By Michael Banks
It is amazing how far a bottle of scotch can take you.
On 18 April 1955 photographer Ralph Morse got a call early in the morning from an editor at LIFE magazine to go to Princeton.
Morse, who worked for the magazine for decades, was told to cover the news that Albert Einstein had died of heart failure at Princeton Hospital.
Armed with his camera and a case of scotch, Morse travelled 90 miles from his home to Princeton, New Jersey. But instead of going straight to the hospital, which was flooded with reporters, Morse drove to Einstein’s office at Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
After offering a superintendent some scotch, Morse had access to Einstein’s office just as the physicist left it, where he took a now iconic image of his desk.
Last week, LIFE magazine published 10 other previously unseen photographs taken on the day. Most of the pictures are taken at the service, which was held on the afternoon of 18 April at Ewing Crematorium in Trenton, 20 km south of Princeton.
Morse located the service after workers at a cemetery in Princeton told him where it was being held – all with the help of a little scotch.