Einstein comments on his instant fame in 1920: "At night I dream I am burning in hell and the postman is the devil and is continually screaming at me, hurling a fresh bundle of letters at my head because I still haven’t answered the old ones"
Important ALS in German, signed “Einstein,” one page, 8.75 x 11, February 2, 1920. Handwritten letter to fellow physicist Ludwig Hopf, commenting on his newfound fame brought about by the experimental confirmation of gravitational light deflection. In full (translated): "Saying no truly never was my strength. But in the predicament in which I find myself now, I am slowly learning. Since the influx of newspaper articles, I am being so terribly deluged with inquiries, invitations, and requests that at night I dream I am burning in hell and the postman is the devil and is continually screaming at me, hurling a fresh bundle of letters at my head because I still haven’t answered the old ones. Added to that, I have my fatally ill mother here at home as a result of the 'momentous times' must attend countless meetings, etc.—in short, I am nothing but a bunch of pitiful reflex motions. So, mercy and pity, that’s all I am asking. I am not lecturing at Zurich anymore, partly because I cannot leave here, partly because physics there is so superbly represented that my schoolteaching has become absolutely superfluous over there. So please pacify Sommerfeld by giving him a faithful rendition of my truly pitiable situation (resplendent misery) and accept my cordial regards." In fine condition, with small old tape stains at the ends of the central horizontal fold. The text of this letter is found in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein: Volume 9: The Berlin Years: Correspondence, January 1919-April 1920, and is referenced in Walter Isaacson's biography of the genius.
The first tests of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity were performed by Sir Arthur Eddington during the total solar eclipse of May 29, 1919. His observations of the gravitational deflection of light offered the first experimental proof of Einstein's groundbreaking theory. Widespread newspaper coverage of these results—commented on in the present letter—led to worldwide fame for Einstein and his theories, and he received the Nobel Prize in 1921. A remarkable and insightful letter by Einstein on his overnight celebrity and its effects on his life and work.