Albert Einstein ALS & Snapshot on Hamburg-American Line Postcard

An autograph letter in German entirely engrossed by Albert Einstein (1879-1955), the world-renowned German theoretical physicist, and signed by him as "Albert Einstein" above an inscription of fourteen words in his hand. N.p. Ca. 1931-1932. Einstein's inscription appears in the blank message section of a "Hamburg-Amerika Linie" postcard, to the left of an adhered 3" x 4" silver gelatin photograph of Einstein and a ship's captain conversing on deck. A black and white image of the company sister ship "San Francisco" at full sail can be found verso. The snapshot shows some gentle silvering at lower left. There is a paper slip adhered to the right edge of the postcard image verso. Light overall toning, else near fine. 5.875" x 3.875."

Einstein wrote this charming thank you note to the commander of the Hamburg-American Line motorship "Portland." The captain, possibly named Herr Glahnzunn, had recently piloted Einstein, wife Elsa, and other passengers on a trip from Europe to the United States in December 1931. In this letter, Einstein fondly recalled his conversations with the captain. Einstein's final destination was the California Institute of Technology, where he would serve several stints as a visiting professor between 1930-1933.

The "Portland" was a 7,132-ton single-funnel motorship constructed in 1928. One of Hamburg-American Line's premier transoceanic passenger vessels, the "Portland" could transport passengers from Europe to the Pacific seaboard of the United States in 26 days, a feat made possible by the Panama Canal. "Portland"-sized vessels carried only about 50 cabin and third-class passengers for the month-long voyage, so we can assume that Einstein and the captain talked a lot!

Period advertisements of the Hamburg-American Line touted its comfortable accommodations, its amenities, and its professional and multi-lingual crew: "Opportunity for direct passage between the Pacific Coast and Europe via the Panama Canal at a minimum of expense and a maximum of comfort is offered on the splendid North Pacific Coast - Europe Service of the Hamburg-American Line."

This postcard with companion snapshot is a nice substitute for a signed photo, which can easily cost four times as much at auction.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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September 30, 2020 10:30 AM EDT
Wilton, CT, US

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