The Holy Bible. New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, [c.1930].
8vo. On India paper. Leatherette.
Provenance: Harriet F. Hamilton (gift inscription).
BIBLE INSCRIBED AND SIGNED BY ALBERT EINSTEIN AND BY HIS WIFE ELSA for a friend in Pasadena, dated February, 1932. Einstein's inscription is on the front free endpaper: "Dies Buch ist eine [?]schönsfliche Guelle der Lebensweisheit und des Trostes. Lesen Sie oft darinn und geschenken Sie dabei / Ihren / A. Einstein." Einstein advises that the Bible is a great source of wisdom and consolation and should be read frequently.
Any opinion expressed by Einstein on the Bible is of intense interest. He went through a devout phase as a child which ended around age 12; afterward he never subscribed to organized religion. Here, however, he espouses a comforting, humanist view to a friend of his wife, dramatically different from the post-Holocaust opinion Einstein offered to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, referring to the Bible as a "collection of honorable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish" (ALS dated Jan 3, 1954, sold at Bloomsbury, May 15, 2008, lot 303).
Not much is known of the recipient, Harriet Hamilton, but a letter she co-wrote with Elsa Einstein to T.V. Kármán is retained by the Einstein archives in Pasadena.