April 17, 2010

The Day Einstein Died

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was assigned to photograph the Einstein funeral, but because of the privacy wishes of the family, the photos were left unpublished — dramatic pause — until now.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.


  1. Daryl Scroggins on April 17th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Maybe that’s his lunch.

  2. Deron Bauman on April 17th, 2010 at 10:26 am

    brain sandwich.

  3. Michael Grant Smith on April 17th, 2010 at 10:57 am

    A lamb chop. Definitely.

  4. Coolest Shit Ever: Pictures of Einstein’s Desk On The Day He Died. | Youdopia on April 23rd, 2010 at 11:46 am

    […] This photo has quite a provenance. Daily Grail found it on Kottke.org. He, in turn, found it via clusterflock, who in turn referenced the original slideshow from Life Magazine’s […]