The Meaning of Relativity is "Einstein's definitive exposition of his special and general theories of relativity.” -Hanoch Gutfreund and Jürgen Renn, The Formative Years of Relativity: The History and Meaning of Einstein’s Princeton Lectures
SIGNED AND INSCRIBED copy of Einstein’s classic, The Meaning of Relativity; with signed proof copy of Einstein’s important Appendix “On the Cosmologic Problem.”
Both from the collection of Princeton University Press director Datus C. Smith (who published the proof and the book). The Meaning of Relativity is inscribed in ink on the front free endpaper: “To Mr. Datus C. Smith Jr. / A. Einstein. 50.” The proof is signed in ink at the top of the first page: “A. Einstein. 50.” With letter of provenance from Smith’s daughter.
“The Meaning of Relativity, also known as Four Lectures on Relativity, is Einstein’s definitive exposition of his special and general theories of relativity. It was written in the early 1920s, a few years after he had elaborated his general theory of relativity. Neither before nor afterward did he offer a similarly comprehensive exposition that included not only the theory’s technical apparatus but also detailed explanations making his achievement accessible to readers with a certain mathematical knowledge but no familiarity with relativity theory…
“The Meaning of Relativity is a paradigmatic text of this period, reflecting not only Einstein’s own efforts but also the engagement of his contemporaries with the theory… He later also enriched The Meaning of Relativity with appendixes discussing further developments. But he never made another attempt at such an all-encompassing presentation in which he painstakingly motivated, explained, and discussed its basic principles and their consequences” (Gutfreund and Renn).
The edition offered is the definitive third edition, published in 1950. It includes the first appearance in a book of Einstein’s critically important essay “Generalized Theory of Gravitation” (as Appendix II) as well as the second appearance of the first Appendix “On the ‘Cosmologic Problem” where Einstein addresses in detail the circumstances of his “greatest blunder,” his cosmological constant. The signed proof offered is of this first Appendix.
The recipient, Datus C. Smith, Jr. was the director of the Princeton University Press from 1942 to 1953 and would have seen this book through publication. “Under his directorship, the Princeton Press quadrupled its annual sales of scholarly and scientific books and greatly increased its foreign distribution.” (New York Times, Obituary, Dec. 11, 1999). With letter of provenance and delightful essay recounting a memory of Einstein by Smith’s daughter.
EINSTEIN, ALBERT. The Meaning of Relativity. Third edition, including the Generalized Theory of Gravitation. NJ: Princeton University Press, 1950. Octavo, original cloth, original dust jacket. Some soiling to dust jacket and toning to spine. A very good, fresh copy in the rare dust jacket. WITH: Appendix for the Second Edition: On the “Cosmologic Problem”. Octavo, as issued, stapled with no wrappers. NJ: Princeton University Press, 1950. Fine condition. The two items handsomely boxed together.
Hanoch Gutfreund and Jürgen Renn. The Formative Years of Relativity: The History and Meaning of Einstein’s Princeton Lectures. Featuring Einstein’s Classic Text The Meaning of Relativity in Its Historical Context. Princeton University Press, 2017.