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What we saw when we went to the Albert Einstein Archives

While tours are available to anyone, advance notice is needed. Luckily, we made plans.


June 21, 2016 | Latest Photo Prev Next
An Albert Einstein doll greets visitors at the entrance.An Albert Einstein doll greets visitors at the entrance.Photo: Benyamin Cohen
June 21, 2016 | Latest Photo

If you walked into Albert Einstein's house, headed into his library and perused the books lining the shelves, you might be surprised at what you find. Sure, there are physics books, but there's also a coffee table book of photos from Australia, a set of books by Leo Tolstoy and a history of Western Philosophy. Oh, and also a book called "Prison and Chocolate Cake."

A collection of Albert Einstein&squot;s personal books includes a copy of "Prison and Chocolate Cake."A collection of Albert Einstein's personal books includes a copy of "Prison and Chocolate Cake." (Photo: Benyamin Cohen)

All of these books, and much more, are on display at the official Albert Einstein archives located on the picturesque campus of Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The archives include a room full of the books from Einstein's personal library.This conference room include a room full of the books from Einstein's personal library and is where Walter Isaacson researched parts of his Einstein biography. (Photo: Benyamin Cohen)

Einstein was a founder of Hebrew University, a member of its Board of Governors and the chairman of its Academic Committee. He bequeathed to the university 80,000 documents, which span the spectrum of both his personal and professional life.

Various Einstein knickknacks line the archives.Various Einstein knickknacks line the archives. (Photo: Benyamin Cohen)

The archives are open to the public and to researchers, by appointment only. Fortunately, we were in the area and had planned ahead. The curator welcomed us and showed us around.

Einstein's cup runneth over here at Hebrew University in Israel.Einstein's cup runneth over here at Hebrew University in Israel. (Photo: Benyamin Cohen)

Biographer Walter Isaacson – who's also written books about Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin – spent time poring over documents in Israel while writing his seminal 2007 biography of Albert Einstein. Archivists here helped him sift through everything from diary entries to the original theory of relativity.

Posters of Einstein can be seen around the office area.Posters of Einstein can be seen around the office area. (Photo: Benyamin Cohen)

There have been many books written about Einstein, and it's a good bet that you'll find a copy here.There have been many books written about Einstein, and it's a good bet that you'll find a copy here. (Photo: Benyamin Cohen)

A statue of EInstein was erected last summer.A statue of Einstein was erected last summer. (Photo: Benyamin Cohen)

This mural shows Einstein along with other founders of Hebrew University.This mural shows Einstein along with other founders of Hebrew University. (Photo: Benyamin Cohen)

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