Auction No. 106

Letters by A. Einstein and Other Illustrious Personalities, Zionism, Jewish Art, letters of Rabbis and Rebbes and Collection of letters to Sir Moses Montefiore from the archive of the late Rabbi Avraham Shisha - London - Buyer's commission 22%

March 6, 2018
Opening $ 3,000
Estimate $ 20,000 - $ 40,000
Sold for $ 6,100
Including buyer's premium

"To the scientific researcher, at whose feet I slept and sat for two full days, as a friendly souvenir. Albert Einstein, 1921."

Background: In October 1921, Albert Einstein visited his sister, Maja, for a few days in Florence, Italy. He was already a prominent scientist at the time, worthy of receiving the Nobel Prize the following year. During his visit, he learned that one flight up from his sister's apartment lived a young chemistry student, Elisabetta Piccini [March 19, 1899- June 18, 1990].

Elisabetta, daughter of famed Italian chemist, Augusto Firenze [1854-1905], was a researcher of physical chemistry at the University of Florence together with Prof. Luigi Mazza [1898-1978]. The next year they published a joint article in the framework of Italian national academics regarding the conductivity of nitrous sulfur.

It's very possible that the name of this young talented researcher was known within the physical chemistry community of researchers and Albert Einstein was very interested in meeting her. However, Elisabetta was introverted and too shy to meet with such a famous person. She refused to meet him.

When Einstein left Florence to participate in a scientific conference in Bologna, he left this note for Elisabetta:

"Der Naturforscherin, zu deren Fuessen ich zwei volle Tage lang gelegen und gesessen, zum freundlichen Gedenke" (To the scientific researcher, at whose feet I slept and sat for two full days, as a friendly souvenir).

Specifications: [1] leaf. 9x15 cm. German. Five lines in Einstein's hand and with his signature. The note is pasted to another slightly-bigger piece of paper with a poem by Elena DeAngelis - Elisabetta's good friend.

Was Einstein interested in a romantic relationship with Elisabetta? Was he hinting at this in his note?

Condition: Very fine.

Letters by A. Einstein and Other Illustrious Personalities