The History of Warburg’s Library, 1886-1944
Fritz Saxl, The History of Warburg’s Library (1886-1944), in E.H. Gombrich, Aby Warburg. An Intellectual Biography, London 1970, 325-338.
In 1886, at the age of 20, Aby Warburg started to keep regular accounts for the purchase of books. His funds were then very moderate but the fact that he made systematic entries shows that he was already library- conscious. In later years Warburg used to tell his friends about the event which had made him realize that his purchases had gone beyond the needs of his own work and thus consciously to begin buying books for pupils and successors. He wished to purchase two expensive series of volumes, the publications of the Chalcographical Society and the luxuriously produced and learned year-book of the Imperial Collections in Vienna . He asked his father for the necessary sums, explaining that this purchase meant more than the acquisition of two grand series—it meant laying the foundations of a library for future generations. The request was granted and with financial help from his family Warburg began to collect books systematically. This was in 1901 . By 1904 the library was sizable enough and had taken a sufficiently definite shape for Warburg to make provisions for it to be handed over to a learned institution in the event of his death, with the proviso that it must be kept as a separate unit. It was to go either to the City Library of Hamburg or to the German Institute in Florence, two institutions with which Warburg was closely connected in those early years and to which he felt indebted all through his life.
An experience of his enthusiastic student years induced him to make the experiment of founding a library. At Strasbourg University, when working on the subject of Botticelli’s two mythological masterpieces, he realized that any attempt to understand a Renaissance painter’s mind was futile if the questions were approached from the formal side only. At that time the seminar building at Strasbourg consisted of a number of cells containing specialized libraries and the student was given freedom to use them all. Warburg, in his burning desire to unriddle the mystery of the pictures, went from one of these seminar libraries to another, pursuing his clues from art to religion, from religion to literature, from literature to philosophy. To give the student a library uniting the various branches of the history of human civilization where he could wander from shelf to shelf was his resolve. The Government would, in his opinion, never be willing to create such an instrument. The initiative must come from the private sector and he persuaded his family to accept financial responsibility for this novel and costly enterprise. Such a project was highly unusual at that time in Germany, where the Government normally provided the funds for learned institutions. But Warburg’s plan was unusual; it did not fit into the official scheme which recognized only two categories, the small specialized library or the big universal storehouse of books. He had been to England and to the United States where two of his brothers lived and had seen the workings of private enterprise in the field of learning in these countries. In Hamburg, which had undergone such strong English influence, there was a chance that the unusual plan might succeed. It was a town of merchant-adventurers without a university and its hierarchy of professors, but with an old-established tradition of learning. This was the right soil for such a private foundation.
True—Hamburg was remote from the recognized centres of learning. Short as the geographical distance is from Berlin, a whole world of history, customs, and thought divided the two cities. And how different was Hamburg from any of the renowned smaller university towns such as Göttingen, Heidelberg, or Jena. Hamburg’s interests lay overseas, her administration was run on Hanseatic local government lines. At the beginning of this century, on the other hand, Hamburg’s schools were progressive, adult education was on a high level, public collections were flourishing—and all these activities differed from those of the rest of Germany. Hamburg was going ahead, but remained isolated in her progress as well as in her intensely traditional attitude. Warburg’s foundation shared this isolation, and the young enterprise grew up undisturbed by the noises of a flourishing university.
When I first saw the Library in 1911, it was obvious that Warburg had lived for a number of years in Italy. In spite of its comprehensive framework it was essentially German and Italian. It had at that time about 15,000 volumes and any young student like myself must have felt rather bewildered when entering it. On the one hand he found an excellent collection of bibliographies, most of them unknown to him and apt to shorten his labours; on the other hand very detailed collections, partly on subjects like astrology with which he was hardly familiar. The arrangement of the books was equally baffling and he may have found it most peculiar, perhaps, that Warburg never tired of shifting and re-shifting them. Every progress in his system of thought, every new idea about the interrelation of facts made him re-group the corresponding books. The Library changed with every change in his research method and with every variation in his interests. Small as the collection was, it was intensely alive, and Warburg never ceased shaping it so that it might best express his ideas about the history of man.
