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Volapük Collection, American Philosophical Society

"Created by the German priest Johann Martin Schleyer in 1879, Volapük ("World's Speech") was the first artificial language to gain wide spread popularity as a prospective form of universal communication. During the 1880s, Volapük clubs were formed throughout Europe and the Americas, with a particularly active center in eastern Massachussetts, however it was gradually replaced by its somewhat less elaborate rival, Esperanto. The Volapük Collection includes printed materials, ephemera, and small number of letters and postcards written in Volapük. Assembled by F. L. Hutchins of Worcester, Mass., a leading American Volapükist, the collection reflects the brief, but intense international interest in the potential of Volapük to become a lingua franca of business and a medium for exchange across borders, and it conveys some of the excitement its adherents felt at its potential."

"North American Association for the Propagation of Volapük; Volapükaklub Nolumelopik; Volapükaklub de Worcester"

"Creelman, G. C.; Hutchins, F. L.; Schleyer, Johann Martin, 1831-1912; Sprague, Charles Ezra, 1842-1912"

Volapük Collection
1888-1891
              (0.25 linear feet)
              

408.9 Ar7v

                    ©<a href="http://www.amphilsoc.org/">
                       American Philosophical Society
</a>
105 South Fifth Street * Philadelphia, PA 19106-3386
<img src="http://www.amphilsoc.org/library/images/logofade.gif" alt=" American Philosophical Society 105 South Fifth Street Philadelphia, PA 19106-3386 ">
                 Table of contents
                 
                    Abstract
Created by the German priest Johann Martin Schleyer in 1879, Volapük ("World's Speech") was the first artificial language
                    to gain wide spread popularity as a prospective form of universal communication.  During the 1880s, Volapük clubs were formed
                    throughout Europe and the Americas, with a particularly active center in eastern Massachussetts, however it was gradually
                    replaced by its somewhat less elaborate rival, Esperanto.
                    

The Volapük Collection includes printed materials, ephemera, and small number of letters and postcards written in Volapük.
                    Assembled by F. L. Hutchins of Worcester, Mass., a leading American Volapükist, the collection reflects the brief, but intense
                    international interest in the potential of Volapük to become a lingua franca of business and a medium for exchange across
                    borders, and it conveys some of the excitement its adherents felt at its potential.
                    
  • <a href="#bioghist">Background note</a>
  • <a href="#scopecontent">Scope & content</a>
  • <a href="#admininfo">Administrative information</a>
    • <a href="#restrictions">Restrictions</a>
    • <a href="#provenance">Provenance</a>
    • <a href="#prefercite">Prefered citation</a>
    • <a href="#processinfo">Processing information</a>
    • <a href="#altformavail">Alternate formats available</a>
  • <a href="#additionalinfo">Additional information</a>
    • <a href="#separatedmaterial">Separated material</a>
    • <a href="#relatedmaterial">Related material</a>
  • <a href="#controlaccess">Added entries</a>
  • <a href="#contact">Contact information</a>
  • <a href="#in-depth">Collection inventory</a>
    • <a href="#boxfolder1">Volapük Exhibit, 1889-1891</a>
<a id="bioghist"></a>
Background note
Although the concept of an artificial international language predates the eighteenth century, it was not until the late nineteenth
           century that it hit its stride.  The rise of nationalisms (and antinationalisms) made the period a particularly fruitful one
           for universal languages, beginning with the appearance of Volapük ("World's Speech") in 1879, followed by Esperanto (1887),
           and Ido, or improved Esperanto (1907).  All three have retained devotees into the present.


