Here’s two photographs of Albert Einstein’s Princeton desk taken only a few hours after he died in 1955.
A Bottle of Scotch Makes All the Difference
“I grabbed my cameras and drove the ninety miles to Princeton,” Ralph Morse, the photographer, recalls. “Einstein died at the Princeton Hospital, so I headed there first. But it was chaos — so many journalists, photographers, onlookers milling around outside what, back then, was a really small hospital. ‘Forget this,’ I said, and headed over to the building where Einstein’s office was. On the way there, I stopped and bought a case of scotch. I knew people might be reluctant to talk to me, and I knew that most people were happy to accept a bottle of scotch instead of money if you offered it in exchange for their help. So, I get to the building and nobody’s there. I find the superintendent, give him a fifth of scotch, and he opens up Einstein’s office so I can take some photos.”