Those were the decades when in many libraries, big and small, the old systematic arrangements were thrown overboard since the old categories no longer corresponded to the requirements of the new age. The tendency was to arrange the books in a more ‘practical’ way; standardization, alphabetical and arithmetical arrangements were favoured. The file cabinets of the systematic catalogue became the main guide to the student; access to the shelves and to the books themselves became very rare. Most libraries, even those which allowed the student open access (as for instance Cambridge University Library), had to make concessions to the machine age which increased book production from day to day and to give up grouping the books in a strictly systematic order. The book title in the file catalogue replaced in most cases that other and much more scholarly familiarity which is gained by browsing.
Warburg recognized this danger. He spoke of the ‘law of the good neighbour’. The book of which one knew was in most cases not the book which one needed. The unknown neighbour on the shelf contained the vital information, although from its title one might not have guessed this. The overriding idea was that the books together—each containing its larger or smaller bit of information and being supplemented by its neighbours should by their titles guide the student to perceive the essential forces of the human mind and its history. Books were for Warburg more than instruments of research. Assembled and grouped, they expressed the thought of mankind in its constant and in its changing aspects.
Up to 1908 Warburg had neither trained helpers nor a house with sufficient accommodation for a large collection. In August 1908 he made Dr. P. Hübner his assistant, and in April 1909 the house at 114, Heilwigstrasse was purchased where he was to live until the end of his life. Dr. Hübner had specialized in the study of Renaissance collections of ancient sculpture and was, therefore, well qualified for the post. But by nature he was more of an administrator than a pure scholar—in later years he rose high in the administrative hierarchy of the German museums—and after a year the two men parted. Hübner’s appointment, however, and the new building clearly indicated that the development had entered a new phase. His successor was Dr. Waetzoldt, a scholar interested both in general aesthetics and in historical questions, an able teacher and administrator. When he left in 1911 to become Keeper of the Library of the Berlin Museums, Warburg felt very isolated. It was a significant mark of the standing of the Warburg Library at this time that the civil service authorities considered recognizing the years which Waetzoldt had worked in Hamburg as years of public service. In 1912, Dr. W. Printz, a young Orientalist and future librarian of the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft, was appointed assistant, and together with him, in October 1913, the writer of this memoir .
Thus Warburg had two assistants now, one for the Library, one for research; and both had to be guided. Night after night when the day’s work was done, he sat up reading booksellers’ catalogues, and the more widely his interests developed, the more difficult it was to decide what should be purchased. Neither space nor finance allowed of unlimited buying. Warburg did not have an exceptionally good memory for book titles—he had little of the scholar whose brain holds a neatly arranged encyclopaedia of learned literature—and bibliographical lists were hardly ever used in building up the Library. Since he had begun research he had noted every book title that interested him on a separate card, and the cards were filed in a system which became more and more complicated as the number of boxes grew. They grew from twenty to forty to sixty and when he died there were more than eighty. Of course, a great number of entries became obsolete in the course of the years, and it was often easier to establish in a few minutes a more up-to-date bibliography of a subject from modern standard lists than from Warburg’s cards. Yet apart from the fact that they contained so much out-of-the-way material never included in standard lists, this vast card-index had a special quality: the titles noted down were those which had aroused Warburg’s scholarly curiosity while he was engaged on a piece of research. They were all interconnected in a personal way as the bibliographical sum total of his own activity. These lists were, therefore, his guide as a librarian; not that he consulted them every time he read booksellers’ and publishers catalogues; they had become part of his system and scholarly existence. This explains how it came about that a man whose purchases were so much dictated by his momentary interests eventually collected a library which possessed the standard books on a given subject plus a quite exceptional number of other and often rare and highly interesting publications. Often one saw Warburg standing tired and distressed bent over his boxes with a packet of index cards, trying to find for each one the best place within the system; it looked like a waste of energy and one felt sorry. Better bibliographical lists were in existence than he could ever hope to assemble himself. It took some time to realize that his aim was not bibliographical. This was his method of defining the limits and contents of his scholarly world and the experience gained here became decisive in selecting books for the Library. His friends used to admire his ‘instinct’ for the interesting and valuable book, his quick grasp of what was essential and what unimportant. In Warburg’s system of values instinct did not rank highly; he valued the experience gained by the hard and painstaking work of making innumerable notes in writing and arranging them into a system.
One thing made life especially burdensome to Warburg: his supreme lack of interest in library technicalities. He had wooden, old-fashioned bookcases; cataloguing was not done to fixed rules; business with book-sellers not efficiently organized—everything had the character of a private book collection, where the master of the house had to see to it in person that the bills were paid in time, that the bookbinder chose the right material, or that neither he nor the carpenter delivering a new shelf overcharged. To combine the office of a patriarchal librarian with that of a scholar, as Warburg did, was a hard undertaking.