The first planned language to gain any degree of success, Volapük was the brain child of Johann Martin Schleyer (1831-1912),
           a Catholic priest from southern Germany who claimed to have received divine inspiration to improve international communication.
           Benefitting from a heavily systematized grammar, a rigorously consistency, and a clear method of word formation, Volapük aimed
           for ease of pronunciation and spelling, monosignificance of words (each word having only one meaning), and clarity in syntax
           and gender.  At the same time, Schleyer made every effort to capture the richness and nuance of a natural language.  His efforts,
           to say the least, struck a chord.  During the 1880s, Volapük was wildly successful at attracting adherents drawn to the utopian
           dream of universal communication, with estimates of over 100,000 adherents at its peak of popularity.  The language was spread
           through the formation of Volapük clubs, which sprang up throughout Europe and the Americas, and three International Congresses
           were held during the 1880s to promulgate the language, the first in Germany in 1884, followed by others in 1887 and 1889.
           


The decline of Volapük, however, was not long in coming. After the congress of 1889, Schleyer's vehement resistance to any
           alteration in his original conception eroded support, and the language began a slow decline relative to the upstart Esperanto.
           The problems with Volapük can be traced largely to internal causes, not only Schleyer's intransigence, but the complexity
           of verb forms, which featured a vast number of different endings to connoting subtle shades of meaning, its overly complex
           grammar, and its arbitrary choice of roots that made Volapük a chore for Europeans and Americans to learn.  In the years following
           Schleyer's death in 1912, Volapük went into near total eclipse, enjoying only a brief revival in the Netherlands in the 1930s
           and, until the Nazis suppressed it, in Germany, as well.  Arie de Jong's revision of 1931 (Volapük pebevoböl) made some significant
           improvements to Schleyer's idiosyncratic system, including in verb structures, tense, and grammar, however Volapük pebevoböl
           never regained the popularity of its parent.  By the 1960s, only a handful of speakers remained, and these mostly Esperantists
           seeking little more than a point of linguistic comparison.


<a id="scopecontent"></a>
Scope and content
The Volapük Collection consists of approximately 0.25 linear feet of printed circular letters, newspapers, pamphlets, and
           ephemera, with a few hand-written postcards and letters, all relating to the first flowering of Volapük during the late 1880s
           and early 1890s.  The collection reflects the brief, but intense international interest in the potential of Volapük to become
           a lingua franca of business and a medium for exchange across borders, and conveys some of the excitement its adherents felt
           at its potential.

The Volapük Collection appears to have been gathered largely by the American Volapükist, F. L. Hutchins of Worcester, Mass.,
           probably for an informational exhibit on the language.  Hutchins was involved both in his local Volapük club (the Volapükaklub
           de Worcester) and in the national Volapükaklub Nolumelopik (North American Association for the Propagation of Volapük), and
           the collection provides a slight, but balanced view of his internationalist aims.  In addition to letters from European Volapükists,
           Hutchins displayed a letter in Volapük from China, and newspapers, promotional and informational circulars and publications
           in Volapük published by American Volapük advocates from Massachusetts to Portland, Oregon.  Among the more interesting materials
           are a set of announcements for the First Annual Convention of American Volapükists and two circular letters (folder 33) describing
           the progress of Volapük in North America.  Although most of these periodicals are represented by only a single issue, the
           geographic breadth of coverage is intriguing.

The collection has been retained in the order in which it was received, despite its somewhat chaotic nature. Several folders
           contain what appear to be exhibit labels (the text of which is transcribed in the descriptive notes below).  Except as noted,
           all of the materials in the collection are printed or 
           lithographic copies, intended for mass circulation.

<a id="admininfo"></a>
           Administrative information
           
<a id="restrictions"></a>
Restrictions
None.

<a id="provenance"></a>
           Provenance
           
<a id="acqinfo"></a>
Acquired from M&S, June 1973 (accession number 1973-1167ms).

<a id="prefercite"></a>
Preferred citation
Cite as: Volapük Collection, American Philosophical Society.

<a id="processinfo"></a>
Processing information
Recatalogued by rsc, 2002.

<a id="altformavail"></a>
Alternate formats
The collection is completely microfilmed, Film 1319.

