Finding aid for Otto Nathan correspondence

Summary Information

Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center
Otto Nathan correspondence
1.0 folders
Material Specific Details note
The Small Manuscripts Collection (SMC) designation is given to collections of personal papers that comprise less than 0.25 linear feet. In many cases, these collections consist of a single folder.

Preferred Citation note

The suggested citation for the material is "[item], Otto Nathan correspondence, From the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, USA."

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Biographical note

Otto Nathan (1893-1987) was an economist who began his career as an economic advisor in his native Germany. He later fled to the United States where he was a professor in economics affiliated with various universities. While teaching at Princeton University, he began a friendship with Albert Einstein. Einstein chose Nathan as the executor of his estate and co-trustee of his literary estate with Helen Dukas.

Helen (a.k.a., Helene) Dukas (1896-1982) was an author, editor, and the secretary to Albert Einstein from 1928 until his death in 1955. In 1933, she emigrated from Germany to the United States with the Einstein family. After Einstein's death, Helen Dukas and Otto Nathan shared responsibility for Einstein's literary estate.

Margot Einstein (1900-1986) was a sculptor and the stepdaughter of Albert Einstein. Margot's mother, Elsa Hoffmann, was Albert Einstein's cousin, and she became his second wife after the death of her first husband. Margot was married once. That marriage ended in divorce, and Margot spent the remainder of her adult life as a key member of Albert Einstein's household.

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Scope and Contents note

The Otto Nathan correspondence collection consists of eight handwritten letters in German dating from July and August of 1955, just months after the death of Albert Einstein that April. The letters were sent from European locations (Bern, London, Paris, and Zürich). Six of the letters are addressed exclusively to Helen Dukas and the remaining two letters are addressed to both Helen Dukas and Margot Einstein. As co-trustees of Albert Einstein's literary estate, Otto Nathan and Helen Dukas worked closely together following Albert Einstein's death.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center

Historical Studies-Social Science Library
Einstein Drive
NJ, 08540

Revision Description

  November 27, 2018

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open without restriction.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Albert Einstein was on the Faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study from 1933 until his death in 1955. As his secretary, Helen Dukas was on the Institute staff and had offices on the Institute campus. Her relationship with the Institute continued after Einstein's death, where there was office space provided for the processing of Einstein's papers. Though not documented, the folder containing the Otto Nathan correspondence chiefly with Helen Dukas collection was likely found among Dukas' belongings either on the campus or at home (112 Mercer Street) and transferred to the Institute's library.

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Collection Inventory


Digitized file (PDF)


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