On a perfect Florentine spring morning in 1914 after weeks of hard work ending with a brilliant lecture, Warburg and I went to the Masaccio frescoes in the Carmine. On the way we discussed for the first time ways and means of making the Library into an Institute. Warburg had always given to scholars and laymen alike access to his books and notes, and to the collection of photographs which was accumulating; he had devoted pupils and followers. But Hamburg was not a centre of humanistic learning, and thus there was no normal supply of students. The town council, rejecting the idea of creating a university, had founded an institute for the study of colonial subjects instead. On that morning of 21 April 1914, we agreed that only the institution of scholarships attached to the Library would attract a succession of scholars from Germany and from abroad and that from now on part of the funds should be devoted to these purposes. The Library should become a centre where Warburg would train younger scholars in his method and direct their research.
A few months later war broke out and these plans had to be shelved, but Warburg’s work continued, research went on, and with it the purchase of new categories of books. A new situation arose in 1920. The intellectual hunger of the aftermath of the war and enthusiasm for the works of peace animated the assembly of republican city-fathers, and the founding of Hamburg University was decreed. This new fact would automatically have changed Warburg’s position and that of the Library. But at this very moment Warburg fell gravely ill; he had to leave his home and it was uncertain whether he would ever be able to come back. Up to the last hour before he left the house he continued his studies, convinced, however, that he would never return, and he left the present writer in charge of his work.
The responsibility was heavy. What the Library was, it had become through Warburg’s genius, every book had been selected by him, the systematic arrangement was his, his the contacts with a wide circle of scholars. The problem was to develop the heritage of an absent master and friend and to develop it without his guidance into something new in accordance with the circumstances within Hamburg’s new educational system. The family generously provided the funds for this enterprise.
The year 1920 was, therefore, decisive in the development. Up to then Warburg had never felt the need of defining the aims of his Library before a wider public, and the emphasis on its component parts could continuously change with his changing interests and needs. The longer he was absent, the more one realized that preservation was not enough and that one would have to develop this intensely personal creation into a public institution. It was, however, obvious from the beginning how much would be lost by this undertaking. In every corner of the Library there were small groups of books indicating a special trend of thought—it was just this extreme wealth of ideas which on the one hand made it the delight of the scholar but on the other hand made it difficult for him to find his way about. When Professor E. Cassirer first came to see the Library he decided either to flee from it (which he did for some time) or to remain there a prisoner for years (which for a certain period he enjoyed doing in later years). Warburg’s new acquisitions had, of course, always an inner coherence, but there were many tentative and personal excrescences which might be undesirable in an institution destined for a wider public.
The first and most urgent task in stabilizing the Library seemed, therefore, to ‘normalize’ Warburg’s system as it was in 1920 by enlarging it here, cutting it down there. No existing system of classification would apply because this was a Library destined for the study of the history of civilization seen from a specific angle. It was to contain the essential materials and present them in such subdivisions as to guide the student to books and ideas with which he was not familiar. It seemed dangerous to do this in too rigid a form, and in collaboration with Miss Bing, the new assistant, a form was chosen which seemed so flexible that the system could at any moment be changed—at least in smaller sections—without too much difficulty. In consequence it will never be as easy to find a book in the Warburg Library as in a collection which is arranged according to alphabet and numbers; the price one has to pay is high—but the books remain a body of living thought as Warburg had planned.
The second point was to normalize the contents of the Library. No single person’s learning and interests, not even Warburg’s, are as wide as those of a group of anonymous users of a collection, and their wishes are certainly legitimate. In 1920 the Library possessed perhaps about 20,000 volumes; certain parts were almost fully developed, others just begun. Thanks to the fact that the funds came partly from members of the family living in the U.S.A., and that there was inflation in Germany, we were in a position to continue buying books and to take care that gaps should be filled. A public institute must possess certain standard works and periodicals which the private scholar might easily have borrowed from any public library. And since in the ensuing years, with the development of Hamburg University, the number of younger students coming to read in the Library grew, their needs too had to be taken into account. This had to be done with tact in order not to destroy the original character of the collection as an instrument for research.
