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    Albert Einstein: Reel-to-Reel Audio Tape Recording of 1951 Interview. Albert Einstein generally shunned publicity and preferred to quietly go about his work in Princeton. Personally, we had never even heard recordings of his voice. Sometime in 1951, he sat down for a meal with Jack and Frances Rosenburg at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton. Jack graduated MIT in 1947, becoming a research assistant for physicist and mathematician Von Neuman at the Institute. Jack became acquainted with Einstein when he was tasked with building an FM receiver to give the "old man" as a birthday present, this at the suggestion of Robert Oppenheimer. Rosenberg, Von Neuman, Oppenheimer and an artist friend, Panofsky, delivered the gift to Einstein on his birthday, after an antenna had secretly been installed in collusion with the housekeeper. This lead to a close friendship with Jack, his wife Frances and their children.

    Their 1951 casual conversation was recorded on long-playing discs. It was subsequently transferred to magnetic tape and given to the present consignor close to thirty years ago. We are unaware of the whereabouts of the original discs. When transferred to tape, the conversation was "embedded" in the back portion of the reel, spliced to some recorded music. The conversation lasts around 33 minutes. The initial volume level is fairly low, but reaches a normal level after a brief period. There is some background noise and surface "scratches" and popping. Einstein, as expected, speaks in a thick German accent. The three-way conversation is punctuated with joking and laughter, indicative of Einstein's sense of humor. They cover a wide range of topics, including:

    1. The Ethel and Julius Rosenberg Trial. ("So unwise what they do... very unfair the whole action.")
    2. The acquisition by the U.S.S.R. of the atomic bomb. ("It is better for world welfare that the Russians have it, too."). He acknowledges knowing the head of the Soviet atomic program, but humorously says "I gave no secrets to him."
    3. The status and risks associated with being a scientist under authoritarian rule. "In other countries, a man with great influence can do a great deal of harm."
    4. His famous letter to FDR suggesting the possible development of the atomic bomb. "I repent it very much... I believe it was a great misfortune." He downplays his role in the development of the A-bomb.
    5. The difference between FDR and Truman. FDR "...would not have used it had he lived... this I am convinced."
    6. His acquaintance with European and Soviet scientists.
    7. His love of music, including a preference for Schubert, Beethoven and Brahams. "I did very much like Wagner... In my youth, I had heard nothing better than Ionescu's Violin Concerto." Toscanini was "very brave in Mussolini's time."

    Listen to a brief sample of the interview.

    The actual tape will be be accompanied by a CD containing the entire conversation.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    4th-5th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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