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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Hans Albert Einstein Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1900-1990
Creator: Einstein, Hans Albert (1904-1973)
Extent: 3.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0900
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Personal and professional papers of a hydrologist whose long career was mainly at the University of California, Berkeley. Substantial part of the collection consists of drafts of an unpublished book compiled by his wife Frieda with the working title Albert Einstein in His Letters to His Wife and Children. Includes a few autographed and typed letters from Albert Einstein to his son.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 1.

Access: This collection came to The University of Iowa from the executor of the estate of Elizabeth Roboz Einstein. Access to it is permitted only to on-site readers. On-site readers may include research assistants or agents acting on behalf of other individuals, but such assistants or agents must make themselves known as such and must identify, on the Reader's Application, the person whom they are representing.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: The Hans Albert Einstein Papers were acquired in the 1990s by staff of the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research. They were organized and this finding aid was posted to the internet September 2010.

Preferred Citation: Hans Albert Einstein Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Hans Albert Einstein was born in 1904 in Bern, Switzerland to Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric. His siblings were older sister Liserl (1902-?), and younger brother Eduard (1910-1965). In 1914 his parents separated: his father moved to Berlin, Germany, and his mother took her two sons with her to live in Zurich, Switzerland. Hans Albert was educated in Zurich, where he earned a doctorate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. He married Frieda Knecht, a teacher of German language and literature, in 1927, and they had three children: a son Klaus (1932-1938) died young of dyphteria, shortly after the family moved to the U.S.; a second son, Bernard (1930 - ) is a physicist; and a daughter Evelyn (1941 - , adopted) earned a degree in anthropology. The Einsteins emigrated to the United States in 1938, and in 1947 Hans Albert was hired by the University of California, Berkeley, where he had a long career as Professor of Hydraulic Engineering. Frieda died suddenly In 1958, and a year later, Hans Albert married Elizabeth Roboz, a biochemist and fellow university professor. Hans Albert Einstein died in 1973 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Biographical information based on "Inventory of the Hans Albert Einstein Papers." Online Archive of California and "Short LIfe History: Hans ALbert Einstein." Albert Einstein in the World Wide Web.
Historical Note
Senders and recipients of letters are listed in the inventory below where it has been possible to identify them. Family members (including his aunt Maja, his father, mother, and his first wife Fri(e)da) often referred to Hans Albert as "Hadi" or "Adi." Hans Albert often addressed his father as "Vati" ("Dad") or "Papa" and his father often signed his letters to his son in this way.

Box 2 folder 2 contains materials received from Elizabeth Einstein in 1990 and incorporated in part in her Reminiscences published by the The University of Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research in 1991. The remaining materials, Box 1 folders 1-6 and Box 2 folder 1, were sent to the Hydraulic Institute by her estate's executor in 1995 and later transferred to the Libraries. The materials are in German unless otherwise indicated.
The papers are a mix of personal and professional correspondence, in part documenting Hans Albert's assistance to his brother Eduard, who exhibited symptoms of schizophrenia in 1930 and spent much of the rest of his life in a Swiss sanatorium, where he died in 1965. Another substantial part of the collection relates to a book of Einstein Family letters proposed by Frieda Einstein, who assembled and edited correspondence from a number of family members under the working title Albert Einstein in His Letters to His Wife and Children.  The book was not published.

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This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.