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Papers of Alfred Schifferli relating to John Buxton and Günther Niethammer

 Single Item
MS. Eng. c. 8416, fols. 35-44
Held in our offsite storage facility

  • Request


  1. A typed explanation of how the Vogels der Mitteleuropas by Günther Niethammer came to the Alexander Library via John Buxton, 1995
  2. Letter from Alfred Schifferli to C.M. Perrins about his friendship with John Buxton, particularly during the war when Buxton was a prisoner of war in Germany, 1994
  3. Copy of a letter from John Buxton to Alfred Schifferli, 1988
  4. Copies of four cards that Alfred Schifferli received from John Buxton during his imprisonment, 1941-1944
  5. Copy of a letter John Buxton sent to Alfred Schifferli 10 days after he arrived back in England, 19 May 1945


  • Creation: 1941-1945, 1988, 1994-1995


10 Leaves

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries, MS. Eng. c. 8416, fols. 35-44.

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MS. Eng. c. 8416, fols. 35-44

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 15355


Papers of Alfred Schifferli relating to John Buxton and Günther Niethammer.

Biographical / Historical

Alfred Schifferli (1912-2007) was a Swiss ornithologist. He studied business in the École supérieure de Commerce in Neuchâtel, but five years after the death of his father in 1934, he decided to study Zoology at the University of Basel. In 1947 he stayed in England for several months and visited the Edward Grey Institute in Oxford. In 1959 he was sent to India to help train Indian ornithologist Salim Ali, and he also helped establish a ringing scheme in Capri. He also worked with Ernst Sutter tracking bird migration over the Alps. Schifferli, along with Paul Géroudet and Raffael Winkler, produced an atlas of breeding birds of Switzerland, which was published in 1980.

Günther Niethammer (1908-1974) was a German ornithologist who served with the Waffen-SS during World War II. He worked at the Zoological Museum in Berlin from 1932, and the Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn from 1937. From 1962 to 1972 he was editor of the Journal für Ornithologie. Niethammer's manual of German ornithology, the Handbuch der Deutschen Vogelkunde, was published in three volumes from 1937 to 1942. The first volumes of its successor, the Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas, were published in 1966.

John Buxton (full name Edward John Mawby Buxton) was born in Bramhall, Cheshire, in 1912. He attended school in Malvern and studied English at New College, Oxford. Soon after World War II broke out he joined the army but was captured in 1940 and spent the rest of the war in prisoner of war (POW) camps in Germany. Among his fellow prisoners were several other keen birdwatchers including John Barrett, Peter Condor and George Waterson. They devoted as much time as possible to the systematic observation of birds living in or flying over the camp. John Buxton was the leader of this activity and encouraged others to participate. Much of the work done in the POW camps was later published, including Buxton's monograph The Redstart (1950). After the war Buxton was recruited as a junior lecturer in English at New College, Oxford. In 1949, he was appointed to a fellowship and he continued to teach at New College until 1979. He helped found the Bird Observations Committee in 1946 and later the Wiltshire Trust for Nature Conservation. He died in 1989.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Alexander Library of Ornithology, 2018.

Papers of Alfred Schifferli relating to John Buxton and Günther Niethammer
Finding aid prepared by EAD version by Jen Patterson and Marion Lowman
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom