January 25, 1915

Einstein Writes Fondly to Young Son About the Pleasures of Play, Music, and Thought

Autograph Letter Signed
3 pages
SMC 1797
Six months after having left his wife and children in Zurich, Einstein pens this affectionate letter to his elder boy, Albert, from his new “bachelor” digs in Berlin. He has heard that Albert and his younger brother Tete are well; that they are living on the Zurichberg in a nice flat; that Albert now has a sled that steers. “I hope that you have also found your old friends, with whom you always wrestled last year and ran about” he says, adding that “no other place is as nice for boys as Zurich, and so healthy. Boys are also not bothered too much with their homework not with the obligation to be well-dressed and well-mannered.”

He urges Albert to remember not to “forget the piano,” because “in playing nice music, one can cause great joy to oneself and others.” In fact, just that evening, he says, he will play in a benefit concert for two poor artists. But in a few years, Einstein says, Albert may also want to practice thinking: that, too, is a pleasure. He relates how he recently did “a wonderful and important experiment with magnets,” which he would like to tell Albert all about on their next vacation together, perhaps next summer, if “the awful war will be over by then.”

Albert at eleven, however, was old enough to be disturbed by his parents’ rancorous divorce, and soon enough would be angry with his father: Such fond letters as this, in the years ahead, would not always be the rule.
Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa"), in German, 3 pages, quarto, recto and verso, no place (near Fehrbelliner Square in Berlin),  January 25, 1915. To "Dear Albert", the older of his two sons.

Albert Einstein Family Manuscripts.
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