<a id="phystech"></a>

<a id="additionalinfo"></a>
           Additional information
           
<a id="separatedmaterial"></a>
Separated material
A broadside was removed from the collection to the Printed Materials Department:

Volapükaklub in Leitmeritz läsevom atoso söli Hutchins F. L. (Lietmeritz, 1891). Call no.: 973 C683, no.723

<a id="relatedmaterial"></a>
Related material
Volapük Centre, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, Catalog of Contents, comp. by Brian R. Bishop (Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, 1981). Call no.: 400 Pam., no.56

<a id="controlaccess"></a>

Added entries
                 Subjects
                 
  • Languages, Artificial</li>
  • North American Association for the Propagation of Volapük</li>
  • Volapük</li>
  • Volapükaklub de Worcester</li>
  • Volapükaklub Nolumelopik</li>

  •                  Contributors
                     
    
  • Creelman, G. C.</li>
  • Hutchins, F. L.</li>
  • Schleyer, Johann Martin, 1831-1912</li>
  • Sprague, Charles Ezra, 1842-1912</li>

  •                  Genre terms
                     
    
  • Broadsides</li>
  • Circular letters</li>
  • Postcards</li>

  • <a id="contact"></a>
                           Contact information
                           
    
                                 American Philosophical Society
                                 
                                 
    105 South Fifth Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19106-3386

    <a href="http://www.amphilsoc.org/"> [1]</a><p> ©2002

                              </p>
    

    <a id="in-depth"></a>
    Detailed inventory
    <a id="boxfolder1"></a>
    Volapük Exhibit 1889-1891 33 folders

    Exhibit card n.d. 1 item

    World-Speech Volapük n.d. 1 item

    "Merits adoption, Melidom lensumi": Reasons to learn Volapük


    Sprague, Charles E.,
                  Hand-book of Volapük (N.Y.: Office Co., 1888)
    
    1888 2 items: 2p. and 8p. pamphlet

    Specimen pages


    Price list of Volapük Publications n.d. 4p.

    Addenda to Wood's Dictionary of Volapük n.d. 1p.

    Specimen pages


    Schleyer'a literat Volapük (Konstanz: C. Okle, n.d.) n.d. 4p.

    Labob stimi nunön oli atoso dö fünam Danotabura Volapükik tedelik 1889 3p.

    "Circular describing a bureau designed to advise as to standing of any commercial house in the world conducted through and by means of Volapük and Volapükans," Milan, Italy


    Association Polytechnique de Charenton et Saint-Maurice,
                  ...Programme des Cours
    
    1889-1890 1p. circular

    "Circular showing Volapük as study in Polytechnique Association of Charenton, a suburb of Paris, Franch."


    Mehmke, R.,
                  Nüns Gletavik (Fovot 2id)
    
    1889 1p.

    "Mathematics translated into Volapük for use in University of Darmstadt, Germany"


    Kittel, Hans,
                  Sül palestimöl e paflen!
    
    1889 2p. lithograph circular

    Volapükaklub Nolumelopik (North American Association for the Propagation of Volapük),
                  Constitution
    
    ca.1890 2p.

    Volapükaklub Nolumelopik (North American Association for the Propagation of Volapük),
                  List of members
    
    1889 4p.

    Volapükaklub Nolumelopik (North American Association for the Propagation of Volapük),
                  First Annual Convention of American Volapükists... Boston, Mass.
    
    August 21, 22, 23, 1890 4p.

    Announcement of Convention


    Volapükaklub Nolumelopik (North American Association for the Propagation of Volapük),
                  You are cordially invited to attend the Public Session of the First Annual Convention of the N.A.A.P.V.
    
    1889 2p. invitation

    Volapükaklub Nolumelopik (North American Association for the Propagation of Volapük),
                  Admit bearer and friends to the Volapük exhibit
    
    1890 1p. ticket

    Volapükaklub Nolumelopik (North American Association for the Propagation of Volapük),
                  [Invitation to dinner]
    
    [1890] 1p.

    Volapükaklub Nolumelopik (North American Association for the Propagation of Volapük),
                  Constitution
    
    1889 2p.

    Volapükaklub Nolumelopik (North American Association for the Propagation of Volapük),
                  Volapükaklub Nolumelopik
    
    July 21, 1890 1p.

