Cultural exchange (translation, travel, pilgrimage): NI-, NDN, NDG
The gradual transition, in Western thought, from magical beliefs to religion, philosophy and science
The history of religion, especially comparative studies, e.g. kingship, religious symbols: BFC
The survival and later influence of ancient religious beliefs and cults, such as Manichaeism (BCL), Hermeticism (BKG 600-), the Imperial cult (BCG 85-) etc., and their connections to Christianity and Judaism
The interrelations between Christianity, Judaism and Islam: BCG, GMN, GAG
Christian religion, in particular bible studies (BCD), liturgics (BCA), patristics (BCE), hagiography (BCA 1515-), monasticism (BCP), preaching (BCP 700-), the Inquisition (BCI 147-), the Reformation (BM-) and Counter-Reformation (BML)
Over many years, the library has been grateful to receive a number of generous gifts and bequests, often from scholars based at or associated with the Institute, such as Fritz Saxl, Gertrud Bing, Charles Schmitt, D.P. Walker, Eugénie Droz,Frances Yates, Ernst Gombrich, Henri and Enriqueta Frankfort, Nicolai and Ruth Rubinstein, Albinia de la Mare and many others.
Some collections of interest
The Michael Innes collection
In 2012 the Warburg Institute received the bequest of the library of Michael Innes (1897-1980). This collection, which includes several early printed books and manuscripts, is now being integrated into the Warburg Library, thereby consolidating our already extensive holdings in the fields of Alchemy, Philosophy, Magic, Hermetism, Rosicrucianism, Kabbalah and related subjects from the 16th to the 20th century in Latin, English, French, German, Dutch and Italian.
The Renaissance section of the Innes collection includes original editions and translations of key works by Marsilio Ficino, Francesco Colonna, Cornelius Agrippa, Francesco Giorgio, Paracelsus, John Dee, Robert Fludd, Heinrich Kunrath, Michael Maier, Basilius Valentinius, Knorr von Rosenroth to name but a few.
The Innes books expand the range of the Warburg collections well into the 17th, 18th and 19th century, from the writings of the Rosicrucians, to broader works dedicated to modern Hermeticism. Alchemy dominates the collection with essential anthologies such as the multi-volume Bibliotheca Chymica as well as printed editions and manuscript of the corpus of alchemical writings attributed to Ramon Lull from the 14th century onwards.
Elizabeth David (1913-1992), the influential English food writer whose recipes inspired a generation of cooks, amassed a superb collection of historical cookery texts during her lifetime.
The pages of these practical and well-thumbed guides offer grease-spattered testimonies to their regular use, both by David herself and by previous owners. David generously bequeathed her collection of historical texts to the Warburg Institute after her death. The rest of her book collection may be found in London’s Guildhall Library.
Most of the 200+ historical cookbooks and texts are shelved under Banqueting (DCH 250-DCH 540) in our Festivals section on the fourth floor. Each book bears Elizabeth David's personal book plate.
The Menil collection
Dominique de Menil (1908-1997) and her husband John (1904-1973) were French-American art collectors, patrons and philanthropists who were dedicated to the support of the civil rights movement in America.
In 1960 they launched The Image of the Black in Western Art, an ambitious research project which aimed to examine how people of African descent were perceived and represented in western art. The project has resulted in a series of books published by Harvard University Press.
The Warburg Institute Library was generously gifted with part of the Menils' huge collection of books, which have been fully integrated into our collections.
Books and papers belonging to the English occultist Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) were gifted to the library by one of Crowley's closest associates, Gerald Yorke (1903-1981).
The books in this collection are kept in our Rare Books Room and are available on request to all readers. Access to the manuscript material is restricted to academic researchers. Permission to use the manuscript collection must be requested in advance.
Download the Yorke Collection catalogue in PDF format: