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Warburg Institute

BARB, Alfons (1901-1979)


Reference code(s): GB 1370 WIA, Alfons Barb

Held at: Warburg Institute

Title: BARB, Alfons (1901-1979)

Date(s): c1924-1979

Level of description: collection

Extent: 29 boxes

Name of creator(s): Barb | Alfons A | 1901-1979 | librarian and cultural scholar


Administrative/Biographical history:

Alfons Barb was born in Vienna. He supported himself working as a goldsmith whilst studying at the University of Vienna and received his doctorate aged 25. He then worked as a museum director for several years until the Anschluss, when he was dismissed under the new racial laws. He moved to England with his young family in 1939 where, after time spent interned as an enemy alien and eight years working as a factory tool fitter, he eventually resumed an academic career. Barb joined the Warburg Institute in 1949 as Assistant Librarian and subsequently served as Librarian (1956-1966). He was an Honorary Fellow of the Institute from 1968 until his death in 1979. He was also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Numismatic Society, and received the Austrian Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst in 1968.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Alfons Barb, c 1924-1979, including working papers, collection of casts of gemstones, correspondence and offprints. Topics covered include: Magic, Folklore and Amulets; Medieval Magic; Gnosis; Gemstones; Mystery, Myth and Magic; Greco-Roman Numismatics and Archaeology and 'History of Popular Belief and Superstition from Ancient Times to the Present Day'.


Language/scripts of material: German and English

System of arrangement:

Arranged in sections as follows: Working Papers, collection of cats of Gemstones, correspondence and off-prints.

Conditions governing access:

Archive material is accessible for the purpose of private study and personal research and within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Archive reading room. Access is with permission from the Institute Director and by prior appointment only. Potential users are advised to browse the Institute website and contact the Archivist, Dr des Claudia Wedepohl, before planning a visit. Access to individual items in the Warburg Institute Archives may be restricted under the Data Protection Act or the Freedom of Information Act.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies, at the discretion of the archivist, may be provided for research use only (working papers: up to 10% of any archive pressmark; correspondence by authors for whom the department doesn't hold copyright: up to 10% of the institutes holdings). Traditional photography is allowed at the discretion of the archivist, no digital cameras. Scans and digital photographs can be ordered at the discretion of the archivist. Requests to publish original material have to be submitted to the Archivist.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Collection level description available on-line at the University of London Research Services website


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Received from the family, 1979.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Entry compiled by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Apr 2008

Folklore | Cultural heritage
Gems | Minerals | Mineralogy
Greek history | European history | National history
Historical research | History
Medieval history | Historical periods
Roman history | European history | National history
Witchcraft | Magic | Mysticism
Intangible cultural heritage

Personal names
Barb | Alfons A | 1901-1979 | librarian and cultural scholar

Corporate names