The Esperanto Museum in Vienna has for a long time been mainly regarded as a museum and library concerning Esperanto and constructed languages, but in fact, since its foundation in 1927, it has also been home to content-rich archives.
Today the Esperanto Museum curates 72 personal and institutional archives. The first large archives arrived as far back as the start of the 1930s, such as the Hachette Collection, which consists of 17,403 newspaper articles from 1898 to 1915, arranged by country and chronology. By the year 2023, the entire Hachette Collection will have been digitised, but the first roughly 5000 newspaper articles are already freely available to read on our website.
While numerically small, one archive particularly deserves mention: the Zamenhof Family Collection, which contains over 300 pieces of correspondence, both copies and originals, by members of the Zamenhof family. Most of these archive items, of which 55 have already been digitised and are freely available online, were written by Ludwik, Zofia and Lidia Zamenhof. The picture shows a postcard from Ludwik L. Zamenhof to Theodor Čejka, Warsaw 1906-02-28 (Call number: ÖNB ESP V50/1.B.Čej.1).
Another important archive is the estate of Kálmán Kalocsay (1891–1976), much of which has been catalogued and can be explored via the Trovanto search engine or consulted in the Planned Languages Collection reading room. The estate mainly consists of photos, picture postcards and items of correspondence, among which especially noteworthy are those with Marjorie Boulton (1924–2017), Hilda Dresen (1896–1981), Reinhard Haupenthal (1945–2016), Aleksandr Logvin (1902–1979), Masao Miyamoto (1913–1989), Tomáš Pumpr (1906–1972), Juan Régulo Pérez (1914–1993), Nikolaj Rytjkov (1913–1973) and Gaston Waringhien (1901–1991). From that same archive, the scans of over 600 documentary photographs can already be found in our database ÖNB Digital, which now contains a total of more than 26,000 freely consultable digital documents about Esperanto – a number that is constantly increasing.
Over the last seven years, the following archives have reached the Esperanto Museum:
- In 2015, the estates of Max Talmey (1869–1941), of Engelbert Pigal (1899–1978), and the then premature legacy of Otto Back (1926–2018).
- In 2016, an item from the estate of Charles-Ange Laisant (1841–1920), the archive of Innsbruck Esperanto Club, and part of the estate of Daniel Luez (1924–2013).
- In 2017, the Lenke Szász collection with letters from Marjorie Boulton.
- In 2018, the estate of André Albault (1923–2017), the Thiele Wüster collection about Eugen Wüster (1898–1977), an item from the premature legacy of Trevor Steele (1940-), the archive of the “Estonto Linz” Esperanto club, and part of the estate of Lena Karpunina (1963–2013).
- In 2019, an item from the estate of actor Petăr Vasilev (1911–2009) and the Juan Régulo Pérez archive.
- The Juan Régulo Pérez archive, which is currently being sorted, contains a few thousand pieces of correspondence from the publisher with the most important Esperanto writers of his day. Although cataloguing will only begin once sorting is complete, researchers can right now request a list of the currently sorted documents.
These archives from various people and instituions complement each other very well, making the work of research scientists considerably easier and more effective.