80,000 Einstein documents cataloged online in Einstein Archives Online including never before seen postcard, love letter, and wedding invitation

Princeton University Press is the publisher of  The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. We are happy to announce that the Hebrew University and Einstein Papers Project have launched a new website that will make records of all archived Einstein documents available to the general public.

 

If you visit the site, you can enter a carousel gallery to explore objects from Einstein’s personal life, his professional science life, his work as a public figure in the Zionist movement, and other aspects of Einstein’s life. It is also possible to do a deep archival search on keywords and names.

 

Here is the press release announcing the new digital archive, posted at http://www.einstein.caltech.edu/NewBlueSite.html

 


 

On March 19, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will launch Albert Einstein’s digital archive in commemoration of his 133rd birthday. One of the founders of the Hebrew University, Einstein’s birthday is celebrated in Israel as National Science Day, which, this year, will feature a press conference to launch the newly expanded Einstein Archives Online website.

The website’s launch will simultaneously be marked at Princeton University Press, Caltech, the Hebrew University’s Friends organizations and Israeli embassies around the world.

The site, http://www.alberteinstein.info will contain the complete catalog of more than 80,000 records of all the documents currently held jointly in the Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University and at the Einstein Papers Project at Caltech.

They include: more than 40,000 documents contained in the personal papers of Albert Einstein (1879-1955) and over 30,000 additional Einstein and Einstein-related documents discovered, since the 1980s, by the editors of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, and the staff of the Einstein Archive at the Hebrew University.

Advanced search technology will enable the display of all related documents by subject, and, in the case of letters, by author and recipient. The first line or title of each document will be displayed, alongside information on date, provenance and publication history. “In this way the content of the archives can be explored via a new user friendly interface customized for this goal. This interface provides easy navigation through the life and scientific career of Albert Einstein” explained Dalia Mendelsson, Project Manager.

The newly launched digitization project is funded by the Polonsky Foundation UK. Through his foundation, Dr. Leonard Polonsky has initiated similar enterprises, such as the digitization of the writings of Sir Isaac Newton at the University of Cambridge, which attracted 29 million hits within the first 24 hours after its launch. “We have every reason to believe that the launch of the expanded Einstein website will attract as much attention as the Newton papers. Clearly, there is a pent-up demand for open access to these intellectual treasures,” said Dr. Polonsky.

The expanded site will initially feature a visual display of about 2,000 selected documents, amounting to 7,000 pages, related to Einstein’s scientific work, public activities and private life up to the year 1921. These documents are sorted according to five categories: scientific activity, the Jewish people, the Hebrew University, public activities, and private life.

These documents, accompanied by detailed scholarly annotations, have been published in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, edited by the Einstein Papers Project (EPP) at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and published by Princeton University Press (PUP). Thanks to the Hebrew University’s ongoing collaboration with these two institutions, the enhanced site enables each document to be linked to its printed and annotated, full-text searchable version as it appears in the “Collected Papers,” and to its English translation (since most of Einstein’s papers were originally written in German).

According to Hebrew University president Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, “This project will attract the interest of many people. It relates to different academic disciplines: physics and basic science, the history of science, the history of Zionism and of the Hebrew University. I see great importance in the completion of another stage of the digitization project of the Einstein Archive. The Hebrew University has invested considerable effort to advance this project and is happy to make the world of this great scientist and person accessible to the interested general public.”

According to Prof. Hanoch Gutfreund, former president of the Hebrew University and the academic head of the Einstein Archive, “The renewed site is another expression of the Hebrew University’s intent to share with the entire cultural world this vast intellectual property which has been deposited into its hand by Einstein himself.”

The site, originally launched in 2003 in conjunction with EPP and PUP, has, until now, presented 43,000 records of documents and 900 manuscripts in Einstein’s own hand, whose digitization was made possible by a generous contribution from the David and Fela Shapell Family Foundation in Los Angeles, California.

The press conference will take place on March 19th at 10:30 am, at the Hebrew University’s Edmond J. Safra Campus in Givat Ram. The first part of the press conference will take place at the Harman Science Library. Participants will be able to browse and navigate through Einstein’s world and see documents that were not previously accessible to the general public.

The second part of the press conference will take place at the Einstein Archive building (adjacent to the Library), which holds Einstein’s private (non-scientific) library, which has been fully catalogued. Through these books, the library exposes the intellectual world of Einstein as a young Jew in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. The library contains books of philosophy (Schopenhauer, Spinoza and Kant), classical German literature and books on Judaism. Among them is a book by Walter Rathenau, the Jewish foreign minister of Germany who was murdered in 1922 by members of a right-wing group, containing a handwritten dedication to his friend Albert Einstein.

The website’s launch will simultaneously be marked at Princeton University Press, Caltech, the Hebrew University’s Friends organizations and Israeli embassies around the world.

At a press conference held earlier today, documents were presented, some of which have never before been visually accessible to the public. Among others, these included:

  • A speech to a Zionist meeting containing a report on a fundraising campaign in the United States for the Hebrew University
  • Einstein’s letter to Azmi El-Nashashibi, the editor of Falastin, suggesting an original solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict
  • A letter to the Jewish community in Berlin containing the distinction between Jewish religion and Jewish nationalism
  • A moving postcard to his sick mother
  • A letter to his young mistress, Betty Neumann (age 24)
  • A wedding Invitation

Albert Einstein was among the founders and most loyal supporters of the Hebrew University. In his will, he bequeathed all of his writings and intellectual heritage to the Hebrew University, including the rights to the use of his image.

http://www.alberteinstein.info