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    Einstein comments on Princeton's practice of not appointing Jewish professors to its faculty

    Albert Einstein Typed Letter Signed "A. Einstein." One page on his personal blind embossed letterhead, 8.5" x 11"; Princeton, New Jersey; May 2, 1936. Einstein writes, in German, to Hans Reichenbach, concerning Princeton's practice of not hiring Jews to faculty positions and Reichenbach's continuing work on his theory of probability. An English translation of the letter is presented in full:

    Dear Reichenbach:

    Carnap told me recently that Princeton had no intention to offer any position to a Jew. Even here, not everything that glitters is gold, and who knows what tomorrow shall bring. Perhaps the savages are yet the more humane humans.

    I was very impressed by your theory of probabilities. I believe it will greatly contribute to solving those fundamental issues. The longer I ponder the question, I am getting increasingly convinced that quantum theoretical methods will never be compatible with relativity.

    With cordial greetings,

    Your A. Einstein

    At the time Einstein sent this letter, Reichenbach was teaching at the University of Istanbul, while Einstein was working at the Princeton Institute of Advanced Study, having fled Germany three years earlier due to the rise of Hitler. Einstein and others had arranged a faculty appointment at New York University for Reichenbach, but the latter had to decline due to a five-year contract in Istanbul.

    In his letter, Einstein refers to Rudolph Carnap (1891-1970), a German-born philosopher who was a close friend of Reichenbach and at the time was on the faculty at the University of Chicago, and Carnap's claim concerning Princeton and Jews. Einstein's comment on Princeton's practice of not appointing Jews to its faculty clearly reflects his own experience with the school. Einstein's appointment at the Institute of Advanced Study was not a Princeton faculty appointment as some might have thought. Princeton, as well as several other Ivy League schools, did not appoint Jews to faculty positions until the late 1940s. Einstein ends his letter with praise of Reichenbach's continuing studies on the theory of probability, which posed that a proposition is meaningful only if it is possible to determine the probability for it.

    Condition: Usual mail folds, light toning along bottom edge, with two file holes along left margin.


    More Information: Hans Reichenbach (1891-1953), born in Hamburg, Germany, to a half-Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, studied civil engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Stuttgart, and then studied physics, philosophy, and mathematics in Berlin, Munich and Göttingen. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on


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