Given the breadth of individual human achievement represented in Handwritten, it’s no surprise that every day there is a new discovery or event related to the authors whose manuscripts feature in the exhibition.
Just last month several letters by Albert Einstein to an American-German group canvassing his thoughts on pre-war tensions in 1930s Germany were auctioned in Los Angeles. The typewritten letters, hand-signed “A. Einstein,” were written just three months before the outbreak of World War II and fetched almost twice the pre-sale estimate by the auction house.
On the 14th of March, the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, an annual prize for significant advances in medical research was awarded to Peter Walker of the University of California for his discoveries in cell biology. The prize was established in 1952, and awards 100,000 euro to the winner. Correspondence between Ehrlich and his patron and supporter, can be seen amongst the many letters collected by Darmstaedter on display in the central section of Handwritten.
Last week, the oldest surviving film featuring a Charles Dickens character was discovered, in the year of the 200th anniversary of the Charles Dickens’ birth. The Death of Poor Joe dates to March 1901 and was discovered by British Film Institute (BFI) curator Bryony Dixon, in February 2012. Prior to this discovery, the earliest known Dickens film was Scrooge or Marley’s Ghost, released in November 1901. The film, which is just one minute long, depicts Joe, the street sweeper from Dickens’ Bleak House, dying in the freezing snow against a churchyard wall. As he falls to the ground a local watchman tries to help him and cradles him as he dies. The footage, filmed in Brighton, was directed by George Albert Smith, and handed to the BFI in 1954 by a collector who had known Smith. It is thought the director’s wife, Laura Bayley, played Joe, and a Tom Green played the watchman. More information is available here http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-09/dickens-film-found-in-uk/3879500
In case you weren’t aware of Charles Dickens’ Australian connections, he had always wanted to travel to Australia on a speaking tour. He eventually encouraged two of his sons to migrate to Australia. His youngest son Ed Dickens owned a station at Wilcannia, served in the NSW Parliament and worked as a Land inspector in Moree NSW where he died childless and in debt. His gravestone still stands today in the Moree cemetary.Brendan Dahl