What was Albert Einstein thinking on the day he died? These newly released pictures of his desk may provide a clue. LIFE Magazine has held onto them for years, along with a picture of the doctor who removed Einstein's brain.

At the request of the Einstein's family, LIFE magazine held onto photographer Ralph Morse's snapshots of Einstein's office on the day he died for 55 years. But now that most of Einstein's children and step-children have passed on as well, and his last known biological grandchild died in 2008, the magazine is releasing the images. The magazine also features an interview from the now 92-year-old Morse, who describes how he bribed his into Einstein's office and into the office of the doctor who did the autopsy as well — using a case of scotch. The pictures of Dr. Thomas Harvey are probably the strangest as he was the man that sent Einstein's brain on a cross-country trip that may actually have been illegal.

Photo by Ralph Morse/TIME & LIFE Pictures


Photo by Ralph Morse/TIME & LIFE Pictures

Caption From Life Magazine


Dr. Thomas Harvey (1912 - 2007) was the pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Einstein at Princeton Hospital in 1955. The stranger-than-fiction tale of Einstein's brain — which Harvey controversially removed during the autopsy, carefully sliced into sections, and then kept for years for research purposes — and the intrigues long-associated with the famous organ, are far too convoluted to go into here. However: on the day that Einstein died, Ralph Morse was able to take a few quick photographs of Dr. Harvey at the hospital. Morse says he's certain that that is not Einstein's brain under Dr. Harvey's knife in this never-before-seen picture. Then, after a pause, Morse qualifies that certainty: "You know, it was fifty-five years ago. Honestly, I don't remember every single detail of the day. So whatever he's cutting there ..." Morse's words hang in the air. Then, mischievously, he laughs.

To read more and view more pictures go to LIFE.

Photo by Ralph Morse/TIME & LIFE Pictures