But even more formidable than the task of transforming the Library was that of carrying on its scholarly activity without Warburg’s help. The old idea of 1914 of turning the Library into an Institute offered itself as the proper solution, and since Hamburg now had a University there was no need for special scholarships. A number of its newly appointed teachers were naturally keen to collaborate. Although dealing with widely different subjects they found in the Library learned contacts and common ground.
E. Cassirer (Philosophy), G. Pauli and E. Panofsky (History of Art), K. Reinhardt (Classics), R. Salomon (Byzantine History), H. Ritter (Oriental Languages), and others joined informally. This small group was soon enlarged by other German and foreign scholars, Belgian, Italian, Dutch and English. Here, as in library matters, it was perhaps inevitable that Warburg’s ideas should be simplified in order to give the Institute’s activities a less complicated foundation—in consequence much dropped out which was equally essential and which it will be difficult to recover—but the main task was achieved. Warburg’s creation lived on, supported by men mostly of a younger generation inspired by his personality and work at a time when he himself was lost to the world. While he was ill it developed from a private library into a public institution. Two series of publications embodied the results of the work of the Institute, an annual volume of Lectures, and Studies dealing with special subjects. It was made a condition that not only the Studies but also the Lectures should contain the results of new research work, and under the circumstances prevalent in the 1920s in Hamburg, there was no risk that they might not be well attended. Through these publications Warburg’s ideas became better known and a tradition was established.
It soon became apparent that the new activities could not be carried on in the house purchased in 1909. There was no lecture room, no reading room for the increased number of readers, and not even the most ingenious carpenter could invent new devices for producing more wall space. From floor to ceiling the walls were covered with books, the pantry became a stack-room, heavy shelves were hanging dangerously over doors, the billiard-room had been changed into an office, in the hall, on the landings, in the drawing-room of the family—everywhere books, books, books; and new books came in every day. Something had to be done. Adequate accommodation in the vicinity of the University buildings was offered for sale at the time, and there was much to be said for moving the collection away from the purely residential quarters. But this would have destroyed the personal character of the Library and increased the danger that it would become just one more seminar building of Hamburg University, where a great number of students who were not interested in research would read for the sake of convenience. For pedagogical reasons Warburg had always been against making things technically too easy for the student, and when in 1923 his health began to improve and he was approached about the subject he was altogether unwilling to consider any radical change.
His return to Hamburg in 1924, however, brought things to a head. The site adjoining the house had already been purchased in 1909, in case the Library should one day outgrow its shell. It would have been appropriate for housing a library, but being deep and narrow it was not well suited for the purposes of an expanding institute. But Warburg did not hesitate. The idea of a big public building in the centre of the town did not attract him for a moment. The Library should continue to have a private and personal character in spite of its public functions, and plans were at once evolved to find a solution in the face of great technical difficulties. Most important of all, the stack-rooms had to be so arranged as to allow a clear display of the Library system. The two houses together would provide room for about 120,000 volumes, the reading room with its gallery was to be fitted with a good reference library, and enough wall space to house the periodicals, old and new. Furthermore it had to have good acoustics in order to be used in the evening as a lecture room. In addition there were to be proper staff rooms, space for the photographic collections, a guest room with bath, a photographic studio, and in the basement the usual living quarters. Even a sun-roof was planned for readers with a view over the gardens and the little river lined with willows. On 25 August 1925 the foundation stone was laid; on 1 May 1926 the building was opened.
Few people who saw the books on the shelves recognized this as the same collection that they had known in the old building (Pl. 65a, b). Much of what had before appeared isolated and odd now fell into place. For forty years Warburg had purchased books, and he did not buy as a librarian buying impartially for the unknown reader. He bought always with the intention of acquiring knowledge that was new and essential for his own work and so consistent was his thought that at the end of his life he could present the public with a Library which had a rounded-off system and clearly articulated sections. The books were housed on four floors. The first began with books on the general problems of expression and on the nature of symbols. From here one was led to anthropology and religion and from religion to philosophy and the history of science. The second floor contained books on expression in art, its theory and history. The third was devoted to language and literature, and the fourth to the social forms of human life—history, law, folklore, and so forth. Warburg’s lifelong and often chaotic and desperate struggle to understand the expressions of the mind, their nature, history, and interrelation, ended with the creation of a library system which appeared as natural as if it had been not the result but the starting point of Warburg’s activities. But what made it different from any ready-made library system was the wealth of ideas in the divisions. Only steady and deep-digging research could result in accumulating and often exhuming this mass of interesting and sometimes long-forgotten books. In his work the scholar always directed the librarian and the librarian paid back to the scholar what he had received.
