The Warburg Archive is dedicated to the person and scholar Aby Warburg, his library for cultural studies, and the scholars and academics connected to it. The collection of books and archival material also provides information on the history of the Kunstgeschichtliches Seminar in Hamburg, the history of the discipline of art history, and the resurrection of the historical library as the Warburg Haus in the 1990s. Significant sections of the archive include lecture notes by university lecturers in Hamburg, such as Ernst Cassirer, and the estates or parts of the estates of art historians who emigrated from Germany. With the aid of the Leibniz Prize awarded to Martin Warnke in 1991, it was also possible to acquire the entire output of books produced by the Warburg Library, first in Hamburg and later in London. The collections are accessible via a local database.
The Warburg Archive and its collection recall the extremely productive and innovative period of the Hamburg Seminar at the beginning of the 20th century. The involuntary emigration of numerous experts and scholars in the field helped to disseminate the ideas of the Hamburg school especially in England and the USA, which came to significantly influence the global development of the subject. A further section of the Warburg Archive is the biographical-bibliographic archive on the emigration of German-speaking art historians during the Nazi era, which illustrates the process of knowledge transfer.