Albert Einstein & Southold ~
Noted scientist Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was one
of several important visitors to stay on the North Fork
of Long Island during the 1930s and 1940s, which
included author and political activist Helen Keller
(1880-1968) and composer and conductor Benjamin Britten
(1913-1976). His time would be spent sailing and
playing music with those he met and befriended during an
important and momentous period of his life.
The summer of 1939 (Einstein summered here during
1937, 1938, & 1939) would become known not only for
Einstein's residency, but the creation and the mailing
of his famous letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Fellow scientists Leo Szilard and Eugene Wigner came to
visit Einstein on July 16, 1939 - a visit that would
lead to the creation of the now infamous letter. The letter would set the United States on the path to
the creation of the first Atomic weapons to ever be used
in a military conflict. Two copies of the letter
were actually created, the one sent to FDR now resides
in the Roosevelt Presidential Papers at Hyde Park, NY,
while the other version was sold by Christie's in 2002
for $2.1 million dollars.
The Einstein House
on West Cove Road, photo (c) by
The house Einstein occupied, located on West Cove
Road (originally known as Old Cove Road) on Nassau
Point, still stands today - though it is privately owned
and not accessible to the public. During
Einstein's tenure there he was always wary of curiosity
seekers and those trying to snap a photograph of him.
Local resident and postman Albert Richmond noted "You
let Einstein come to you," not the other way around.
In addition to important visitors like Szilard and
Wigner, other members of Einstein's entourage came to
visit and enjoy the North Fork. This included
Valentine Bargman (1908-1989), Einstein's assistant at
the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton
University. He would join David Rothman and
Einstein in their musical interludes at the Rothman
house in Southold.
The Southold Historical Society owns an original
Einstein letter as well as copies of many others sent to
friends here in Southold. We also have over a
dozen images taken during his time here on the North
Fork copied from the original negatives held by the
Watch for further information to be posted on
Einstein's time in Southold!