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    Sale 7548

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    12 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 64

    EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955). Autograph letter signed ('A.E.') to his first wife, Mileva ('L.M.' [i.e. 'Liebe Mileva']), Berlin, 6 February 1916, 1½ pages, 4to, on paper with personal printed heading, pencilled number '15' on blank lower margin of p.2. Provenance: Mileva Einstein-Maric; and by descent.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955). Autograph letter signed ('A.E.') to his first wife, Mileva ('L.M.' [i.e. 'Liebe Mileva']), Berlin, 6 February 1916, 1½ pages, 4to, on paper with personal printed heading, pencilled number '15' on blank lower margin of p.2. Provenance: Mileva Einstein-Maric; and by descent.

    THE OFFICIAL REQUEST FOR A DIVORCE: 'Ich stelle Dir hiemit den Antrag, unsere nunmehr erprobte Trennung zu einer Scheidung auszugestalten [I hereby make the request to turn our now established separation into a divorce]', suggesting that they base the proceedings on the proposals of Fritz Haber, and positing that it is in the best interests of each of them to have their rights and responsibilities clearly defined 'sodass jedes den Rest seines Lebens soweit unabhängig vom andern einrichten kann, als dies die Sachlage gestattet [so that each of us may conduct the rest of his life as independently from the other as circumstances permit]'. As soon as Mileva has signalled her agreement in principle, Einstein assures her that the details will be worked out to her satisfaction; the proposal of divorce does not alter his determination to make savings for his children, which he considers his highest duty ('meine erste und wichtigste Pflicht'): he has already saved 8000 marks for them. He ends by asking for news of Hans Albert's schooling, which his son had referred to in a letter, and in a postscript instructs her to give both children 'Chlorkalcium' to make up for the lack of calcium in their cooked food.

    Discussions about a divorce were interrupted late in 1916 when Mileva's physical and mental health broke down, with effects lasting into the following year. At the end of 1917, Einstein in turn suffered a serious deterioration of health, with the result that his future second wife, Elsa Löwenthal (whose relationship with him may have begun as early as 1912) moved in to care for him.


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