Do you recognize this language? Is it perhaps Swedish, or Russian? It's actually Volapük!
Volapük was created in 1879 in Germany by Johann Schleyer and was intended to be used as a universal language. While largely forgotten now, during the late 1800s, Volapük had a large, international community of speakers and featured Volapük conferences held across the globe.
Volapük proved quite popular in Worcester, and the city boasted its own Volapük speakers' group. The group hosted many events to promote the use of Volapük across the city. Some of Worcester's more prominent citizens were Volapük speakers, and a column regarding the Volapük language was regularly published during the 1890s in the Worcester society newspaper Light, as shown above.
In 1892, Worcester hosted the 3rd annual conference of the North American Volapük Association. Conference attendees dined at a banquet featuring the menu shown above. The guests sampled food such as Legot Melopik (turkey) and Pods in Meilavat (apple fritters). The menu was added to the library's collection in 1892 and has been on our shelves for 124 years. This is just one small example of how our Worcester Room and local history collection preserves Worcester's rich and diverse history. If you're interested in the history of the city, stop by the library and see what we have to offer.