Sometime in March 1955, theoretical physicist Albert Einstein was photographed in what seemed to be his home in Princeton, New Jersey. It was the last known photograph ever taken of the brilliant man whose name became synonymous to the word "genius."
Much remains unknown about the snapshot that turned out to be Albert Einstein‘s last photograph. Some believe that it was taken in the scientist’s home near Princeton, New Jersey sometime in March 1955. It appeared to be a cropped photo of the aged Nobel Prize winner standing beside a frame and leaning on it. A month later, on April 17, 1955, the physicist suffered an internal bleeding due to aortic aneurysm rupture, a condition previously diagnosed and treated.
Einstein went to the hospital, taking with him a draft of his speech for a television appearance in commemoration of Israel’s seventh anniversary. Refusing surgery, he told his doctors, “I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.”
The brilliant man of science continued to work until his last hours, leaving behind the unfinished speech; he passed away the next morning at Princeton Hospital. He was 76.
The funeral and cremation of Albert Einstein were kept very much private by his family, but one photographer managed to document the icon’s passing on film. LIFE magazine’s Ralph Morse, thanks to the case of scotch which “opened doors and loosened tongues,” captured several photos during that day. At the request of Einstein’s son to uphold the family’s privacy while they mourned, the full story with Morse’s photographs were not published, except for one—Einstein’s Princeton office, snapped exactly as the physicist had left it.
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Also, look forward to more installments of the Last But Not the Least Series this week!
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