Albert Einstein and Florence Billikopf at Knollwood -- Thanks to David Billikopf

Albert Einstein loved sailing on Ampersand Bay on his visits to Saranac Lake. He was somewhat accident prone however and was rescued by young Don Duso in July of 1944, after his sailboat overturned.

Here is an exerpt from "Einstein, The Life And Times" by Ronald W. Claric:

"During World War II Albert Einstein worked for the U.S. Navy as a research consultant in the field of conventional explosives, and he continued to indulge his passion for sailing at Saranac Lake and on Princeton's Carnegie Lake. On one occasion, during the summer of 1944 when he was 65 years old, Einstein was sailing with three companions on Saranac Lake, high in the Adirondacks in choppy conditions. When he hit a rock, the boat quickly filled with water and capsized. Fortunately, the water was warm and a motorboat was nearby operated by a young boy, Donald Duso. Einstein was trapped beneath the water under the sail, and his leg had become tangled in a rope. Without knowing how to swim, he managed to free his leg and claw his way to the surface, where he was rescued. Had he panicked, undoubtedly he would have drowned."

"Einstein was at Saranac Lake on August 6, 1945, when he heard the radio announcement of the bombing of Hiroshima. He was devastated; here was tragic proof that E indeed equalled mc≤. That formula forecast the re≠lease of formidable quantities of energy if the atom were ever split. Now the nucleus of the uranium atom had indeed been split, and the resulting energy had been used to kill thousands of human beings."

"Almost overnight," says Clark, "Einstein became the conscience of the world." And as such he wrote, spoke and broadcast throughout the 10 years of life that remained to him."

Here is another rescue story which I quote from Chuck Rothman's "Einstein's Long Island Summer": "One time, Einstein actually fell into the water and had to be rescued by a teenager who had been passing by and heard his calls for help. The kid left and didn't even tell his name."

The next quote is from a journal by Lyman Briggs, one of the members of THE MANHATTAN PROJECT, which incorporated some of Al's ideas into the ATOMIC BOMB: "One day in September 1942, 16-yr old Peter Briggs Myers (Grandson of Lyman Briggs) was canoeing on Saranac Lake, NY. The weather turned bad, and he spotted a lone man in a small sailboat having great difficulty lowering the sail. Peter paddled along side and helped to bring the sailboat safely to shore. He immediately recognized the lone sailor as Albert Einstein. At Einstein's cottage, the two men dried out and spoke. Peter Myers mentioned his physicist grandfather. Yes, Einstein said he knew him, but the connectionóthe secret Manhattan Projectówas, of course, never mentioned."

Yes, Uncle Albert seemed to be very accident prone, or were some of these rescues simply Urban Legends? Strange that there were always young scalawags around to rescue him.

There were two other alleged Saranac Lake rescues reported the same July 1944 day that Don Duso supposedly performed his rescue of the hapless genius. They are illustrated below. If you have any information concerning other "Einstein rescues" please send it in.

The photo below is from the book, "SARANAC LAKE, PIONEER HEALTH RESORT" by Mark Caldwell. It shows a young boy who, according to the caption, rescued Einstein when his sailboat capsized. The caption states that the boy in the picture is Don Duso and that it was taken circa 1941-1942. Don says, though the incident indeed took place, the boy in the picture is NOT him. Perhaps this was taken after the Peter Briggs Myers incident. Were there MORE Saranac Lake rescues?


The photo below looks more like Don!