    Announcement of First Annual Convention of North American Volapükists.


    Danelson, James Edwin,
                  Circular letter concerning organizing a Volapük club in New York
    
    August 5, 1890 1p.

    World-Speech Volapük n.d. 1 item

    "Merits adoption, Melidom lensumi": Reasons to learn Volapük. See also same item in folder 1:2.


    Volapükaklub Flentänik,
                  I. Lovepolam in pük netik
    
    1886 3p.

    "Circular of French Volapük Club concerning the issuing of Diplomas"


    Post, Alfred A. (North American Association for Propagation of Volapük),
                  Circular letter
    
    189- 1p., 2 copies

    Includes list of "Volapük Text-Books" on verso.


    Post, Alfred A.,
                  The need of a comprehensive dictionary of Volapük for English students...
    
    ca.1890 1p.

    Circular letter.


    Sprague, Charles E.,
                  Dictionary of Volapük...
    
    ca.1890 1p.

    Advertising flier for M. W. Wood's Dictionary.


    Hutchins, F. L.,
                  Telegram to A. A. Post
    
    February 1891 1p.

    "Volapük telegram in use of which 7 words were saved"


    Hughes, W. J.,
                  Li kapälol Volapüki? Works on Volapük
    
    n.d. 1p.

    Litho. price list.


    Volapükabled Däna 1889 8p.

    Danish Volapük-language periodical.


    Hughes, W. J.,
                  Volapük
    
    n.d. 1p.

    Notification of magazine, Volapük


    Soprague, Charles E.,
                  Volapük
    
    ca.1890 1p. postcard

    Information on the language


    Beale, Charles C.,
                  Volapük Headquarters...
    
    ca.1890 1p. postcard

    Notice of receipt of subscription for magazine Volapük.


    Post, Alfred A.,
                  The need of a comprehensive dictionary of Volapük for English students...
    
    ca.1890 1p.

    Circular letter.


    Huebsch, Samuel.,
                  Volapük, A Guide for Learning the Universal Language
    
    August 15, 1889 1p. postcard

    Notification of availability of two works on Volapük.


    What is Volapük? ca.1887 2p.

    Avantages et utilité du Volapük n.d. 2p.

    In French.


    Zeitungs-Auszüge n.d. 2p.

    Extracts from newspapers on Volapük, in German.


    Wéltspràchelíteratúr n.d. 2p.

    In German.


    Zirkular Nr. 285 n.d. 2p.

    In German.


    Nogan Volapükik 1889-1890 16p.

    "Organ of Volapük for Belgium and Holland published in Antwerp."


    Van Kuo T'ung Hua Tzu Tien n.d. 13p.

    "Chinese Volapük Paper published in Amoy, China."


    Volapükabled Däna 1889 4p.

    Prospectus(?), "Volapük Gazette, Organ for Denmark and Scandinavians published at Copenhagen."


    Auszug aus dem zweiten Blatte des "Essener Zeitung"... Volapük 1881 2p.

    In German.


    Volapükaklub de Gent,
                  Card
    
    n.d. 1p.

    Miscellaneous envelopes 1890-1891 5 items

    Miscellaneous envelopes from European Voluapuk clubs.


    [Item not included]


    "Paper published in Milano, Italy"


    The Bouquet January 1, 1891 2p.

    Article on Volapük in popular magazine.


    Beale's Volapük Leaflets, no. 5 n.d. 8p.

    Schwäbische Weltsprachezeitung 1880 8p.

    Number 1. "Paper published in Allmendinger, Wurttemburg."


    Volanunel 1890 8p.

    Number 3. "Paper published at Prague, Bohemia."


    Volapükan 1890 8p.

    Number 25. Paper published in Munich, Germany


    Pakamabled Nedänik n.d. 6p.

    Number 2. Paper published in s'Heerenhoek, Netherlands.


