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Leo Szilard Letters to Gertrud Weiss
MSS 0650  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Related Materials
  • Biography
  • Publishing Rights
  • Acquisition Information
  • Digital Content
  • Preferred Citation

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Leo Szilard Letters to Gertrud Weiss
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0650
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
    Languages: German
    Physical Description: 0.4 Linear feet (1 archives box)
    Date (inclusive): 1937-1959
    Abstract: The Leo Szilard Letters to Gertrud Weiss collection contains letters written between 1937 and 1959 from Szilard to Weiss. The letters document the development of their relationship during this period and cover a variety of topics, including Szilard's battle with cancer. There are also a small number of letters from other correspondents at the end of the collection. Letters are primarily in German, with some in English.
    Creator: Szilard, Leo

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Leo Szilard Letters to Gertrud Weiss collection contains letters written between 1937 and 1959 from Szilard to Weiss. The letters document the development of their relationship during this period and cover a variety of topics, including Szilard's battle with cancer. Szilard addresses Weiss by his nicknames for her: Trude, Child, and Ch, for short. Letters are arranged chronologically. The last three folders in the box contain letters addressed to both Gertrud Weiss and Leo Szilard. Correspondents include Louis Szilard, Leo Szilard's father; Szilard's brother Bela Szilard; Dr. Henry Hausner, nuclear metals expert and Szilard's colleague; Dr. Robert Glaser of University of Colorado; Dr. Ben Liebovitz, friend who helped arrange Weiss's visas and travel in the United Kingdom and the United States; and a small number of unidentified correspondents.
    Letters are primarily in German, with some in English.

    Related Materials

    English translations of some of the German letters are available in the Lanouette/Szilard Papers, MSS 659, Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego. Translations were commissioned by William Lanouette, author of Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, the Man Behind the Bomb, and conducted by Lanouette's research assistant Joseph Ernst.
    Gertrude Weiss Szilard Papers, MSS 432. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
    Leo Szilard Papers, MSS 32. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Biography

    Gertrud Weiss was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1909. She began studying medicine at the University of Vienna in the 1920s but quit within the first four months to pursue travels in Berlin, where she met Szilard. After several years in Berlin, Szilard convinced her to return to Vienna to pursue her degree in medicine, which Weiss completed in 1936. Compelled by the political climate and Szilard's urgings, Weiss moved to London and then, in 1938, to New York City. There she worked in a hospital until 1950 when she moved to Denver to teach public health at the University of Colorado's Medical School.
    During this time, Szilard's and Weiss's relationship was conducted almost entirely through letters. Szilard was uninterested in marriage and it wasn't until 1951, when speculations on their relationship threatened Weiss's job, that they considered marriage. They married on October 13, 1951, and Weiss took Szilard's name, though they often lived separately during the years following.
    In 1964, they moved together to La Jolla, California, where Szilard was offered a position at the Salk Institute. Szilard died that same year.
    After her husband's death, Gertrud Weiss Szilard collected and co-edited Szilard's papers, producing three volumes published by MIT Press. Gertrud Weiss Szilard remained in California until her death in 1981.

    Publishing Rights

    Publishing rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 2004, and augmented in 2014.

    Digital Content

    The collection has been digitized with funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and can be viewed through links in the container list, or by clicking the link below.

    Preferred Citation

    Leo Szilard Letters to Gertrud Weiss, MSS 650. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Szilard, Gertrud Weiss -- Archives
    Szilard, Gertrud Weiss -- Correspondence
    Szilard, Leo -- Archives
    Szilard, Leo -- Correspondence