Lot 24: Albert Einstein typed and signed letter
6th December 2017
TLS signed “A. Einstein,” one page, 8.25 x 11, blind-stamped personal letterhead, April 3, 1951. Letter to Joseph Halle Schaffner, in full: “I thank you for informing me about the amount of the money about which you spoke to me on the occasion of your last visit. I had proposed to you to use these funds for the benefit of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. After careful thought it seems to me, however, that the available money would not be enough to put up a special foundation within the framework of an university institution which you thought to connect with my name. This brought me to another idea. It is well known that the refugee intellectuals of the Hitler persecution have nearly all found opportunity for work in this country. However, many of them were already middle-aged when they arrived and there are emergency cases produced by illness and old age which constitute a permanent worry for those of us who are in a more favorable position. It may be known to you that there exists a Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars, headed by Mrs. Else Staudinger, which has successfully tried to mitigate this situation. I believe there could be no more satisfactory use for the money than to give it in the form of a private foundation to this organization with the proviso that the funds should be used for such emergency cases of old age and illness. Such foundation could bear my name in conformity with your earlier intentions if you find it desirable. If you should decide according to this suggestion you would produce something good and worthwhile and earn the gratitude of all concerned.” In fine condition. As Hitler’s anti-Jewish regulations and segregatory laws forced thousands out of their jobs and thus, out of their country, the international community saw an influx of well-educated immigrants, trained in a variety of distinguished jobs in civil service, university and legal positions, and scientific research fields. Countless organizations were founded to help integrate these highly valuable new citizens upon their arrival, an integral part of the Allied effort. Einstein, the most notable Jewish scientist to rebuild his life in America, worked on behalf of dozens of such organizations, including the American Council for Émigrés in the Professions. Founded by dean of the New School for Social Research, Hans Staudinger, and his wife Elsa, the Council was established specifically to support scientists and intellectuals, moving beyond simple job placement to handle ongoing needs, including medical attention for “emergency cases produced by illness and old age”—a problem to which the aging Einstein could relate. When approached by Joseph Halle Schaffner, the wealthy director of the clothing manufacturer Hart, Schaffner, & Marx, in search of a worthy cause to which he could donate, Einstein directed him there. By the end of the 1950s, the Council had helped more than 3,000 refugees secure jobs and live healthy, productive lives, proving to be a truly valuable organization. An excellent letter involving one of the many philanthropic outlets that benefitted from Einstein’s work.
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