Einstein, Lewis, 1877-1967

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Einstein, a diplomat, historian, and art critic, began his foreign service career in 1903 as the third secretary of the American Embassy in Paris. He was subsequently posted to positions in Britain, Turkey, China, and Costa Rica, and during World War I served as the American diplomatic representative in charge of British interests in Bulgaria. Einstein completed his diplomatic career as the U.S. Minister to Czechoslovakia from 1921-1930. He continued to live abroad in London and later Paris, where he died in 1967. Einstein wrote several volumes of poetry as well as articles and books on a broad range of subjects including American diplomatic history and contemporary foreign policy, Theodore Roosevelt, art, and the Italian Renaissance.

From the description of Lewis Einstein papers, 1808-1968, (bulk 1900-1968). (University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center). WorldCat record id: 32345822

Lewis Einstein was born in New York City in 1877 to a wealthy and prominent family. His grandfather owned a textile factory and his father, David, continued the family business. Lewis, along with his two sisters, was exposed to art, music, and literature. He received a BA and an MA degree in history from Columbia University in 1898-1899 and spent the next few years concentrating on researching and writing history.

Einstein then turned his attention to the diplomatic field. His broad cultural interests, historical background, knowledge of foreign languages, and his family’s close ties with the Republican Party made for a smooth transition into foreign service. His first appointment was as the Third Secretary of the American Embassy in Paris in 1903. While in Paris he met and married an English socialite named Helene Ralli. The couple moved to his next post in London in 1905. After London, Einstein was promoted to the position of Second Secretary of the American Legation in Constantinople, Turkey. He held this position from 1906-1908 and worked at easing restrictions placed on American missionaries working in Turkey. The post in Constantinople was elevated to an embassy in 1906, and Einstein was promoted to First Secretary in 1908. He was named to the Legation in Peking in 1909 and then to Costa Rica in 1911. He was removed from the diplomatic corps when Woodrow Wilson came to office in 1913, and he and Helene spent the next few years living in Florence, Italy. Einstein’s knowledge of Turkey and Eastern Europe made him a valuable commodity for the diplomatic corps during World War I, and he was soon appointed by William J. Bryan as a “Special Agent” to Constantinople in 1915. This was his most challenging post to date, as warfare made the situation very tense. The American Embassy looked after American interests and helped with relief efforts for starving Armenians, Syrians, and Jews.

After World War I, Einstein wrote several articles on American foreign policy, criticizing its policies and favoring a “balance of powers” between nations. Einstein found his way back into the diplomatic service by supporting Warren Harding’s presidential campaign. President Harding appointed Einstein as the Minister of the American Embassy in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1921. Einstein’s post dealt mostly with post-war economic matters such as debt repayment and trade tariffs. Einstein retired from this post in 1930, never to return to active diplomatic service. He spent his remaining years living in Paris with his wife and writing on diplomatic matters. He died at the age of 90 in 1967.

From the guide to the Lewis Einstein papers, 1808-1968, 1900-1968, (University of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Cummings, Homer S. (Homer Stillé), 1870-1956. Papers of Homer S. Cummings, 1886-1956. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Lewis Einstein papers, 1808-1968, 1900-1968 Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company. Houghton Mifflin Company reader reports on manuscripts submitted for publication. 1882-1931. Houghton Library
referencedIn Scott, Mary Augusta, 1851-1918. Mary Augusta Scott papers, 1870-1917. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Scott, Mary Augusta, 1851-1918. Papers, 1870-1917. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company contracts, 1831-1979 (inclusive) 1880-1940 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Papers of Robert Woods Bliss and Mildred Barnes Bliss, ca. 1860-1969 (inclusive) Harvard University Archives.
referencedIn West, Rebecca, 1892-1983. Rebecca West papers 1894-1975. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1841-1935. Papers, 1637-1967. Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn Letters to Kermit Roosevelt, 1890-1918. Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Einstein, Lewis, 1877-1967. Letter, 1902 Mar. 28, New York, to E.P. Evans [Munich?]. University of Michigan
referencedIn Rebecca West papers, 1894-1975 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Evans family. Evans family papers, 1866-1918. University of Michigan
creatorOf Einstein, Lewis. Luigi Pulci and the Morgante maggiore. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Evans family. Papers, 1866-1918. University of Michigan
referencedIn John Mason Brown papers, 1922-1967. Houghton Library
referencedIn Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1841-1935. Collection, 1862-1935. Library of Congress
creatorOf Einstein, Lewis, 1877-1967. Lewis Einstein papers, 1808-1968, (bulk 1900-1968). Univerisity of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1841-1935. Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr. Harvard Law School Library Digital Suite. Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
Relation Name
correspondedWith Bliss, Robert Woods, 1875-1962 person
correspondedWith Brown, John Mason, 1900-1969 person
associatedWith Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925. person
associatedWith Bryce, James Bryce, Viscount, 1838-1922. person
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
associatedWith Churchill, Clementine, 1885-1977. person
associatedWith Cummings, Homer S. (Homer Stillé), 1870-1956. person
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
associatedWith Evans, E. P. (Edward Payson), 1831-1917. person
associatedWith Evans family. family
associatedWith Evans family. family
associatedWith Hay, John, 1830-1905. person
associatedWith Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1841-1935. person
associatedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Hughes, Charles Evans, 1862-1948. person
associatedWith Hull, Cordell, 1871-1955. person
associatedWith Jusserand, J. J. (Jean Jules), 1855-1922. person
associatedWith Jusserand, J. J. (Jean Jules), 1855-1932 person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919. person
associatedWith Root, Elihu, 1845-1937. person
associatedWith Scott, Mary Augusta, 1851-1918. person
associatedWith Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930. person
associatedWith West, Rebecca, 1892-1983. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Great Britain
Costa Rica
Diplomatic and consular service, American--Bulgaria
Diplomatic and consular service, American--China
World War, 1939-1945--Diplomatic history
World War, 1914-1918--Diplomatic history
Diplomatic and consular service, American
Diplomatic and consular service, American--Czechoslovakia
Art criticism
World War, 1939-1945--Causes
Diplomatic and consular service, American--Turkey
Diplomatic and consular service, American--France
Diplomatic and consular service, American--Great Britain
Diplomatic and consular service, American--Costa Rica


Birth 1877-03-15

Death 1967-12-04


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