Warburg Institute

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The Warburg Institute in London is a library and institute complex linked to the University of London . The institute emerged from the Warburg Cultural Studies Library (KBW) founded by Aby Warburg (1866–1929), which was located in Hamburg until 1933 and then emigrated to London.


The core of the library was the working library of the private scholar and cultural scientist Aby Warburg, which Fritz Saxl and Gertrud Bing converted into a generally accessible scientific library from 1918 onwards. At the time of Warburg's death in 1929, the Warburg Cultural Studies Library comprised around 60,000 volumes.

After a phase of constant growth and prosperity, when the National Socialists seized power - as a Jewish institution - it came under pressure. In the spring of 1933 Edgar Wind went to London for exploratory talks. With the help of the American Warburgs ( Felix M. Warburg and the family of Paul Moritz Warburg ) and through generous private English donations, among others through the English textile industrialist Samuel Courtauld and through the diplomatic work of Arthur Lee, 1st Viscount Lee of Fareham a Relocation of the library from today's Warburg House to London enabled and financed. On December 12, 1933, two freighters loaded with book boxes, shelves and catalog boxes left the port of Hamburg and shipped the library to London. With the support of Samuel Courtauld, the library was housed in a bank building rented from Viscount Lee of Fareham. A collection of 1,500 books, brochures, magazines and a large number of newspaper clippings on the First World War, which Warburg had been collecting since the beginning of the First World War, remained in Hamburg. This archive material is considered lost.

On November 28, 1944, the Warburg Institute was affiliated to the University of London , but at the same time it was obliged in the deed of foundation to adequately accommodate and maintain the institute as an independent unit “forever”, taking into account its “special character”. The institute is a founding member of the School of Advanced Study (SAS), founded in 1994 , which includes research institutes from the University of London from all areas of the humanities and social sciences. Qualified scientists and postgraduates from these fields are given the opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary research. For this purpose, the SAS organizes a wide-ranging program of lectures, seminars, workshops and conferences.

The library comprises over 300,000 volumes, including around 3,000 magazines, as well as a photo archive that also includes over 300,000 items. The library catalog can be used online; images can be accessed using the search function of the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database .



  • Lectures of the Warburg Library, 9 volumes, 1921/22 - 1930/31 , F. Saxl (Ed.), Teubner, Leipzig, 1923–1932
  • Studies of the Warburg Library, 23 volumes, Teubner, Leipzig, 1922–1932
  • Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes , 1937ff.
  • Warburg Institute Surveys and Texts
  • Warburg Institute Studies and Texts
  • Warburg Institute Colloquia


  • Warburg Institute: Summary Guide to the Photography Collection of the Warburg Institute. University of London. London 1988.

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Coordinates: 51 ° 31 '24 "  N , 0 ° 7' 48"  W.