The present volume of correspondence covers sixteen months in Albert Einstein’s
life, from January 1919 through April 1920. In number and breadth of topics, these
letters attest to major transformations, brought about by changing personal and po-
litical circumstances, and, most significantly, by Einstein’s meteoric rise to inter-
national renown in late fall of 1919.
Einstein’s correspondence of about ten to twenty known letters per month during
the years 1915 through 1917 doubled already during 1918, his first year as director
of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics (KWIP). By early 1919, with the publi-
cation of a call for research proposals and funding opportunities through the KWIP,
the correspondence almost doubled again; it then rose dramatically in November
1919, when the results of the British eclipse expedition confirming the predictions
of the theory of general relativity were made known to the professional and general
public. Einstein’s consequent fame both in Germany and abroad elicited wide
newspaper coverage and a massive influx of letters of congratulations, invitations,
and requests for articles, translations of his popular book on relativity, and action
on behalf of various individuals and causes. Judging from this—inevitably incom-
plete—archival record, Einstein seems to have felt obliged to respond, if only po-
litely, to every one of the letters he received.
In their wide-ranging diversity these letters touch upon numerous scientific top-
ics, such as the results of the 29 May 1919 British eclipse expedition, the redshift
test of general relativity, and the unification of gravitation and electromagnetism,
as well as other miscellaneous scientific concerns, among them Einstein’s attempts
to reconcile quantum theory with relativity. Difficult family matters, including fi-
nancial hardship, dominate his private correspondence, which revolves primarily
around the wrenching last months in the life of Einstein’s terminally ill mother,
Pauline, but also the care of his sons, Hans Albert and Eduard, and that of his first
wife, Mileva; the finalizing of his divorce; and his marriage to Elsa Löwenthal.
Einstein answered many letters requesting evaluations for academic appoint-
ments and inviting him to lecture and attend scientific and other events. He ex-
changed correspondence on political issues, particularly those of significance to
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