When Albert Einstein died on April 18, 1955, his funeral and cremation were intensely private affairs, and only one photographer managed to capture the events of that extraordinary day: LIFE magazine’s Ralph Morse.
“I grabbed my cameras and drove the 90 miles to Princeton from my home in northern New Jersey. 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.”
Above: Ralph Morse’s photograph of Einstein’s office in Princeton, taken hours after Einstein’s death and captured exactly as the Nobel Prize-winner left it.
(see more — LIFE at 75: LIFE Photographers Look Back)