LIKELY THE ONLY SIGNED PHOTOGRAPH OF THIS IMPORTANT IMAGE OF EINSTEIN AT THE 1940 NATURALIZATION CEREMONY WHERE HE BECAME A U.S. CITIZEN.
The celebrated, Nobel Prize-winning physicist left Germany in 1933 following the Nazis’ rise to power and settled in the United States. Einstein renounced his German citizenship that same year, but he was still a Swiss citizen, and he lived for many years in Princeton with the status of a permanent foreign resident. Then, on October 1, 1940, Einstein became a U.S. citizen. This move marked his satisfaction with his new life in America and, with the outbreak of war in Europe, was an expression of his continuing opposition to the Nazis. He took the oath of citizenship, along with his step-daughter, Margot, and his long-time secretary, Helen Dukas, at a federal court in Trenton, New Jersey.
This photograph was taken at the naturalization ceremony that day by a photographer for a Trenton newspaper. The 8" x 10", black-and-white photo was taken from a low angle, looking up, and it shows a white-haired Einstein full-length, seated in a wooden chair, his legs crossed and his hands on his lap, holding what is probably a pen. He is formally-dressed in a shirt and tie and a three-piece suit, but he is clearly sockless, as was his custom. His step-daughter, Margot, is seated in the chair next to him, and she is wearing a dark wool suit. Both are looking ahead with serious, attentive expressions on their faces.
Provenance: Within a day or two after this picture was taken, the photographer visited Einstein in Princeton and asked him to sign this photo. The scientist obliged, writing his full name, "Albert Einstein", in blue-green ink in the lower left corner of the photo. It was acquired from the daughter of the photographer, and is accompanied by a brief statement from her about the circumstances of its signing.
Given the circumstances under which this photo was taken and signed, this is likely the only signed copy of this image.
Trenton, New Jersey: October 1, 1940. Fine condition.