The new house, built with economy of space like a ship, and equipped with modern library machinery, proved satisfactory and a proper frame for the rapid development of the Institute. What had been tentatively begun in the years of Warburg’s absence was now carried on under his direction and with his help. He had one—later two—members of the staff who were at the same time University teachers. Seminars were held in the Institute and the student trained to use its Library. Research and travelling subsidies were given. The staff—senior and clerical—was increased in number and properly organized. During vacations a number of distinguished scholars came to read. Books were purchased on a larger scale than ever before, and the Photographic Collection—up to then a step-child—was built up. The lecture courses, which in the first years dealt with a variety of subjects according to the inclination of the lecturer, concentrated each year from 1927 onwards around one of the main research subjects of the Institute. By 1929 twelve volumes of Studies had been published and a number of others were in the hands of the printer. In 1928-9 Warburg stayed in Italy for nearly a year and so close were relations with the Italian and German scholars in Italy that the question of whether the Institute should not be transferred to Rome was seriously discussed.
With the death of Warburg in 1929, the feverish period ended which had begun with Warburg’s return in 1924. “Warburg redux” he once signed a letter. He had the feeling, and inspired it in others, that he was a soldier come home after a victorious battle, a battle for life against the forces of darkness and hell. An almost awe-inspiring power emanated from him and he lived and worked convinced that the scholar does not choose his vocation but that in all he does he is obeying a higher command. None of those who lived and worked with him in those years could resist this spell. Whoever came to the Institute felt something of this atmosphere, felt the magic of this man for whom life in its normality existed no more, who lived in a world of ideas ranging from the highest to the minutiae of historical research. Warburg educated his pupils and successors to an absolute and unconditional submission of their whole existence to the demands of scholarship.
The life of the Institute continued after Warburg’s death, outwardly without great changes. The family which had supported him for so many years solemnly declared their willingness to support his creation also in the future. But the evil signs of the coming storm soon became visible. First came the international bank crisis and with it a considerable reduction in the budget. The German universities also felt the economic crisis. As a result of unemployment there were far too many students, some of them of poor quality. The reading room of the Institute was more frequented than ever but the undergraduate rather than the scholar was dominant. We looked nostalgically back to the times when the new building did not exist and when only a small batch of men had been at work in the Library. The Institute, deprived of Warburg’s wise energy, was in a crisis in those sterile years, the last of the old Germany. But an Institute has its natural momentum; thus research was continued, new publications came out, and lecture courses were given. The course on England and the Classics’ was delivered by English and German scholars. It was on this occasion that we encountered the first political difficulties in our work when a lecture on The Roman and the British Empires ended with the conclusion that the end of the British Commonwealth was drawing near, and we refused to print any such political opinions. In 1931 a group of about forty collaborators was formed in order to compile an annual critical Bibliography of the Survival of the Classics. It was meant as a bibliographical foundation for the work of the Institute and as help to and liaison with other scholars working in the field. The Institute had never before attempted to build up such a wide international organization. The fact that its appeal was successful shows the reputation which it had won by then.
In the early months of 1933 it had become clear that our work in Germany had come to an end . There was as yet no outside interference; politicians were far too busy to care for such things as a private learned institution. Independent and privately organized research in the field of the humanities would, however, never have been able to survive in a national-socialist Germany—quite apart from racial discrimination, which in those pre-Nuremberg days was not quite so patent and threatening as later on—though, as yet, many friends advised us ‘to stay put’. Only a year later everybody would have realized that this was impossible. When in 1934 the first volume of the Bibliography was published—an enterprise as dry and non-political as any humanistic institute could produce—the Völkische Beobachter dedicated a full-page review to it, equally outstanding for ignorance and insolence. Had we still been in Germany at that time and dependent on collaboration with our old friends, the situation would have been critical. Some of them would have quickly severed all connections with us, while others more faithful would have bravely tried to continue until they, too, were forced by law and suffering to submit against their conscience.
One of the memorable events of those days was a visit from a young and active friend of the Institute, Dr. R. Klibansky. Filled with horror about what he saw going on at Heidelberg University, where he was a member of the teaching staff, he had conceived the idea of creating a centre of learning outside Germany where the old tradition of German humanism should be preserved. We decided on united action. The members of the Institute’s staff—irrespective of race—and the Warburg family agreed on emigration. But emigrate to where? In Leiden some friends at the University offered us excellent free accommodation and every opportunity for work, but no Dutch funds were available and our financial position was insecure once we left Germany. We could obviously not count on a transfer of funds from Germany.
