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    Sale 7548

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    12 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 65

    EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955). Autograph letter signed ('Albert') to his first wife, Mileva, n.p., 31 January 1918, 2 pages, 4to, bifolium, numbered in pencil '34' on verso of f.2 (crossed in orange watercolour, apparently by wartime censors, three passages marked in red crayon). Provenance: Mileva Einstein-Maric; and by descent.

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    EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955). Autograph letter signed ('Albert') to his first wife, Mileva, n.p., 31 January 1918, 2 pages, 4to, bifolium, numbered in pencil '34' on verso of f.2 (crossed in orange watercolour, apparently by wartime censors, three passages marked in red crayon). Provenance: Mileva Einstein-Maric; and by descent.

    THE SECOND REQUEST FOR A DIVORCE, INCLUDING A PLEDGE TO SETTLE THE NOBEL PRIZE ON HER. 'Das Bestreben, endlich eine gewisse Ordnung in meine privaten Vehältnisse zu bringen, veranlasst mich, Dir zum zweiten Male die Scheidung vorzuschlagen [The effort at last to bring some order to my private affairs compels me for the second time to suggest a divorce]'. He is determined to take all necessary steps to bring this about, including significant pecuniary dispositions, beginning with an annuity of 9000 marks (of which 2000 is to be put to the benefit of the children), and the guarantee of her widow's pension. Above all, in the event of his winning the Nobel prize, it is to be made over entirely to her, deposited in Switzerland, and replacing the annuity: 'Der Nobelpreis würde Dir -- im Falle der Scheidung und für den Fall, dass er mir zuteil wird -- a priori vollständig abgetreten'. These 'colossal sacrifices' would only be made in the event of an uncontested divorce ('Derartige kolossale Opfer würde ich natürlich nur im Falle freiwilliger Scheidung bringen'): if she refuses this condition, he will not offer a penny more than 6000 marks per year ('kein Centim über 6000M pro Jahr'). He therefore asks her to institute divorce proceedings against him, and he will ensure that no trouble or discomfort ensues for her. Einstein hears regular reports from friends as to her doings and those of the children, and is happy to hear that her health is better; Hans Albert's 'extraordinary' letter pleased him greatly, and showed signs of the fine development of his mind and character; hopefully Eduard's stay in the mountain air will stand him in good stead.

    When in 1922 he was awarded with the Nobel prize for the previous year, Einstein did, as promised, transfer the money to Mileva, who used it to buy three houses in Zurich -- which were to be the subject of repeated discussion in the latter years of their correspondence.


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