Dear Professor Einstein:

The Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists

in Post-War America

About the Project

Where did this collection come from?

The Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists records are part of Series 12: Peace, of the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers at Oregon State University Libraries and Press. When Albert Einstein died in 1955, his personal ECAS files were turned over to Frank Aydelotte, the director of Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Study, where Einstein worked in his final years. Upon Aydelotte’s death shortly thereafter, Einstein’s personal files were sent by Aydelotte's family to Linus Pauling for preservation. 

What tools are used for this project?

After digitizing the letters and gathering metadata about each one, we used the online exhibit/description tool Omeka to build the exhibit. The Omeka plugin Scripto enables crowdscourced transcription for the letters.

How do I transcribe the letters?

Click on the image for a letter, then click on "Transcribe this Item" at the top of the record. This will take you to the transcription page. Click on "edit" near the bottom. Use the navigation buttons on the image to zoom in or out, and to move the image within the box. Type your transcription into the text box. To save, click on "Edit Transcription."

When transcribing, don't worry about perfection. We will review each item's transcription for accuracy. Also, don't worry about formatting. Since this text is only to improve keyword searchability and data work, formatting is not crucial.

Remember to: 

  • Copy the text as is, including misspellings and abbreviations.
  • Ignore formatting (e.g. spacing, line breaks, alignment)
  • If you can't make out a word, enter "[illegible]"; if uncertain, indicate with square brackets, e.g. "[town?]"
  • Transcribe letterhead information when possible.


Can I have your data set to do my own data visualizations and other DH work?

Yes! Email us at if you would like a copy of the dataset. We also plan to post it here soon.

I have some questions about your project. How do I contact you?

We welcome feedback of all kinds about all aspects of "Dear Dr. Einstein." Please email us at

I have information about one of your letters. What should I do?

We are eager to hear from anyone, including rights owners to correct or enhance item metadata and copyright information. Upon request, we will remove material from public view while we address a rights issue.

Why do these images look so rough?

This project was partly an experiment in rapid scanning processes. We privileged readability and completeness, and decided not to spend the considerable time required to aesthetically optimize each image. For more information about the workflow of the project, contact

What are upcoming plans for this project?

The project is a work-in-progress. Letters will be added throughout the fall of 2014. We hope to have all ECAS letters on the site by December 2014. We also plan to perform text analysis on the transcriptions of letters, add data visualizations, and more. For questions or comments, please contact


Narrative: Joshua McGuffie and Anne Bahde

Exhibit item selection: Anne Bahde

Digitization and Metadata: Cheryl Bemiss, Anna Brecheisen, Haley Bull, Jindan Chen, Joshua McGuffie

Graphic Design: Ryan Mason

Programmers: Travis Stevens and Ryan Wick

Consultation: Ryan Wick

We also extend our thanks to: Jacob Darwin Hamblin, Jane Nichols and her HC 407: Digital Humanities class of Winter 2014, and Trevor Sandgathe.

We also extend our thanks to DIYHistory at the University of Iowa, for inspiration and consultation on this project. 

This exhibit is a product of the Special Collections & Archives Research Center at the Oregon State University Libraries and Press

About the Project