Item #1864 Photographs and Letters, March-April 1932. ALBERT EINSTEIN, WILLIAM HUBBARD.
Photographs and Letters, March-April 1932
Photographs and Letters, March-April 1932
Photographs and Letters, March-April 1932
Photographs and Letters, March-April 1932
Photographs and Letters, March-April 1932
Photographs and Letters, March-April 1932
Photographs and Letters, March-April 1932
Photographs and Letters, March-April 1932

Photographs and Letters, March-April 1932

"They are proving very delightful companions-- sincere, unaffected and jolly…. She is a great talker but talks interestingly. He walks deck smoking his stubby black pipe or whistling cheerily, his gray hair blowing in the breeze..." -- William Hubbard on Mr. and Mrs. Albert Einstein


On March 2, 1932, at the height of his career and world fame, Albert Einstein and his wife Elsa set off on a vacation to their German homeland, departing from Los Angeles on the M. S. San Francisco. Another passenger aboard the ship was the renowned music scholar, William Lines Hubbard. Famous in his own right, Hubbard was the music critic for the Chicago Tribune and author of a definitive 11-volume work on the history of opera (published 1908).  Accompanying Hubbard was his companion Julia Reid, their cabins adjacent to that of the Einstein’s. As was the practice during this era, Hubbard kept detailed journals and letters of his travel experiences. 

This collection, from the estate of Hubbard, contains the following items:

1. Three unpublished small black-and-white and sepia photographs.  The first photograph (4.5” x 2.5”) pictures Einstein, his wife Elsa, the Ship’s Captain, Hubbard (the tall figure) and three other of the ship’s passengers, dated 3/14/32.  The second photograph (3.5” x 3.25”) is an outstanding full front image of Einstein, his wife Elsa, and the ship’s Captain. The final photograph (4.5” x 2.5”) is a full frontal image of Einstein and his wife Elsa both seated in deck chairs with the ship’s Captain standing behind.

2. Typed letter dated March 22, 1932, written while sailing through the South Atlantic. Six pages, typed front and back on two pieces (folded) of the ship’s original stationary (approx. 7.5x11 in). Excerpts on Einstein include:

Of our Six Passengers two are Prof. Einstein and wife. They are proving very delightful companions-- sincere, unaffected and jolly. At first they were very reserved and merely bowed and smiled and “Guten-Morgan-ed” when entering and leaving the dining room, but when they had become rested and saw that none of the rest of us planned to intrude, they came forward and have been very genial. She is a great talker but talks interestingly. He walks deck smoking his stubby black pipe or whistling cheerily, his gray hair blowing in the breeze. Each forenoon and sometimes in the afternoon he goes to the piano and plays for half hour or so. Plays in that satisfying manner peculiar to a man to whom music is a comfort and who thinks musically. It is in no wise brilliant playing but it is throughly enjoyable to hear. The rest of the time he sits in his steamer chair or in his cabin reading or thinking. On the 14th he had his 53rd birthday and the Capt had ordered from La Libertad, Salvador where we had taken cargo the day before, large bunches of easter and tiger lilies which in the morning were on the Einstein table together with a birthday cake the ship’s cook had made, and countless cards and letters which friends had sent. It was all a complete surprise to them both and their happiness was childlike in its spontaneity and sincerity. It was heart warming to watch them.

They seem to appreciate being left to themselves and not being lionized. It is the third time they have come through the canal on these boards an they enjoy it to the full.

3. Typed letter dated April 1, 1932, written while entering the English Channel. Seven pages, on two (approx. 8.5x11in) sheets (folded) of the ship’s original stationary.  Excerpts on Einstein include:

We had good fun watching for crocodiles along the banks as we came up the cut and Prof Einstein was especially gleeful when he discovered one...

Professor Einstein loves the roung [sic] weather and has reveled in it. He and the Mme are proving very delightful fellow passengers. She is very chatty but chats interestingly and he struts up and down deck smoking his stubby pipe or whistling like a jolly kid his white hair blowing in the breeze.

We have some talks occasionally and he yesterday when he saw the copy of Living Philosophies which I had given me [sic] before I left San Diego and in which his article is the first, took the book and autographed his picture and wrote in remembrance of the happy days on board the San Francisco. I don’t think I told you of his birthday which occurred on the 14 of March the day before we reached the Canal. The Capt came to know if it and when the Einsteins came to their table at breakfast they found it decorated with three huge vases of Easter and Tiger lilies which the Capt had secured in La Libertad. The cook had made a gorgeously decorated Torte-- one of the filled and frosted German cakes-- and there were letters and telegrams from friends which had been sent in the Capt’s care. It was a complete surprise to the Einsteins and they were like two happy kiddies. It was gladdening to watch their simple and keen enjoyment. Later we had pieces of the Torte which were a bit of muchness for breakfast but which of course we ate...

4. Typed letter dated April 24, 1932, written in Merano, Italy. Six pages on five (5.5x7in) sheets. 

While recalling a cargo transfer on the M. S. San Fransisco, Hubbard writes:

The Einsteins were especially enthusiastic and we had a great fun over the boss of the unloading. He was a huge and tremendously rotund gent wearing a soft felt hat and a short overcoat the buttons of which seemed fated to “bust off” at any moment. His chief employment seemed to be running about from side to side of the dock, into the warehouse and out again, clambering onboard and then clambering off and all the time shouting orders at the top of his voice and gesticulating wildly. Einstein had been reading the “Living Philosophies” which I had loaned him and was especially curious concerning Mencken and how he happened to be included in the great ones in the book. I gave him an outline of Mr. M’s greatness and assured him that the book cold [sic] well largely on account of M being included.  All of which amused the Einsteins greatly.  So when this wild boss hove into sight that morning and began his excited directing, Mrs E said “there is Mister Mencken” and thus he remained so long as we were in Rotterdam...

The Einsteins were starting early the next morning for Berlin so they went about 9 pm to the custom house and had their 16 packages, bundles and gifts examined.  Frau Professor had a funny story to tell of their experience with the 150 pound bag of coffee that had been presented them in Salvador...

5. An official passenger list from the M. S. San Francisco printed on the ship’s original stationary (4.75” x 8.25”), dated March 2, 1932. With “Professor Albert Einstein” and “Mrs. Albert Einstein” shown under the list of cabin passengers going from Los Angeles to Bremen.

6. A postcard depicting Hubbard’s profile in black and white (3.45” x 5.45”).

All items in very good condition (letters with wear and soiling at folds) and housed in a custom cloth presentation folder.


Price: $7,500 .