Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Albert Einstein Autograph Letter Signed "Albert". Two pages, front and back, 7.5" x 11.25", Caputh, Germany; October 21, 1932. In a letter, written in German, to his friend Michele Besso, Einstein writes about his son Eduard's condition, the current economy, and the theory of spinors. Two years prior, Eduard (nicknamed Tetel) had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had been sent to a Zurich asylum for care. His letter, translated into English, reads in full:

    "How could I possibly be angry with you? I have never witnessed you saying or doing anything with any intention other than to do good. And so it was in Tetel's case as well. I also invited him to come to America (Princeton) next year. This year, it would not have worked so well, because things, and especially my commitments, are more precarious in California. Rather than recreation, it would have been dangerous stress for Tetel. Unfortunately, all the signs suggest that the serious family affliction will affect him vitally. I have seen it coming, slowly but relentlessly, since Tetel's adolescence. In these types of cases, the external occasions and influences play only a small part compared to the secretory causes about which nobody can do anything. The reason why I am not able to take care of Tetel as much as I would wish lies with the calamitous external forces that surround him. Now Albert [Einstein's other son Hans Albert] married a woman who, I am convinced, is just as insincere and cunning as Mileva - and equally afflicted by heredity. I requested a statement from them that either they accept my last will or that the Nobel Prize pledged to Mileva should be counted towards the children's inheritance. However, they shirked from dealing with this matter, and I realized that after my death they want to seize all of the inheritance. I cannot allow this, though, because it would really be unfair. Such matters reveal what one should think of a person, and one must not close one's eyes, even though it may be a bitter revelation. I believe that Tetel is a person with more decent attitudes and views. However, he is ill and subjected to bad influence. I will still try to do as much for my unfortunate son as I am able.

    I thought your little articles were nice but a little erratic and not worked out very well in terms of logic. It is a shame that you do not exert the energy needed to formulate your good ideas clearly. With regard to the current crisis, I believe that our economy has a fundamental flaw: it suffers from a surplus of unqualified labor. It has always been that way but is true more than ever now. I am not a Socialist or a Communist. I have my doubts that there can be healthy productivity within a centrally planned economy. However, I do believe that the community would have to reduce the supply of unskilled labor by restrictive measures in order to keep wages high enough to allow the masses to buy the produced goods. Without such measures, a large number of people - specifically all unskilled workers - will be brought down to an ignoble subsistence level and a considerable fraction of them will be edged out of the economic cycle and thereby crushed. Together with my Dr. Mayer, I am working on the theory of spinors. We have already been able to reason out the mathematical coherences. We are still far off from comprehending the physical aspect, much farther away than is generally thought nowadays. In particular, I am still convinced that the attempt at devising a fundamentally statistical theory will fail."

    Included with the letter is the original transmittal cover, addressed to Michele Besso. On the cover's back, Besso has written a short forwarding letter to an unknown third recipient. Dated October 25, 1932, his short note reads:

    "I do not want to hesitate any longer to communicate this letter to you. Of course, it is questionable whether few of the people who surrounded him these days are 'interested'. However, one has to try to understand how it feels within his heart. Please return it to me soon because I want to write back soon, among other things to explain the mathematical theory upon which my essays are based and to which Stodola took [illegible] with interest."

    Sadly, Einstein would never see his son Eduard again. Einstein left Germany on a trip to California in December 1932, and Hitler assumed power in Germany in 1933. Einstein never returned to Europe. Einstein's theory of spinors would eventually become the Einstein-Cartan theory.

    Condition: Toned throughout, with flattened mail folds. Else very good. The envelope has usual signs of wear and soiling. The stamps have been removed.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    14th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 841

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on May 14, 2019 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 September 25 - 26 Including the Mahoney Collection of George Washington Inaugural Buttons. Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search