"Dear Mr. Seldes:" Einstein beings. "thank you very much for sending me your book with the excellent title. I shall certainly read it carefully," he notes, likely referring to Seldes's Tell the Truth and Run (1953). "I am returning your quotations with my remarks attached on a separate sheet."
Einstein here writes the noted journalist and author George Seldes, who had contacted him for the purpose of incorporating some of Einstein’s statements into his forthcoming book The Great Quotations (ultimately published in 1960). In contacting Einstein, Seldes sent along a page of seven statements, the authenticity of which he wished to confirm, including some of Einstein’s most famous, including "E = mc2", "I cannot believe that God plays dice with the world", and "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities." The other statements concern peace, freedom, applied science, and a specious remark about relativity (which Einstein here denies he ever made—though he suggests James Clerk Maxwell might have made a somewhat similar remark).
In responding to Seldes’ queries, Einstein reviewed and marked up the carbon containing the quotes to be authenticated, and then had his answers formally typed on a separate sheet of paper—agreeing to or denying their authenticity, and in some instances Einstein indicates the statement’s source. Seldes subsequently trimmed down this typed sheet of responses and pasted it onto the bottom of Einstein’s letter.
Seldes’ book ultimately contained a good many more Einstein quotations than the seven present here. It therefore would appear that Seldes inquired about seven particular quotations for which he was unfamiliar with the published original source. Seldes acknowledges his correspondence with Einstein in his book.
Written at the end of Einstein’s life—he died a few months later—this letter authoritatively validates the great scientist’s words for all time.
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