An exceptional collection of intimate and personal Albert Einstein letters will be auctioned off in June, including his notable views on religion and God.
A one of a kind compilation of rare and intimate letters from Albert Einstein are set to be auctioned at Profiles in History’s Historical Document Auction on June 11th, 2015. This is one of the largest collections of Einstein letters to ever be offered at auction.
The assemblage of over 25 lots of documents and memorabilia encompasses personal handwritten autograph letters from Einstein to his family including sons Hans Albert Einstein and Eduard Einstein, and his ex-wife Mileva Marić in addition to others revealing his innermost thoughts (and theories) on the Atomic Bomb, Relativity Theory, his impactful ideas on God and religion, McCarthy hearings in addition to a highly notable letter stating he will “not be returning to Germany, perhaps never again…” once Hitler reached power.
“We have amassed an extremely magnificent group of personal and profound handwritten Einstein letters covering a vast amount of subject matter”, said Joseph Maddalena, President and CEO of Profiles in History. “These letters depict his innermost views, offering intriguing content as only Einstein can, this collection is an embodiment of the physicist life’s work.”
God and Religion
Leading the collection are two substantially significant letters regarding Einstein’s thoughts on God and religion. The first, letter in English of July 1945, to Mr. Guy H. Raner Jr. states
“From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist… It is always misleading to use anthropomorphical concepts in dealing with these outside of the human sphere – childish analogies.”
Einstein was raised by secular Jewish parents and, by his own description; he was an agnostic, an atheist and religious. His vocabulary, however, was ecclesiastical, and his pursuit of discovery, reverential. What interested Einstein were the laws which governed order and harmony in the universal design – “God’s thoughts,” he called them. A personal God, as compared to his cosmic one, simply did not make logical sense, and he thought it was “childish.” Einstein’s God revealed himself in the infinitely marvelous structure of the world – atomic and stellar – as far as human thought could grasp it; what He was not, however, was concerned with the fate and actions of men. That task, Einstein believed, was man’s alone. A pre-auction estimate has been set at $15,000+.
Four years later, in a second letter, Einstein wrote Raner (Ensign Guy H. Raner, Jr.) again on September 28, 1949 reiterating his disbelief in a personal God as a childlike notion, but disparaging atheism and declaring himself agnostic. He states:
“I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one… I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”
Einstein rejects a personal God, but denies atheism, referring to himself as an agnostic, preferring an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being. Pre-auction estimate is $15,000+.
Additional Key Documents to be offered
- A letter to his son, Hans, discussing the connection between his Special Relativity Theory and the Atomic Bomb.
- Two letters on renouncing his German citizenship in the wake of Nazism and antisemitism in Germany.
- A personal letter to Einstein’s ex-wife, Mileva Maric, regarding Hans’ prospective marriage, followed by writings on his unhappiness with the “thorny” state of theoretical physics despite the success of his Relativity Theory.
- Two personal letters on his thoughts on “McCarthyism.”
- Einstein’s autograph letter to his son, Eduard, signed in German giving his opinion on Sigmund Freud after his son receives psychoanalyst’s lectures from Vienna. ($15,000+)
- Einstein’s autograph letter signed in German in 1920 to his family “My loved Ones”, giving stern financial and professional advice to his family while complaining about supporting their reckless choices with his income. ($8,000+)
- Signed Einstein autograph letter written to his son Hans, about his enthusiasm for science and mathematics, promising to send him pretty problems to solve. ($8,000+)
- Autograph poem signed, on It is the art of life….($4,000+)