Albert A. Michelson:
Personal Life and Interests
"It seems to me that scientific research should be regarded as a painter regards his art, a poet his poems, and a composer his music." -- Albert A. Michelson
In 1877, Albert Michelson married Margaret Heminway, and with her had three children, Albert Heminway, Truman, and Elsa. This first marriage ended in divorce in 1897, and Michelson never saw most of those family members again. Michelson was married to his second wife Edna Stanton from 1899 until his death in 1931. Together Michelson and Stanton had three daughters named Madeleine, Beatrice, and Dorothy.
Albert A. Michelson had many interests outside of the realm of physics and science, including music, art, billiards, chess, and tennis. His interest in the violin began when he was a child, grew during his years at the Naval Academy, and eventually led to musical composition. Michelson expressed his interest in art through sketching, and painting watercolors. The majority of Michelson’s painting was completed in his later years and during his retirement, consisting mostly of watercolors of California landscapes. Some of Michelson’s watercolors were exhibited at the Pasadena Art Institute in 1931, shortly before his death.
At the University of Chicago Michelson was known for his love of chess and tennis, but mostly for his skill at playing billiards. While at the University he became a co-founder and a Vice President of the Renaissance Society in 1916, a society for the "cultivation of the arts."
Michelson with his second wife, Edna Stanton, and their three daughters Madeleine, Dorothy, and Beatrice, n.d. [557K]
Watercolor painted by Albert A. Michelson, Altadena, California, 1929. [1232K]
“Grandpa’s Lullaby,” written by Michelson on May 4, 1930. [697K]
Michelson playing billiards, n.d.