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Lot # 1242 (of 1411)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1939 Albert Einstein Signed Letter and Elsa Einstein Autograph Letter

Starting Bid - $400.00, Sold For - $2,900.00

Offered here is an archive of letters, all dating from 1939, comprised of a typed letter signed by Albert Einstein, a handwritten letter signed by his wife Elsa, and copies of two letters from Dr. Edward Barsky writing, respectively, to Einstein and his daughter Margot on behalf of the Medical Aid Committee of the Spanish Refugee Relief Campaign. On June 6, 1939 Barsky wrote to Einstein and asked for permission to use Einstein's name in sponsorship of the Medical Aid Committee. When Barsky did not receive a response to his letter he then wrote (on June 16th) to Margot Einstein asking for her help in contacting him. Copies of both of those letters are included here, with the second letter reading in part: "I understand, from Dr. Abraham Flexner, that Professor Einstein is away on vacation. Much as we dislike to interrupt his holiday, we need an answer to our request with all possible speed. Could you take care of this for us? Our stationery must be ordered, and our campaign plans set up, within the next few days..." Margot dutifully took care of the matter, for typed along the top border of the second letter is the notation "Please forward to summer address." Einstein's reply came one week later in the form of a brief one-page typed letter, dated "June 23, 1939 - Nassau Point, Peconic L.I.N.Y." and addressed to Dr. Edward K. Barsky. In the one-sentence reply, which is written in German, Einstein agrees to the use of his name on the sponsor list. He has signed the letter "A Einstein" in black fountain pen ("9"). The letter bears his personal embossed stamp at the top with his name ("A. Einstein") as well as his Princeton address ("112 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey, USA."). Included with those three related documents is a three-page (three sides of a fold-over sheet) handwritten letter signed by Elsa Einstein, Einstein's wife. The letter, which is written entirely in German, is dated June 30th (no year) and appears to be written to Barsky, although he is not mentioned by name. It is signed "Elsa Einstein" in black fountain pen ("10"). Elsa was Einstein's second wife and Margot was one of two daughters she had with her first husband. Although the Albert Einstein signed letter contains no scientific content, its date of origin and the location from which it was sent is quite significant. Einstein was enjoying a sailing vacation in Peconic on the northern tip of Long Island, New York during the summer of 1939. It was during that vacation, sometime in mid July (about fourteen days after the offered letter was written) that Einstein was visited by Hungarian physicists Leo Szilard and Eugene Wigner. At that meeting they informed Einstein of the United States' lack of understanding with regard to the potential destructive capabilities of an atomic weapon. Their greatest fear was that the Germans would produce such a weapon and thus drastically alter the course of war in their favor. Having had no influence on government officials up to that point, they felt that Einstein's voice, because of his stature in the scientific community, would not fall on deaf government ears. Though a pacifist, Einstein concurred that this was one race the United States could not afford to lose and he agreed to write a letter to President Roosevelt urging the establishment of an atomic energy project. He formally did so on August 2nd, and although Roosevelt agreed at first only to establish a uranium committee, a large-scale atomic project finally became a reality on December 6, 1942, one day before Pearl Harbor. The Einstein signed letter (8.5 x 11 inches) has normal mailing fold lines, a few tiny edge tears, a staple hole, and a couple of small, light creases. The initials "HT" are written in pencil in the upper right corner. Very Good to Excellent condition. The two copy letters from Barsky (8,5 x 11 inches) are in Good to Very Good condition with a number of edge tears, chips and separation along the fold lines. The Elsa Einstein letter (6.25 x 7.75 inches, folded) is in Excellent condition. LOA from Steve Grad & Zach Rullo/PSA DNA. Reserve $400. Estimate $800/$1,200. SOLD FOR $2,900.00


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