[Ads-l] Anecdote: Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein meet. Request help with 1930 Woman's Home Companion

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 9 16:19:17 EST 2018

A popular anecdote claims that Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein
were together at the premiere of Chaplin's movie "City Lights", and
they exchanged sharp observations about fame and incomprehensibility.
Here is a link to the Quote Investigator article on the topic if you
wish to have some background information:


Researcher Austin Thompson provided me with a new and very valuable
lead. The citation below appeared several years before other citations
(known to me).

Does your library have access to "Woman's Home Companion" in 1930? If
you do have access then I would like you to look in volume 60 for the
text given below.

ProQuest has a database called "Women's Magazine Archive", but the
online listing indicates that "Woman's Home Companion" probably is not
currently in the ProQuest database.

Date: July to December 1933
Periodical: Woman's Home Companion
Volume 60
Quote Page 17 (according to HathiTrust); please examine all issues in the volume
Location: Volume scanned at Pennsylvania State University
Database: HathiTrust

[Begin unverified text provided by Austin Thompson]
"We sat down to delicious home-baked tarts made by Mrs. Einstein.
During the course of conversation, his son remarked on the psychology
of the popularity of Einstein and myself.

'You are popular' he said, 'because you are understood by the masses.
On the other hand, the professor’s popularity with the masses is
because he is not understood.'"
[End unverified text]

Most versions of the anecdote attribute words similar to those above
to Chaplin and/or Einstein, but this citation suggests that the words
were spoken by one of Einstein’s sons.

The goal is to obtain a complete and accurate citation. If you could
scan the article containing the target text together with the table of
contents, a page showing the issue date, and a page showing the
publisher information that would be very helpful.

Please let me know on-list or off-list if you can help. Thanks,
Garson O'Toole

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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