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Walter Horn papers, 1908-1992, bulk 1943-1950

Walter Horn papers, 1908-1992, bulk 1943-1950

Horn, Walter William, 1908-1995

Art historian

Collection Information

Size: 2.7 linear feet

Summary: The papers of art historian and World War II Monuments Man Walter W. Horn measure 2.7 linear feet and date from 1908 to 1992, with the bulk of material dating from 1943 to 1950. Walter Horn taught art history at the University of California, Berkeley from 1938 to his retirement in 1974. During World War II, Horn served as Head of the U. S. Army Intelligence Unit of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Section (MFAA.) The papers contain biographical materials; professional correspondence; records documenting his service in the MFAA; administrative files relating to his work at the University of California, Berkeley; and scattered photographs.

Biographical materials include certificates, transcripts, registration books, and diplomas, immigration papers and supporting documentation, birth certificate, passports, and Horn's application for U.S. citizenship. Also found here are papers relating to Horn's academic work, such as bibliographies, curriculum vitae and a few other miscellaneous materials.

The bulk of the papers consist of professional correspondence between Horn and his colleagues. Many of the letters relate to Horn's scholarly publications and projects, especially his seminal work The Plan of St. Gall: A Plan of the Architecture and Economy of, and Life in a Paradigmatic Carolingian Monastery (1979). Prominent correspondents include Meyer Schapiro, Wilhelm Koehler, Fred Charles, Christopher Eggenbacher, Johannes Duft, Hunter Dupree, Peter Harbison, H.R. Sennhauser, and John T. Smith.

Papers and records documenting Horn's World War II service in the the U. S. Army Monuments, Fine Arts & Archives Section have been arranged in one series. There are scattered letters, including ones from Erwin Panofsky, Charles J. Kunzelman, and Helmuth and Edeltraut von Hummel. There are also letters of inquiry about the recovery of the crown jewels of The Holy Roman Empire. Also found in this series are official Army documents, including a directory and inventory of recovered gold coins; receipts for transporting recovered artwork; art looting investigation, interrogation, and arrest reports; and reports on Horn's investigation and recovery of the crown jewels and the gold coin investigation. There is scattered printed material and photographs of the recovered gold coins and of Helmuth and Edeltraut von Hummel.

Horn's papers also contain a few administrative files from his tenure at the University of California, Berkeley, and one folder of color photographs of Horn's papers being prepared for shipment to the Archives of American Art.

Biographical/Historical Note

Walter Horn (1908-1995) was an art historian in Berkeley, Calif. Horn was born in Waldangeloch, Germany, and grew up in Heidelberg and received his Ph.D. at the University of Hamburg in 1933, later immigrating to the United States in 1938. He taught in the History of Art Department of the University of Calif. at Berkeley, and served as chair of the Department of Art History at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1946 until his retirement in 1974. A leading Medievalist, Horn is often credited with establishing the study of art history in the Western United States. After the Second World War he was assigned to the Army Intelligence Unit of Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives, the division that was responsible for locating and restoring to original owners art looted by the Nazis and hidden in salt mines in Bavaria. Among his colleagues are Thomas Carr Howe and George L. Stout. Since 1937 Horn had devoted himself to the study of classical concepts in medieval art and the principles of architectural design in the bar system of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.

Provenance

Walter Horn donated his papers to the Archives of American Art in 1989. Additional papers were donated by his wife Dr. Alberta Parker Horn in 1998 and 2002.

Funding

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Samuel K. Kress Foundation.

A Finding Aid to the Walter Horn Papers, 1908-1992, bulk 1943-1950, in the Archives of American Art
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Biographical/Historical note
Walter William Horn (1908-1995) was a professor of art history at the University of California, Berkeley. During World War II, he served in the Army Intelligence Unit of the Monument, Fine Arts and Archives Section (MFAA.)
Walter Horn was born in Waldangelloch, Germany and graduated from the Gymnasium in Heidelberg in 1926. He studied at the Universities of Heidelberg, Berlin and Hamburg. In 1934 he received his Ph.D. in art history from the University of Hamburg, studying under Erwin Panofsky. His dissertation on the facade of the Church of St. Gilles was published in 1937. Horn fled Nazism in Germany and immigrated to the United States.
In 1938 Horn accepted a position at the University of California at Berkeley as a lecturer in art history, becoming the first state sponsored teacher of art history within California. He quickly became a professor and co-founded the university's Department of Art History.
Horn married twice. His first wife was Ann Binkley Rand. His second marriage was to Alberta West Parker, a physician. They had three children, Michael Peters, Peter Matthew, and Rebecca Ann.
In 1943, Horn became a naturalized American citizen and was soon inducted into the U.S. Army. He was assigned to the Detailed Interrogation Center, and by 1945 was serving as a lieutenant in the Third Army Intelligence Center. His German language skills were put to use interrogating prisoners of war and personnel of the Gestapo and S.S. Horn later continued his interrogation work in the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). After the war, Horn was assigned to the Army Intelligence Unit of the Monuments, Fine Arts & Archives Section (MFAA) and became one of the Monuments Men responsible for tracking and recovering art works and other cultural heritage objects that had been systematically looted and hidden by the Nazis.
Horn led the team of Monuments Men who recovered the stolen Crown Jewels or Imperial Regalia of the Holy Roman Empire. The Crown Jewels, including a crown and sceptre, were discovered walled up in a passage in Nuremburg. Horn also recovered a collection of gold coins valued at $2,000,000 in 1946. He tracked the coins primarily through interrogations of Edeltraut von Hummel. Edeltraut's husband Helmuth von Hummel served as the chief secretary to Martin Bormann, leader of the Nazi Party Chancellery.
After the war, Horn resumed teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as Chairman of the Department of Art History until his retirement in 1974. He also helped establish the University Art Museum. In 1949, the school implemented a requirement that all employees must sign a loyalty oath to affirm their allegiance to the state constitution and disavow any intent to overthrow the government. There was substantial outcry among the university faculty and several professors who refused to sign were fired. Horn signed the loyalty oath under protest in 1950. He wrote a letter to the press explaining his decision and expressing his concerns.
In 1979, a decades long collaboration with distinguished architect Ernest Born resulted in
The Plan of St. Gall
, a three volume work on medieval architecture. The book was praised as a monumental undertaking by the scholarly community upon its publication.
Walter Horn died of pneumonia in 1995.
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 5 series.
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1908-1989 (0.3 linear feet; Box 1, 4)
Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1937, 1949-1992 (1.2 linear feet; Box 1-2, 4, OV 5)
Series 3: U.S. Army Monuments, Fine Arts & Archives Section Files, circa 1938-1989 (0.6 linear feet; Box 2-4, OV 5-6)
Series 4: University of California, Berkeley Administrative Files, 1938-1976 (0.1 linear feet; Box 3)
Series 5: Photographs, 1989 (1 folder; Box 3)
Provenance
Walter Horn donated his papers to the Archives of American Art in 1989. Additional papers were donated by his wife Dr. Alberta Parker Horn in 1998 and 2002.
Processing Information note
This collection was fully processed by Rihoko Ueno in July 2012 with funding provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Walter Horn papers, 1908-1992, bulk 1943-1950. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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