    Volapük correspondence 1890 5 ALsS

    Miscellaneous manuscript letters written in Volapük from Alfons de Cock (Belgium); R. Mehmke (Darmstadt, Germany); Winsum (Breda, Germany); A. Hullebrouck (Antwerp, Belgium); illeg. (Amoy, China)


    World-Speech Volapük n.d. 1 item

    "Merits adoption, Melidom lensumi": Reasons to learn Volapük. Same as folder 1:2.


    Cogabled 1888 8p.

    Number 24, "Comic paper published in Munich, Bavaria.".


    Veizapot 1891 4p.

    Number 5; Volapük newspaper from Zurich, Switzerland.


    Cuyper, B. de,
                  [Invitation]
    
    May 22, 1891 1p.

    In French, "Invitation to a musicale and to lecture concerning Volapük by Prof. J. de Hoon, Gent, Germany.".


    Gased Bevünetik 1890 16p.

    Vol. 1, no. 5, "Published in St. Louis, Mo., USA".


    Schleyer, Johann Martin,
                  Kurze Vergleichende Grammatik der Weltsprache (Glamat Blefik Feleigöl volapüka) (Konstanz: von Schleyers, 1887)
    
    1887 12p.

    "Volapük Grammars".


    Volapük. (Universal language) 1887 4p.

    Pronunciation sheet and grammatical information


    Starck, H.,
                  Auszug aus dem Welstracheblatte nr. 51...
    
    n.d. 2p.

    Emilie, Paul,
                  Liebe Freunde und Sprachkunstgenossen!
    
    n.d. 1p.

    Volapükan Melopik 1891 6p.

    Vol. 1, no. 21 and 22; "American Volapükist published in Portland, Oregon"


    Volapükabled Tälik 1889 8p.

    Vol. 2, no. 13; "Italian Volapük Paper, published in Torino, Italy"


    Extract from the Speech about Volapük: Advantages and usefulnes of the world-language n.d. 2p.

    Vorzüge Nutzen und Vorteile der Weltsprache / Bizugs ä pöfüds Volapüka 1890 2p.

    Phrases in German (and Volapük equivalents) extolling the virtues of Volapük


    Sezüks se Bükots n.d. 2p.

    Snippets praising Volapük, in Volapük.


    Volapükabled Zenodik 1890 4p.

    No. 109; "Father Schleyer's own paper, 1st number of the 10th year"


    Miscellaneous postcards 1889-1891 8 postcards

    Postcards, in Volapük, addressed to F. L. Hutchins and others


    Miscellaneous envelopes ca.1890 8 items

    Miscellaneous postcards 1889-1891 8 postcards

    Postcards, in Volapük, addressed to F. L. Hutchins and others


    Souvenir of Lecture on Volapük at Trinity Church, Worcester, Mass. April 13, 1891 4p.

    Brief poem in English and facing Volapük.


    Calling cards n.d. 5 items

    Miscellaneous envelopes n.d. 8 items

    Envelopes from European Volapükists.


    Miscellaneous postcards 1890-1891 8 postcards

    Postcards from European Volapükists, in Volapük, including one from Paul Champ Rigot.


    Miscellaneous letters in Volapük 1889-1891 5 ALsS

    Manuscript letters, in Volapük, addressed to F. L. Hutchins, including one from Paul Champ Rigot.


    Zeitungs- und Brief-Auszüge über Volapük n.d. 2p.

    In German.


    Söl e läd Lewis E. DeWolfe 1890 1p. AMs

    Manuscript poem.


    Creelman, G. C.,
                  Volapükaklub de Worcester
    
    n.d. 1p.

    In facing Volapük and English; circular letter soliciting membership


    Hutchins, F. L.,
                  Volapük Lifomöz
    
    Sept. 19, 1891 1p. (2 copies)

    In English; mimeo(?) copies addressed to members of the Volapükaklub Nolümelopik apprising them of progress in Volapük efforts.


    Hutchins, F. L.,
                  Circular of information concerning Volapük
    
    July 13, 1891 1p. (2 copies)

    In English and facing Volapük; litho. copy to members of the Worcester Volapük Club et al., providing international news on Volapük.

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