We are sorry to report the loss of another colleague and long-standing friend of the Warburg Institute. William Francis (Will) Ryan was the Institute’s Academic Librarian from 1976 to 2002 and co-editor of many of its publications. Will’s career started in Oxford, where he worked as an editor for the Oxford Russian-English Dictionary and as an Assistant Curator at the Museum of the History of Science. In 1967 he joined the University of London as a Lecturer in Russian Language and Literature in the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. At the Warburg, Will greatly expanded the Institute’s profile and collections in the fields of both the history of magic and the culture of Russia. He was also widely known as a long-serving officer of the Hakluyt Society, the Folklore Society and other scholarly organisations.

Professor Charles Burnett paid tribute to Will in the 2021 festschrift, Magic, Texts and Travel:

Through his writings, Will has contributed more than any other scholar in English to our understanding of magic and the occult, astrology and astronomy, in pre-modern Russia. But he has also provided immense aid and support to other scholars and researchers, in his roles as librarian, editor, adviser and friend.