- Autograph letter signed "A. Einstein" to Dr. Rudolf Ehrmann, 22 March, 1943.
- ink, paper, photograph
Translation reads in full:
"Dear Mr. Ehrmann!
I thank you ever so much for the book you sent for my birthday and the kind congratulations. The interesting aspect of it is that you inscribed the book 14th of April instead of 14th of March. All attempts to interpret that lapsus in a Freudian fashion were in vain because of the absence of information about your Achilles heel. There only remains the banal guess that you wished the winter to be over sooner because of insufficient heating at home. Maybe you'll be able to find a deeper point that may be hiding behind that tiny lapsus.
I discover that your advice to drop the smoking habit turned out very well indeed, so that there would be no excuse for me were I to start up again. I am delighted that you have now become independent of that abhorrent Ratnoff - in every respect, independence happens to be the first condition of a carefree existence.
All best regards and good wishes to all three of you from your A. Einstein."
Dr. Ehrmann was Einstein's personal physician in Berlin, and like Einstein and many other German Jews at the time, sought to obtain passage to the US as the German political climate deteriorated. Ehrmann had many difficulties getting out of Germany, but it was thanks to the lobbying of Einstein and a few other friends that he was finally able to obtain passage. He settled in New York, where he once again served as Einstein's personal physician. Einstein was known to love smoking his pipe, and is oft quoted as saying “I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs." Despite this, Dr. Ehrmann was able to convince him to give up smoking in 1943, though he continued to carry pipe with him, just chewing on the stem. The pipe is such a part of the persona of Einstein, that the most requested artifact in the Smithsonian's modern physics collection is in fact Einstein's pipe.