The contents of 18 letters from Einstein to a mathematician teaching at Goettingen University have been long since published, but the originals were thought lost, the newspaper Goettinger Tageblatt reports in its Tuesday edition.

They were addressed to influential mathematician David Hilbert, who lived between 1862 and 1943, and discovered by historian Klaus Sommer in his former landlady’s attic.

The find, hidden in a box, contained a total of 132 letters dating mainly from the early decades of the 20th century and sent among others by Nobel prizewinning physicists Max Born, Walther Nernst and the Dutch physicist Peter Debye.