EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Three autograph letters signed ("Albert" and "Papa") to Mileva Einstein-Maric, n.p. and Kiel-Neumühlen, 28 August 1921, 19 April 1924 and 14 August 1925. Together 6½ pages, 4to, one with tiny nick in margin.
EINSTEIN TO THE MOTHER OF HIS SONS: "YOU HAVE PROVED THAT YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING"
28 August 1921: A gracious and grateful letter to Mileva after a holiday spent with his sons, sailing at Wustrow on the Baltic. Einstein expresses appreciation for all that Mileva has done for the children and thanks her for "the beautiful days that I was able to spend with our dear boys." Einstein is grateful to her for having "raised them to have a friendly attitude toward me, and in all other ways in an exemplary manner." He is "particularly satisfied with their cheerful and unpretentious behavior, and...with their lively intelligence." He assures Mileva that her financial future is taken care of, and asks her to speak to Hans Albert about his plans for the future. Einstein is not enthusiastic about his attending the Zurich Polytechnic, but thinks he should leave home in order to learn to live independently. A family friend (Hermann Anschütz-Kaempfe) has spoken of bringing Hans Albert into the family business. But he stresses that he is only suggesting these possibilities, and that the decision is up to Mileva, "for you have proven that you know what you are doing." 19 April 1924: Einstein continues his efforts at reconciliation with Mileva: "I was visiting [Fritz] Haber recently and I got the impression from your letters that during the last year you have ceased speaking ill of me. Therefore I would like to resume our old friendly relationship, and I am even thinking of coming to stay with you if I come back to Zurich... I haven't been writing to the boys very much. But I think about them all the more, and they form one of the most beautiful elements of my inner life. The thought that I will perpetuate my life through them when my own clockwork runs down, is for me a happy one." Einstein tells her about a house in Zurich that is for sale, saying that he doesn't think it will be a profitable venture, but that if she really wishes to buy a house, he won't stand in her way. He admits, though, that a house is a more secure possession than any kind of paper document. "I wanted to say all of this to you, but I leave to you the final decision. What finally counts are not the material considerations but your wishes...I have no plans yet for the summer. The only thing that is certain is that I want to be with the children...After the experiences of this past year, I will not hold anything against you anymore, but will blame our differences of opinion on our basic inner differences. It is so much better to live on friendly terms. In a postscript, he suggests that she read George Bernard Shaw's "Helden" [Arms and the Man]. "It has to do with a delightful confrontation between a Serbian and a Swiss officer."
14 August 1925: A fine letter in which Einstein considers his sons' differing characters and appraises their strengths and weaknesses with considerable insight: "I was very happy to receive your letter, which sounded so happy and content, unlike old times. We want to keep it this way until the blessed end. I also want to take every opportunity to visit you. Above all, I beg you to speak openly about anything that is bothering you from now on, rather than keeping it choked up inside you...Your worries about Albert seem to be unfounded...On the other hand, he obviously is very inhibited around the opposite sex. This is not such an easy thing to help him with. I will try to give him some casual advice in this area, as far as I can. For the rest, Albert is a fine young man, because his feelings are in harmony with his mind. He is considerate and has a sense of responsibility and a desire to learn. Tete is a more difficult case. His intellectual gifts may be even stronger, but he seems to lack balance, as well as a sense of responsibility (his egotism is too strong). Too little inner feeling of connection to other people and too much ambition. From this spring a sense of isolation and a kind of anxiety as well as other kinds of inhibitions. He in fact takes after me in many ways, but [the characteristics that we share are] much more pronounced with him. He is an interesting little fellow, but he won't have an easy life. One has to cultivate one's connections to other people, on the other hand one shouldn't be governed by them (Albert!), otherwise one will not be able to strengthen one's own nature, particularly one's resoluteness, which is such a necessary thing to have in life. In the end, there really isn't much that we can do our children, they have to find their way themselves." (3)