Einstein’s personal library

Einstein reading
Photo showing about 325 books in part of Einstein's study.
In libraries, Einstein’s personal library refers to the total set of books read, owned, and or collected by German physicist Albert Einstein from 1889 (age ten), the year in which he set out on a path of self-education, to his death in 1955 (age seventy-six). As twenty-eight of Einstein’s first thirty published papers were in thermodynamics, we should expect to find a larger portion of Einstein’s library to contain books written by the founders of thermodynamics. This page, subsequently, is a work-in-process listing and discussion of the science books, particularly those in thermodynamics, owned by Einstein. The following 2008 quote by German-born American physicist Gerald Holton, student of American thermodynamicist Percy Bridgman, gives an idea as to the theme of Einstein's library: [1]

“Throughout his life Einstein was a man of the book, to a much higher degree than other scientists. The remarkably diverse collection of volumes in his library grew constantly. If we look only at the German-language books published before 1910 that survived Einstein’s Princeton household, the list includes much of the cannon of the time: Boltzmann, Buchner, Friedrich Hebbel, the works of Heine in two editions, Helmholtz, von Humboldt, the many books of Kant, Gotthold Lessing, Mach, Nietzsche, and Schopenhauer. But what looms largest are the collected works of Johann von Goethe in a thirty-six volume edition and another of twelve volumes, plus two volumes on his Optics, the exchange of letters between Goethe and Schiller, and a separate volume of Faust.”

This passage seems to identify German polymath Johann Goethe, the precursory pioneer to the science of human chemical thermodynamics, to be the vicarious intellectual mentor to Einstein, a founder of both radiation thermodynamics and relativistic thermodynamics, being that Goethe's 52-volume collected works (see: Goethe's collected works) is the dominate part of Einstein's library, along with the fact that Einstein kept a plaster bust of Goethe in his reading room.


Author (alphabetical)
Books



Bernstein, Aaron People’s Books on Natural Science (5-6 volume set), which Einstein recalled having “read with breathless attention”, supposedly introducing him to atomism. [3]
Boltzmann, Ludwig
Buchner, Ludwig
Euclid A text on Euclidean geometry, given to Einstein at age 12, which he called the “holy geometry book”. [3]
Goethe, JohannCollected Works (36-volume edition)


Collected Works (12-volume edition)


Optics (2-volume edition)


Volume of Letter Exchanged between Goethe and Schiller


Faust
Hebbel, Friedrich
Heine(two editions) [1]
Helmholtz, Hermann
Humboldt
Kant, Immanuel(many books) [1]


Critique of Pure Reason, read by Einstein at age 13. [3]
Lessing, Gotthold
Nietzsche, Friedrich
Mach, Ernst
Schopenhauer, Arthur







History
Einstein’s personal library was transferred to the Hebrew University in 1987, where it is supposedly to be found in the Jewish National & University Library of that university, following the death of Einstein’s step-daughter, Margot Einstein. Einstein's personal library is said to include books on science, European and American politics and society, literature and culture, religion and philosophy, Judaism and Isreal.

Photos
The following photos give an idea of parts of Einstein's library:


Einstein (writing by window)

Einstein writing by his window, showing about 65 books.
Einstein (standing in study) (s)Einstein (office with chalk board) (1955)
Einstein standing in his study, showing about 550 books. Einstein's office at The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, after his death in 1955, which shows about 30 books.
Einstein (in study looking forward)
Einstein in study looking forward, showing close-up of his books.

References
1. Galison, Peter, Holton, Gerald J., and Schweber, Silvan S. (2008). Einstein for the 21st Century: His Legacy in Science, Art, and Modern Culture (ch. 1: Who Was Einstein? Why is He Still so Alive?, pgs 3-15; quote: pg. 10). Princeton University Press.
2. Einstein Archives (History) - AlbertEinstein.info.
3. Miller, Arthur I. (2002). Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time and the Beauty that Causes Havoc (pg. 44). Basic Books.

External links
Einstein Archives Online – AlbertEinstein.info.
How many books did Einstein read during his lifetime? (2008) – Yahoo Answers.

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