Albert Einstein (1879-1955).

Autograph letter signed ('Albert') to his sister, Maja, and brother-in-law, Paul Winteler, n.p. [Berlin], 17 March 1922.

In German, one page, 279 x 216mm.

Maja Winteler-Einstein (1881-1951) – her husband Paul Winteler (1882-1952) – Besso family.
Unpublished in its entirety: three sentences only published from a transcription in Diana Kormos Buchwald, József Illy, Ze'ev Rosenkranz, & Tilman Sauer (eds). The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein (Princeton University Press, 2012), vol. 13, p. 191.
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Lot Essay

Life is like living in a pigeon-loft: his endless lecture tours, and worries about his sister's health.

Einstein is travelling to Paris at the end of March to give a lecture, and then in the autumn to Japan and China: 'Perhaps I will take Elsa with me'. He compares his relentless, wearing activity to a 'pigeon loft' ('Bei mir geht es immer zu wie in einem Taubenschlag, sodass mir schier Hören und Sehen vergeht'). Nevertheless, he hopes that the long sea-voyage will provide some peace and quiet. A postscript notes that he will see his old friend Maurice Solovine when he is in Paris: 'He is translating my Princeton lectures into French'.

Einstein is dismayed to learn that Maja is unwell [Paul had written on 14 March to inform Einstein that Maja had undergone two operations for a boil on the back of her head]. He asks for full details, 'and omit nothing that is necessary'. A young Florentine woman he was meant to enquire after has returned to Italy via Zurich, suffering apparently from mental illness. He also sends news of his first wife and children: Mileva's father has died, so she must return to Serbia, as her sister is insane and her brother disappeared in the war; his elder son Hans Albert is about to become a student – 'he writes little, but gives me great pleasure, an indestructible type with a healthy phlegm'. He ends with a battery of questions about Maja's medical condition.

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