April 17, 2010
Ralph Morse, a young photographer for Life magazine, was assigned to photograph the Einstein funeral, but because of the privacy wishes of the family, the photos were left unpublished — dramatic pause — until now.
Dr. Thomas Harvey (1912 – 2007) was the pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Einstein at Princeton Hospital in 1955. The stranger-than-fiction tale of Einstein’s brain — which Harvey controversially removed during the autopsy, carefully sliced into sections, and then kept for years for research purposes — and the intrigues long-associated with the famous organ, are far too convoluted to go into here. However: on the day that Einstein died, Ralph Morse was able to take a few quick photographs of Dr. Harvey at the hospital. Morse says he’s certain that that is not Einstein’s brain under Dr. Harvey’s knife in this never-before-seen picture. Then, after a pause, Morse qualifies that certainty: “You know, it was fifty-five years ago. Honestly, I don’t remember every single detail of the day. So whatever he’s cutting there …” Morse’s words hang in the air. Then, mischievously, he laughs.