From Bern with Love: Letters
to and Fro
Follow the relationship
between Albert
Einstein (Johnny) and
Mileva Maric (Dolly) as
they go from
classmates to
colleagues to friends
to lovers to strangers
Discovery of the Letters
• In Einstein’s will he bequeaths all his literary property to
Dr. Otto Nathan and Helen Dukas.
• Who is Helen Dukas?
• As his secretary, she archived and organized all his
papers. After her death, as per Einstein’s instructions,
the papers were given to the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem
• The books that they created were then divided into two
sections, Writing and Correspondence
• In the Correspondence section, the world was shocked
to discover over 50 letters between Einstein and Maric
during his youth.
Analysis of a Relationship:
From Albert to Johnny
• Albert Einstein began
attending the Swiss
Polytechnic Institute
(ETH) in 1896
• Mileva Maric was from
Serbia and the only
female student in the
mathematics department
• Meeting in ETH as
colleagues they began to
exchange letters…
• In the first letter to Mileva
he calls her ‘Geerhtes
Fraulein’
Phenomena!
These discoveries inspired several books…
Letter Happy Albert?
Who else did he send
letters to?
• Marie Winteler
Colleagues
• During this period,
Mileva was an
exchange student in
Heidelberg
• Studying under
Professor Lenard a
Nobel laureate she
sent her
observations to
Albert about some
of her classes
Letter Happy Albert?
Who else did he send
letters to?
• Marie Winteler
• Maja Einstein
(Einstein’s sister)
Friends
• After she returned to
Heidelberg they became
friends after she transferred
from the medical path to the
mathematics section
Einstein was in.
• They often discussed math
questions or notes about
classes as well as inquiring
on how the other was doing
• Their letters were often
about books they were
currently reading or how
their parents were and
vacations that they took.
Letter Happy Albert?
Who else did he
send letters to?
• Marie Winteler
• Maja Einstein
• Marcel
Grossman
Fellow Intellectuals?
• Often it is written
about our theory…
• While some
suggest that there
was no
collaboration, there
is scientific talk
between the two...
Letter Happy Albert?
Who else did he
send letters to?
• Marie Winteler
• Maja Einstein
• Marcel Grossman
• Michel Besso
Lovers
• As they became
lovers, they acquired
pet names for each
other. Including
Johonzel and
Doxerl…
• These letters also
follow their returning
to their homes and
their parents feelings
on their relationship.
Letter Happy Albert?
Who else did he
send letters to?
• Marie Winteler
• Maja Einstein
• Marcel Grossman
• Michel Besso
• Conrad Habicht
Einstein the… poet?
• Einstein wrote several poem/songs to Mileva
Schnadaheupfl August 29 1900
O mei! der Johonzel,
Der is ganzt verruckt.
Gmoanthod er seins Doxerl
Und's Kissen hot er druckt
Wenns Schatzerl mir schmollen thut
Werd i windelweich
Doch es zuckt mit die Oxeln
Und sogt: Is jo gleich.
Moane Olden die denken
Dees is a dumme Sach...
Ober sogen thans nix,
Sonst kriegatens aufs Dach.
Mein Doxerl sei Schnaberl
Des mechti gern hern
Und nachher ihm's lusti
mit meinem verspern.....
Das Kind macht si rar,
Was denkt er dazu?
Hangt Doch mit all' Faeserle
Dran an saim Bua
Da ich schreib in meinem Bett,
Wirds halt nicht so furchtbar nett!
Doch nur immer frisch drauf los geschmirt
Das Doxerl sich doch dafur interessiert!....
Marrying a Book
•
•
•
•
•
Albert’s parents opposed the
marriage for many reasons
including her bookishness as
well as her ethnicity
After failing the test for the
second time where she
learned she was pregnant.
Although living in a small
apartment, Albert began
looking for a career to
support his future wife and
child
However, the whereabouts of
the child are still unknown
The couple decided to marry
in January of 1903
Life in Switzerland
• At this point he has
taken a job as a patent
clerk and is supporting
mileva
• As they are living
together, the number of
letters between each
other decreases
• After 1905, the amount
increases as he attends
more lectures
• At this point many of the
letters are addressed to
mileva and the children
Letter Happy Albert?
Who else did he send
letters to?
• Marie Winteler
• Maja Einstein
• Marcel Grossman
• Conrad Habicht
• Michel Besso
• Max Planck
• Henrick Lorentz
From a Distance
• In Berlin
– In Berlin, he is for
the most part
estranged from his
wife and the letters
take on a different
tone
– Infidelity arises
while they are
separated in the
form of Einstein’s
cousin Elsa
Happy Ending?
• Not Really…
• Their marriage
dissolved long
before their actual
divorce.
• In other letters,
Mileva ponders
the status of her
marriage
All things must come to an end…
• The divorce was
finalized on February
19, 1919
• The last letter in the
collection was sent
on dealing with
money in the divorce
settlement
• He ended the letter
simply ‘Albert’
References
• The Collected Papers of Einstein

PowerPoint Presentation - Johnny and Dolly: Letters to and Fro