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Einstein Furniture Collection

Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) first gained worldwide prominence in 1919, when British astronomers verified predictions of Einstein's general theory of relativity through measurements taken during a total eclipse. Einstein's theories expanded upon, and in some cases refuted, universal laws formulated by Newton in the late seventeenth century. Einstein captured the world's imagination with his blend of brilliant scientific theories and humanitarian concern. The public is still intrigued by Einstein. Visitors come to Princeton from throughout the world to see where Einstein spent the last twenty years of his life. In 2003, the Historical Society was the proud recipient of a gift of 65 pieces of Albert Einstein's furniture from his home on Mercer Street, donated by the Institute for Advanced Study. An eclectic collection, the gift includes tables, chairs, chests, cabinets, a bed and other items from the 18th through 20th centuries.The furniture is representative of several styles and eras. One of the earliest pieces is a Queen Anne table made in Austria between 1730 and 1770. An upholstered tub armchair from the early 20th century appears frequently in photos of Einstein at home. According to James R. Blackwood's "Einstein in the Rear-view Mirror," which appeared in Volume 14 of Princeton History, it was local jeweler Isadore Braveman who kept the Einstein's 19th century Biedermeier-style clock in working order. Blackwood also described the efforts of the underground to send the furniture from Germany to the United States under a fictitious name, which led to difficulties with suspicious customs officials when the Einsteins went to New York to claim their things.The Historical Society currently displays Einstein's music stand in its Princeton History Room. In the spring and summer of 2005, his desk used in his Berlin study was on loan from the Historical Society to the Max Planck Institute in Berlin for their exhibition Albert Einstein: Engineer of the Universe.