I have been a member of EAB for nine years now (on and off) and am currently in one of my 'keen phases'. As such, I was recently sorting out my Esperanto books when I came across one that is a little piece of Esperanto history.
Eight years ago, whilst working in London, I discovered my most treasured Esperanto possession in an Oxfam shop in Marylebone High Street. For 50p I purchased a copy of Millidge's 'The Esperanto-English Dictionary', published in 1924 and reprinted in 1931.
Not only is this an excellent dictionary, but the adverts to be found in the back provide a little bit of Esperanto history also. The first is for a magazine entitled 'International Language' and for 'Cox's Esperanto Grammar and Commentary'. The second is for the BEA, then to be found in High Holborn.
For one born in the age of faxes and e-mail, it is interesting to see a reminder of days gone by when telephone numbers were given with the name of a small local exchange, and telegrams were still in existence. Also, it is a pity that 'International Language' is no longer published as it sounds like a very interesting magazine, and just what a perpetual learner like me needs! (I would have loved to have been able to write this letter in Esperanto!)
But in addition to the adverts, the other thing about this dictionary that makes it special to me is the signature, in pencil, on the fly sheet – M.C. Butler.
As the owner of a second-hand copy of his 'Step by Step in Esperanto', it is a strange feeling to be handling a book that someone such as he once owned (and that is twice my age – I'm 32).
Other than knowing that M.C. Butler wrote texts books for the teaching of Esperanto (and that he once owned a copy of Millidge!) I know nothing about him.
Perhaps La Brita Esperantisto could run a series (in English, or beginner's Esperanto, please!) on the people, at home and abroad, who have had a role in shaping and promoting the language. I know that I would find such a series interesting, and am sure that many other 'youngsters' such as myself would also.
(There was an article about M.C. Butler under the title 'Maja morno' in LBE, sep–okt 1994. I have sent a photocopy of this to Mr Perry – but it proves just how ephemeral are the contents of magazines! We obviously need some kind of encyclopaedia. His idea of a series, however, is a good one and I shall be giving it some attention. – Ed.)