Einstein discusses the fate of his original manuscript on the Theory of Relativity and voices his satisfaction with the success of the Allies against Hitler. The letter is written shortly before the Invasion of Normandy.
Einstein’s correspondent, David Rothman, owned a department store in Southold, Long Island. During the summer of 1939, he befriended Einstein while he vacationed at Nassau Point on Peconic Bay on eastern Long Island. An amateur musician, Rothman organized a musical quartet with Einstein and some local friends, who would get together to play during the course of the summer in what Einstein would later refer to as his “pleasant musical evenings.” Though Rothman only had a high school education, he had a keen interest in science and enjoyed talking with Einstein about scientific matters and more. Their friendship blossomed over the summer of 1939 and the warm relationship continued for many years punctuated by visits and correspondence back and forth
Beginning his letter with fond memories of his summer of 1939, Einstein remarks on the beautiful boat Rothman’s son has built and wishes him “happy times in it.” He then reminisces: “Your Bay is really the most beutiful [sic] sailing ground I ever experienced and I regret that the health of my family compels me to go to the mountains for recreation.”
No doubt answering a question posed by Rothman in a previous letter, Einstein proceeds to explain the fate of his first manuscript on the Theory of Relativity: “My first manuscript about relativity was not burned by the Nazis. I myself threw it into the waste-basket after it was printed judging it was good for nothing. At that time I knew nothing of the snobbery of this human world.”