secondary Teaching Credential in Mathematics through California State University Fullerton (2003). I have worn
several career hats: software engineer (1974-1985); attorney-at-law (1984-2019—officially retired in January—with concentrations
in family law, estate planning, and immigration in the early years, and doing exclusively estate planning for the last decade
or so); part-time middle and high school math teacher (2003-2008); part-time adjunct faculty for the North Orange County Community
College District (2005-current), working with the elderly and infirm, where I basically teach a memory-stimulating class interspersed
with live entertainment from me, as I sing songs mostly from the first half of the 20th century. I am also a poet and… an
I was introduced to Esperanto in the 10th grade while taking French, as described above, and the basic idea resonated well
with my personality and world view. However, I couldn't interest any of my high-school or university friends in learning
it with me, so I was pretty much a dilettante through the next five years. I graduated USC in January 1970 and decided I
would get a good grammar book and dictionary and try to master the language on my own. I now had my own car and could get
around town, and I started attending meetings and other functions of EKLA. In 1971, I printed up a flyer for the 2nd Earth
Day celebration, when 10,000 people were expected to March down Wilshire Avenue from La Brea to MacArthur Park, touting Esperanto
as a great ecological contribution to the environment because of all the trees it would save from unnecessary translations
between languages. ...That flyer also had a tear-off section on the back for anybody interested in a class. We got about
10 responses (out of 1,000 flyers handed out), and two of my friends and mentors convinced me to teach the class (with their
help). That is when I feel I became truly fluent.
In 1965, while still a dilettante, I actually composed my first song in Esperanto, and since the 1970s, I composed (music
and lyrics) several more, and I have performed my songs many times over the years at various Esperanto meetings and gatherings.
In the 1970s and 1980s, I was nicknamed "La Esperanto-Trubaduro" (The Esperanto Troubadour) by Cathy Schultze, a prominent
Esperantist who, with her husband Bill, headed the Esperanto Information Center then in Hillsboro, CA. One of my current
planned projects is to set up a youtube channel for my "kantaro" (song collection), insofar as there is no permanent or physical
evidence of any of my performances, since I never made any actual records (although a few songs were recorded on audiotape
over the years, but it is unknown if any are still viable).
Scope and Contents
The J. Tilman Williams, Oazo de Esperanto, and Esperanto Club of Los Angeles Collection (1900-February 2018, bulk 1927-1960)
documents the Esperanto language, as well as localized and personalized views of members within the community living in Los
Angeles and throughout the world. It consists of 25.75 linear feet of letters, photographs, posters, publications, yearbooks,
instructional material, directories, realia, ephemera, and other material related to the constructed language, Esperanto and
the Esperanto speaking community. The collection is comprised of mostly material donated to the Esperanto Club of Los Angeles,
later the Esperanto Association of Los Angeles, and includes material from Joseph Scherer, William West Glenny, Charles Chomette,
Brian Neil Burg, and other Esperantists who contributed to the Esperanto movement in the United States. A large portion of
the personal material are letters that discuss the Esperanto movement, answer Esperanto related questions, and talk about
the family and everyday life of members of the community. Charles Chomette had regular pen-pals from Japan, Poland, and
China who would send letters and photographs of their family and Esperanto clubs.
The personal material also includes ephemera from Joseph Scherer. Scherer was a world traveler, lecturer, and worked in Hollywood
during the 1930s and 1940s on movies that used Esperanto. Within the collection, there are large posters from his world lectures,
photographs from his travels, and documents and letters discussing his lectures. There are also photographs and documents
from different Hollywood films he worked on such as,
Idiot's Delight and
Road to Signapore.
Besides the personal material, the collection includes periodicals, publications, and instructional material. The periodicals
and publications are dedicated to the Esperanto community throughout the United States, China, Korea, and other countries.
The publications include
American Esperantists, Esperanto Oficiala Organo de Universala Esperanto, Usona Esperantisto, La Revuo Internacia Monata Literatura
Gazeto, Vocoj el Oriento
Heroldo de Esperanto. The instructional material includes dictionaries, grammar books, and instructional books and documents for adults and children
on how to speak Esperanto. This material is in a variety of different languages, including French, Spanish, Polish, Hungarian,
and English so that Esperanto could be learned regardless of what the user's native language.
Topics related to this collection include the Esperanto community, the Esperanto community in Los Angeles, studies and teaching,
Esperantists, and Esperanto organizations.
The collection was initally processed by Stella Castillo in 2018. It was completed in 2019 by Jennifer Hill.
The J. Tilman Williams, Oazo de Esperanto, and Esperanto Club of Los Angeles Collection was donated on behalf of J. Tilman
Williams and Oazo de Esperanto in 2018 by Brian Neil Burg, a former member of the Esperanto Club of Los Angeles. The material
from the collection is comprised of smaller collections initially donated to the Esperanto Club of Los Angeles from members
and includes some material from Brian Neil Burg. Some of the original collection came into Brian's possession following the
death of fellow member William West Glenny in 1989. Since 1989, Brian continued to house the material until it was donated
Subjects and Indexing Terms