For the past ten years, they’ve been a major pride point of the Special Collections at the Vassar Libraries: a collection of letters, manuscripts and photographs relating to Albert Einstein, notably including 130 letters exchanged between Einstein and his friend Otto Nathan, executor of the great scientist’s estate and a member of the college’s economics faculty in the early 1940s. Researchers from around the world have traveled to campus to study the collection. But now, thanks to a grant from Vassar alumna Dr. Georgette Bennett in honor of her husband, Dr. Leonard Polonsky, Vassar’s Einstein papers are being digitized, and will become available to a much wider audience.
While the Bergreen Einstein Collection includes other materials, Ronald Patkus, head of the Libraries’ Special Collections, said the grant from Dr. Bennett and Dr. Polonsky has allowed the digitization project to concentrate specifically on the papers and manuscripts. “The bulk of it is letters between Einstein and Otto Nathan about Einstein’s social and political concerns, especially those relating to Jewish-American organizations and individuals,” he said, adding that they shed light on “Einstein the humanitarian, which is a nice complement to the scientific Einstein.”
Tip and Thanks: Matt Weaver