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The Einsteins arrive in San Diego

The Einsteins arrive in San Diego

Dec. 31, 1930: Dr. Albert Einstein and his wife after their arrival in San Diego on the steamship Belgenland.

In the Jan. 1, 193,1 edition, the Los Angeles Times reported:

Dr. Albert Einstein, distinguished German scientist whose intricate mathematical deductions about space and time sent fame scurrying to thump on the door of his modest little Berlin flat, arrived in Pasadena last night by motor from San Diego….

Setting foot for the first time on California soil, Dr. Einstein walked down the gangplank of the around-the-world steamship Belgenland at San Diego yesterday morning shortly after 9 o’clock. He was given a welcome that has seldom been equaled in San Diego History….

Although far from garrulous, the wizard of mathematical theory gave as generously of responses as was within his power to the barrage of questions laid down before him by his inquisitors, who sought him out on the Belgenland as the vessel steamed slowly into port. And he hinted strongly, too, in his remarks at the Balboa Park fete, that he had been overcome by the greeting accorded him.

But it was in his radio talk that seemed to pour forth from his heart a torrent of emotion he no longer could contain in the face of the ado the city was making over his presence. He spoke in his native German, which was translated by his wife, Frau Elsa.

“I am delightfully moved by the wonderful and hearty reception accorded me here in San Diego,” he said. “I am stepping today for the first time on California soil and it was a beautiful gesture to receive the greetings of a group of young people.”

This photo was published in the Jan. 1, 1931, Los Angeles Times.

This previous From the Archives post, Einsteins greet the media, covered a Jan. 2, 1931, press conference at Caltech in Pasadena.


  1. June 22, 2013, 10:38 am

    I appreciate his quote, "When I examine myself and my methods of thought; I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talents for absorbing positive knowledge. Albert Einstein.

    Evelyn Connaway

  2. June 23, 2013, 10:42 am

    So Einstein was married to Donald Pleasence. Fascinating.

    By: Jjak

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