October 1997 Issue [Folio]
Driving Mr. Albert
A trip across America with Einstein
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According to newspaper accounts following Einstein’s death, mystery immediately shrouded the brain. Dr. Zimmerman, on staff at New York City’s Montefiore Medical Center, expected to receive Einstein’s brain from Harvey, but never, in fact, did; Princeton Hospital decided not to relinquish the brain. Harvey, however, also decided not to relinquish the brain and at some point removed it from the hospital.
Later, when I visit Kruger in Los Angeles, among the clutter of his office, which includes an oversize book entitled A Dendro-cyto-myeloarchitectonic Atlas of the Cat’s Brain, he’s a bit more judicious. “What [Harvey] did is probably illegal,” he tells me. “I guess he must be a slightly strange guy… Had he been smart, he would have given it up and moved away from it, but he was grandstanding, and I presume he paid a price for it.”
An accomplished philanderer, he also flouted the conventional morals of his day. “Einstein loved women,” Peter Plesch, whose father was a close friend, once said of the physicist, “and the commoner and sweatier and smellier they were, the better he liked them.” To live so completely in his head, he held the real world close – women, sailboats, a sudden meal of ten pounds of strawberries.