In the early summer months Dr. Wind, a member of the staff since 1928, went to negotiate in England where he had made friends in former years while working on the English eighteenth century. There were a number of scholars in this country watching with compassionate anxiety what was happening in German universities. A council had been formed in order to inform English public opinion and to provide academic assistance. Two members of the Academic Assistance Council, Professor W.G. Constable and Professor C.S. Gibson, both of London University, went to Hamburg in order to investigate the position of the Warburg Library on the spot. But no financial support was as yet forthcoming and the German situation deteriorated from month to month. Then a third visitor, Sir Denison Ross, came to Hamburg. He had the sharpened instinct of a man who had travelled widely, always on the look-out for new scholarly experiences. Above all he was an enthusiast. A few weeks after his return to London a telegram arrived with good news and an invitation to come over for discussions. A donor who wished to remain anonymous had promised to supplement the reduced funds provided by the Warburg family and Lord Lee of Fareham had consented to act on his behalf.
The transfer of the Warburg Institute from Hamburg to London in 1933 was an unusual event. One day a ship arrived in the Thames carrying six hundred boxes of books plus iron shelving, reading desks, bookbinding machines, photographic apparatus, etc., etc. Ten thousand square feet were wanted to house the Library. Circumstances were favourable; Lord Lee of Fareham had secured accommodation in Thames House, a large office building in Millbank which, in 1933, was not yet fully occupied. Mr. Samuel Courtauld and the Warburg family in America promised to provide the funds.
But how could the six people who came over from Hamburg with the books set to work? The language in which they wrote—even if the words were English—was foreign because their habits of thought were un-English; and whom could one reach from this curious ground-floor Library in a gigantic office building, who would read what these few unknown foreigners produced? It was a strange adventure to be landed with some 60,000 books in the heart of London and to be told: “Find friends and introduce them to your problems”.
The arrival of the Institute coincided with the rising interest in British education in the study of the visual documents of the past. The Warburg Institute was carried by this wave, and its methods of studying the works of art as an expression of an age appealed to some younger scholars. A number of German refugees who had not belonged to its staff became its collaborators and enlarged the contact with English scholars.
In 1936 the University of London had agreed to house the Institute until 1943, when all its financial resources were due to come to an end. What would happen after that time was hopefully left undecided. When war broke out the books were evacuated. One member of the original staff was killed in an air raid and publishing became increasingly difficult. Would anybody in 1943 be willing to continue supporting this skeleton?
Fritz Saxl would hardly have planned to conclude his memoir with this rhetorical question had he not known at the time that the answer was at least in sight: the most generous of all patrons was willing to take over the whole responsibility for Warburg’s heritage—the British taxpayer. Among the factors which led to this decisive turn of events was a comparison that had been made by way of spot checks between the Institute’s Library and that of the British Museum. It showed that some thirty per cent of the titles of books and periodicals brought over from Hamburg were not to be found in that great treasure-house of books. On 28 November 1944 the Warburg Institute was incorporated in the University of London. Subsequent developments may be found chronicled in the Institute’s Annual Reports. E.H.G.
1 For these early stages see now Warburg’s letters quoted above, pp. 45f and 129f.
2 Diary, 23 March 1904.
3 The next two paragraphs are taken from Saxl’s biographical sketch of Warburg which here supplements his memoir. For this and the following see also Gertrud Bing’s Memoir in Fritz Saxl (1890-1948), ed.by D.J. Gordon, London 1953.
4 See also Gertrud Bing’s Memoir, loc. cit., and Eric Warburg’s account of the transfer of the Institute to England in the Annual Report of the Warburg Institute, 1952-53.
Fritz Saxl’s account of the Warburg Library, written in 1943-1944, was published for the first time by Ernst Gombrich as an Appendix to his Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography, in 1970. Saxl's text traces the history of the Library from its foundation in 1886 to 1943, when the future of the Institute, which had been moved to London in 1933, was uncertain.
keywords | Fritz Saxl; Aby Warburg; Warburg Library; Ernst Gombrich.
Per citare questo articolo / To cite this article: F. Saxl, The History of Warburg’s Library, 1886-1944, “La Rivista di Engramma” n. 198, gennaio 2023, pp. 109-123 | PDF of the article