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Albert Einstein Inscribed Photograph, 10" x 12", showing the physicist handsomely dressed in his early forties, shortly afte...

2010 February Signature Historical Manuscripts Auction #6039

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Auction Ended On: Feb 11, 2010
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Oversized portrait of Einstein taken during his first visit to America
Albert Einstein Inscribed Photograph, 10" x 12", showing the physicist handsomely dressed in his early forties, shortly after he decided to let his graying hair grow longer. Einstein has inscribed below the photo in blue ink in German, "Something to remember us by, dedicated in friendship to an ardent awakener of the Jewish soul and one who successfully fought for our university. Albert Einstein May 1921." During the spring of 1921, Einstein, already a celebrity, made his first visit to America drawing large crowds of reporters and the curious, and meeting President Harding in April. While in New York City, the New York Times (April 3, 1921) reported that "He looked like an artist." Sometime near that date, he had this photograph taken by Herman Mishkin's photography studio (stamped "Mishkin N.Y." in lower right).

Einstein's visit was the result of his acceptance of an invitation to accompany Chaim Weizmann, the president of the World Zionist Organization, on a fundraising tour of the eastern United States. Weizmann used the popular Einstein to draw crowds and increase donations, which would be used to help Jews settle Palestine. It was only after the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany following World War I that the physicist embraced his Jewish legacy and identity, thereby adopting Zionism. One of his key interests in the movement was the proposed Jewish university to be located in Jerusalem, which is certainly what he refers to in this inscription (Hebrew University opened in 1925). In early May 1921, Einstein and Weizmann visited Princeton University (which Einstein liked) and Harvard University (which he didn't). At Princeton, Einstein lectured for a week, but during his two-day visit to Harvard, he spent most of his time with Weizmann attending Zionist dinners and rallies. The photo could have been inscribed during those two days and given to an unnamed supporter. Another, and more attractive, possibility is that the photo was inscribed and given to Weizmann, who was also an advocate for the university and later served with Einstein on the university's first Board of Governors. The photo has minor soiling on verso. Fine condition.

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