And now for a payment-for-access story from another era of journalism: Let Ralph Morse, then a photographer for Life, tell the story of how he gained access to Einstein’s office on the day of his death in 1955:
“I grabbed my cameras and drove the ninety miles to Princeton,” Morse recalls. “Einstein died at the Princeton Hospital, so I headed there first. But it was chaos — so many journalists, photographers, onlookers milling around outside what, back then, was a really small hospital. ‘Forget this,’ I said, and headed over to the building where Einstein’s office was. On the way there, I stopped and bought a case of scotch. I knew people might be reluctant to talk to me, and I knew that most people were happy to accept a bottle of scotch instead of money if you offered it in exchange for their help. So, I get to the building and nobody’s there. I find the superintendent, give him a fifth of scotch, and he opens up Einstein’s office so I can take some photos.”
Morse is now 92, and LIFE.com is running eight never before published images he made that day, and hadn’t seen since.Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.